NSW Bureaucracy is Ill-Informed over Koala Park Conservation

Thu 14 Sep 23


One of Australia’s greatest living authorities on koalas and their habitat has condemned the NSW Labor Party and the “conservation bureaucracy” on the ill-informed decision to close parts of the proposed Great Koala National Park further to determine the forest industry’s impact on the marsupial.

“It’s hard to reconcile the facts with Environment and Natural Resources Minister Penny Sharpe’s announcement about saving koalas,” says Vic Jurskis, a former professional forester with the NSW Forestry Commission and author of three books including The Great Koala Scam.

The halt to forest harvesting covers 106 koala hubs across more than 8400 ha in the region, with a government consultation process starting immediately on the next step in establishing the park.

Wood Central can reveal the 106 coups connected to the Great Koala National Park
Yesterday, Wood Central revealed the 106 coups connected to the Great Koala National Park.

Jurskis asks: “How can there be more than 100 high-density ‘hubs’ of koalas on the mid-north coast if they are a declining and endangered species? If forestry is a threat, why are all the hubs in regrowth forests and plantations?”

He said koala numbers increased in intensively managed forests through the Black Summer mega-fires. Fatalities in areas burnt by high-intensity fires were more than compensated by the ongoing increases.

“But the conservation bureaucracy couldn’t bear to publicise the news that koalas increased in logged and burnt forests,” Jurskis said. 

“So, the Natural Resources Commission diluted the precise data from research in coastal forests with less precise data from surveys in the hinterlands where koala densities are not so high. They reported that koala numbers, including Black Summer, remained stable over five years.”

“Meanwhile, koalas will continue to increase and will increasingly suffer disease, dog attacks, vehicle injuries and incineration.”

Peter Rutherford, secretary of the South East Timber Association, supports these comments.

“Whether it is deliberate or not, the extinction scaremongers have chosen to push Australian consumers down the unethical and immoral path of sourcing their hardwood products from offshore tropical rainforests, such as those in Indonesia, where the concern is for the potential extinction of Sumatran tigers and orangutans,” Rutherford said.

“The claims are that koalas will become extinct, and the Great Koala National Park is needed to protect them. If forest harvesting is such a threat, why are there so many koalas in state forests harvested on multiple occasions over the past century?

“In two state forests in southern NSW, there are two and three times the number of koalas than in the adjoining Biamanga national park because koalas prefer more nutritious foliage, usually found on younger (regrowth) trees.”

The proposed Koala Park covers a significant portion of protected public forest – not available for timber supply (87.8%). With the latest decision, it is now 89%.

A hardwood saw miller who asked to be unnamed said the NSW government’s decision on the Great Koala National Park was “another nail hammered in the coffin of sustainable native forest harvesting in Australia and the hundreds of jobs they support.”

He said he had personally been involved for several decades in the sector and once again was gutted by the Fourth Estate’s grab for headlines this week.

“Ideology instead of science is the order of the day … toxicity of the swing voter in marginal urban seats, combined with a poor response from many so-called foresters.”

He summarised:

  • Koalas prefer regrowth forests over old growth.
  • Koala populations don’t mind eucalypt plantations.
  • All Australian Labor governments and the right wing, be they teal, LNP or the wets, fear a swing to the greens.
  • Another inquiry is another national park to incinerate flora and fauna.
  • The ‘brainwashing’ of kids from pre-school to university is not helping.


  • Jim Bowden

    Jim Bowden, senior editor and co-publisher of Wood Central. Jim brings 50-plus years’ experience in agriculture and timber journalism. Since he founded Australian Timberman in 1977, he has been devoted to the forest industry – with a passion.


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