The Inquiry found that the fragmentation and loss of habitat poses the most serious threat to koala populations in New South Wales. Further, the future of koalas in the wild in NSW can’t be guaranteed unless the Government takes stronger action to prevent further loss of koala habitat.
It found that logging in public native forests has had cumulative impacts on koalas over many years because it has reduced the maturity, size and availability of preferred feed and roost trees and that the Government rules out logging in old growth forests.
The committee recommends that, where appropriate, the NSW Government consider the impacts of logging in forests in the context of enabling koala habitat to be identified and protected by a combination of transferring land to national parks or inclusion in Forest Management Zone 2.
Finally, the committee recommends that the Government establish new plantations on already cleared land of low biodiversity importance to reduce future reliance on native forest logging and investigate the establishment of the Great Koala National Park.
In relation to logging on private land, the committee recommends the Government in its current review of Private Native Forestry require the protection of biodiversity, water and soil in the objects of the Code and for consideration to be given to whether private native forestry plans are consistent with these objects before plans are approved.
The committee also recommends that the Government assesses the interaction between old Private Native Forestry plans and koala plans of management to ensure core koala habitat is protected and provides additional funding to the Environmental Protection Agency to expand its compliance capabilities in the area of private native forestry.