Koalas could be threatened species
NORTH Coast koala lovers say the cuddly marsupial needs to be listed as a nationally threatened species.
Environment Minister Tony Burke will decide on Monday whether to give koalas threatened status under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Habitat clearing, disease and deaths due to cars and dogs have led to substantial falls in Northern Rivers' koala populations.
Friends of the Koala president Lorraine Vass said national protection would help protect koala habitat from development and create more funding for conservation.
"Listing the koala as a nationally threatened species will provide additional protection. Any development assessed to significantly impact on koala habitat will require the approval of the federal minister," Ms Vass said.
She said the decision was crunch time for koalas on the North Coast.
"We need to turn things around because we have 240 koalas along the Byron Coast and only 144 animals left in the Tweed, which is far short of what the scientists tell us is the minimum viable population of 170 animals," Ms Vass said.
The ruling is one of a number of crucial decisions affecting local koala populations.
Lismore City Council will consider public submissions to its draft comprehensive koala plan of management for south-eastern Lismore at a council meeting on May 8.
Experts predict koalas could be extinct in south-eastern Queensland within 50 years and Ms Vass said this was likely to be replicated in Northern NSW.