Fighting to protect endangered koalas
Ms WELLS (Lilley) (13:39): It was a dark and shameful day in Australia's history on 11 February 2022. It was the day that koalas were officially listed as an endangered species on the east coast of Australia. Since 2001, 50 per cent of Queensland's koala population has been lost. It's even worse in New South Wales, where 65 per cent of the koala population has been decimated during the same time frame. As my friend the member for Macarthur would say while fighting for his own urban koala population, 'To this government all koalas may be equal, but some koala populations seem to be more equal than others.' Without urgent government intervention at every level, koalas could become extinct by 2050.
And while the Morrison government will respond to this by rolling out a new koala task force or some sort of furry bandaid solution, we know that their national recovery plan for koalas is already six years overdue. And we know that the greatest threat to koalas is actually climate change and the catastrophic natural events that accompany it. Extreme droughts, extreme bushfires have decimated koala habitats over the last decade. Three years ago Australia became the first country to lose a mammal to climate change. I said in my first speech that the extinction of the bramble cay melomys would change nothing, and that has proven true. Three years on, eight years into this coalition government, they have dug in their heels acting on climate change, and now our beloved koalas stand in danger. Shame on you all.