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The Koala Blog

Koala cuteness, conservation and news from the front line.

Annual General Meeting – AGM

Friends of the Koala Management Committee and Volunteers

Our AGM alongside with our Annual Report 2022/23 provide an opportunity to reflect on our achievements and challenges throughout the financial year and to share our plans for the future with our members.

This year was a big year for Friends of the Koala for many reasons, but the main reason is the impact our collective achievements have on the future of koalas. Koalas will continue to face many challenges here in Australia but – powered by passionate people who make things happen – we will continue to make positive progress in koala conservation.

Guest Speaker

Special thanks to Sue Higginson, Greens NSW MP and Environmental Lawyer. We are grateful for her continued support, advocacy of koalas and conservationism. Sue’s inspirational speech told of her passionate advocacy for koalas throughout her career. Sue is also a farmer living in the Northern Rivers and has planted thousands of trees to expand koala habitat in the area.

New Management Committee

We would like to welcome and thank our new Management Committee for taking on their roles, for those whom inaction is simply not an option. Our new Committee Members are:

  • President: Aliison Kelly
  • Vice-President: Rhonda James
  • Treasurer: Bethany Wilson
  • Secretary: Susan Monkley

And general Committee Members:

  • Paul White
  • Christine Hahn
  • Susannah Keogh
  • Vicki Meyer
  • Hazel Matthews

This year, we successfully released our 2,000th koala into the wild and distributed the 800,000th tree through our Nursery!

We are also on the cusp of completing ten additional koala rehabilitation runs, which will double our capacity to care for koalas in our care centre.

Achievements

We appreciate the work of all our amazing people and like to highlight some achievements, which could not have happened without the incredible contribution of over 239 volunteers, seven staff members and 528 members across a wide variety of roles and teams.

Our ground-breaking project with the University of the Sunshine Coast (UniSC) and the Department of Planning and Environment, the Ruthven Koala Vaccination Project, is complete.

We are also delighted that the Development Application for the Koala Hospital and Community Education Centre has been approved.

In addition, we have secured funding to open a state-of-the-art Research and Diagnostics Laboratory, which will make a significant difference for the koalas treated in our Koala Hospital in the future.

A quick look at key achievements this year in koala rescue, rehabilitation, and release:

  • 369 koalas rescued and admitted to our Koala Hospital.
  • 131 koalas rehabilitated and released.
  • 5,855 rescue hotline calls answered.

Noteworthy progress has been made in habitat creation, protection and restoration through our Nursery, habitat restoration projects and advocacy work.

A quick look at achievements in habitat protection and restoration:

  • 133,100 trees distributed free of charge.
  • 12,608 trees sold.
  • 1,175 trees planted.
  • 30 ha koala habitat restored.
  • $299,980 project funding secured.

A quick look at key achievements in koala education and community engagement:

  • 800+ people educated through koala tours at Friends of the Koala.
  • Twenty-one local schools, markets & events attended.
  • One Friends of the Koala documentary – Every Koala Counts
  • Launch of Joey Buddies
  • 9,359 subscribers to monthly newsletter – subscribe here.

A quick look at key achievements in koala advocacy:

  • Thirteen submissions to development applications.
  • Six council meetings attended & presentations.
  • Five conferences attended.
  • 10+ letters to and meetings with politicians at local, state & national level.
  • Regional koala group meetings hosted.

Special thanks to our charity partners, foundations, trusts, and the government. Their support enables us to do the critical on-the-ground work of saving koalas. This year, we were successful in securing twelve new grants whilst continuing to manage six ongoing multi-year projects.

Some of the things these grants enabled us to include:

  • Fund wages for our veterinary staff, volunteer coordinator and regional koala officer.
  • Plan the opening of a state-of-the-art Research and Diagnostics Laboratory (soon to be completed).
  • Execute multiple koala habitat restoration projects.
  • Install a custom-built emergency response canopy on our koala rescue vehicle.
  • Fit out ten additional koala rehabilitation runs.
  • Fund a variety of volunteer and administrative costs, including equipment and PPE.
  • Execute NSW’s first Wild Koala Vaccination Project.
  • Continue the Koala Hospital building expansion project.
  • Purchase a new lawn mower for our plantation team.
  • Purchase an electric van for our community nursery in the Northern Rivers.
  • Continue the distribution of free koala food trees to local landholders.
  • Become the proud owners of a 4WD Ford Ranger koala rescue vehicle.

Our supporters and volunteers

We also want to emphasise the crucial role of in-kind donations, pro bono and discounted services, and the enormous amount of volunteer hours contributed by our people. Although not reflected in our income, the value of these donations in both time and materials exceeds $3,500,000 per annum.

A quick look at the contribution of our people:

  • 239 active volunteers;
  • 75,500 volunteer hours;
  • $3,245,240 value of volunteer hours;
  • 527 members; and
  • Seven staff.

Financials

A quick overview of our financial situation, we received:

  • 791 individual donations from over thirty-nine countries
  • 555 ‘Adopt a Koala’ packages were purchased.
  • One bequest
  • Eleven gifts in wills confirmed.

  • Corporate sponsorship income increased by 64%.
  • Donations income increased by 67%.
  • Nursery income increased by 6%.
  • Membership fee income decreased by 46%.
  • Expenditure increased by 17% which includes expenditure funded by grants.

Continue to read more in our latest Annual Report here. If you have any questions please contact us. If reading about our achievements and challenges has inspired, you to act and you would like to support our work in koala conservation there are many ways in which you can help us. Maybe you have an idea or a collaboration that you would like to talk to us about – please do! You can visit our current partnerships here.

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