Koala protection measures welcomed

KOALAS on the NSW North Coast have been added to the national list of threatened species.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Bourke has announced koalas in NSW, Queensland and the ACT are now considered 'vulnerable' according to Federal Environment law.

Friends of the Koala president Lorraine Vass says local conservation groups have been lobbying for the listing for some time.

"Clearly we are very happy with the announcement and it's very welcome," Ms Vass says.

But says she has "mixed feeling" about the listing only covering koala populations in NSW, Queensland and the ACT.

Ms Vass says it's still unclear how koala populations in Victoria are affected by logging and the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

"As a conservationist it's not cut and dried and taken for granted that koala numbers in Victoria aren't of concern," Ms Vass says.

The Federal Member for Page, Janelle Saffin, says the national legislation will help efforts to preserve North Coast koala populations.

"I have supported the tireless work of Friends of the Koala Incorporated (Northern Rivers) President Lorraine Vass and her fellow volunteers, particularly in local habitats like the Tucki Tucki Nature Reserve, near Lismore," Ms Saffin says.

"I congratulate Friends of the Koala for raising public awareness that koala numbers in New South Wales have declined by a third in just two decades, and that surviving koalas face serious threats from habitat loss and urban expansion, as well as vehicle strikes, dog attacks and disease."



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