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NSW Koala Summit 2024 & Koala Strategy Discussion Paper

Friends of the Koala NSW Koala Summit

Back row from left: Rhonda James (Landholder and Vice-President FOK), Michael Kennedy (Aboriginal Partnerships Officer – North Coast Regional Landcare), Lorraine Vass (Patron FOK), Marama Hopkins (Conservation Planning Officer Tweed Shire Council), Maria Matthes (Saving Ballina’s Koalas and Area Coordinator FOK), Linda Swankie (Ecologist Bangalow Koalas and Area Coordinator FOK)

Front row: Allison Kelly (President FOK), Emma Stone (Border Ranges Richmond Valley Landcare Network), Angie Brace (Regional Koala Officer FOK), Silva Everaers (General Manager FOK), Hannah Rice-Hayes (Environmental Strategies Officer Lismore City Council), Caitlin Weatherstone (Koala Projects Officer Byron Shire Council).

Friends of the Koala volunteers and staff, along with other members of the Northern Rivers Koala Network, joined other key stakeholders including researchers, academics, koala conservation and rehabilitation groups, First Nations representatives, private landholders, local councils and policy makers at the NSW Koala Summit hosted at Taronga Zoo by the state’s Environment Minister The Hon. Penny Sharpe, MLC.

Friends of the Koala and the Northern Rivers region had strong representation due to our wide range of activities and strong collaboration, and the fact that our volunteers are experts in their fields deeply committed to saving the koala from extinction. We are incredibly proud of the quality and calibre of the people involved in Friends of the Koala, and the contribution they made on this day.

“Friends of the Koala (FOK) in Lismore is one of the high-profile organisations in New South Wales which has for decades been dedicated to the long-term survival of local koala populations.”

Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin

The aim of the Summit was to ‘review the NSW Koala Strategy and shape actions that governments, community groups, businesses and individuals can take to conserve koalas in NSW.’ Delegates were tasked with considering and prioritising recommendations on 10 themes critical to koala recovery across the State.  

Environment Minister The Hon. Penny Sharpe, MLC. promised a bold revised Koala Strategy and encouraged us all to ‘go hard’ and not to hold back with our contributions.

We thank the Minister and staff in the NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water for hosting the Summit, for acknowledging the shortfalls of the current Koala Strategy and for listening to our concerns, ideas and recommendations.

“The Summit was an inspiring event that gave us hope change is coming – but actions speak louder than words. I cannot stress enough the urgency of addressing the threats koalas face. We need a whole of government approach and act decisively to save koalas from extinction – protect and restore habitat, mitigate vehicle strike and combat disease. The necessity to fund the vital work done by koala hospitals and rehabilitators is undeniable and cannot wait. The survival of our organisation, and koalas, depends on it. We need the resources to continue the work we do to save koalas every single day – and we need them now.”

Friends of the Koala General Manager Silva Everaers

Please have your say and contribute to the review of the NSW Koala Strategy, koalas need our help. The deadline for contributions is 26 April 2024, to participate click here. We are currently working on our submission and will share the final version through our social media channels.

Read more about the fight to save Australia’s koalas: Global heating, land clearing and the ‘extinction vortex’: the fight to save Australia’s koalas

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