Campbelltown’s disease-free koala colony would be protected in a dedicated national park – if Labor is elected at the next state election.
Opposition Leader Luke Foley on Sunday announced the plan to establish Sydney's first koala national park at Smiths Creek Reserve, a sliver of bushland wedged between homes in Campbelltown.
The 4000 hectare national park would stretch from Georges River bushland at Glenfield in the north to Appin in the south.
"None of this is rocket science, we know what can be done to save the koala, it's a question of political will," Mr Foley told reporters.
"If we don't act now, the last koalas in metropolitan Sydney will become extinct over the extinct 10 or 20 years."
In recent months new pictures of dead or injured koalas on Macarthur district roads have appeared social media every few days.
The creation of the Koala National Park is part of a three-point plan to save the 400-strong local colony, threatened by loss of habitat and traffic on increasingly busy roads resulting from major residential development.
Mr Foley has also promised to establish a $3 million koala care centre in the region, similar to those already in Lismore and Port Macquarie.
Currently the local community is reliant on the generosity of local veterinary services providing their services for free and volunteer rescuers and carers, trying to care for koalas in their homes.
The final measure in Labor’s plan will see strict conditions imposed on developers planning to build housing estates bordering known koala habitat, especially along Appin Road and Heathcote Road.
Development consent will be conditional on wildlife protection measures such as underpasses, overpasses and fencing being built.
Opposition Environment spokeswoman Penny Sharpe said it was a “do or die situation” for the Campbelltown koala colony.
“The decisions we make today will determine the future of the koala.
“Labor’s plan will give the koalas of southwest Sydney the trees and protection they need as well as helping to keep them safe into the future.”
Campbelltown MP Greg Warren said Campbelltown’s koala colony was “unique, precious and invaluable” and warranted strong protection.
“The population is the last disease-free koala colony in NSW which makes it arguably the most important colony in the state,” he said.
“A 4,000 hectare koala national park is huge and it will ensure our local population thrive and survive.”
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