Labor says NSW government response to Koala inquiry is 'weak'

Disappointed: Labor's Shadow Minister for Environment, Kate Washington, and Campbelltown MP Greg Warren beside Appin Road. Picture: Supplied.
Disappointed: Labor's Shadow Minister for Environment, Kate Washington, and Campbelltown MP Greg Warren beside Appin Road. Picture: Supplied.

The Berejiklian Government has refused to commit to 31 recommendations from the recent parliamentary inquiry into koalas, a move that threatens to make the iconic Aussie marsupial extinct.

The parliamentary inquiry spectacularly warned the iconic species would be extinct before 2050 if the state government took no action to protect them.

The NSW government committed to only 11 of the 42 recommendations made by the inquiry conducted in the aftermath of the 'black summer' fires.

Labor says the ramifications of the government's inaction could spell the end of Campbelltown's precious disease-free colony.

Fourteen of the inquiry's recommendations were effectively ignored, or 'noted'; while 17 were 'supported in principle' but not supported in practice.

In September 2020 Deputy Premier John Barilaro (Nationals) threatened to rip up the coalition agreement if rural property owners did not get concessions for core koala habitat protections.

The Liberals and Nationals appeared to reach agreement on policy in October.

But upper house Liberal Catherine Cusack voted against a compromise.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian dumped Ms Cusack from her role as a parliamentary secretary after casting her vote.

Labor's Shadow Minister for Environment, Kate Washington, has condemned the government's weak response.

"The parliamentary inquiry made it crystal clear that koalas will soon become extinct in NSW unless urgent action is taken to protect their habitat," Ms Washington said.

"Instead of heeding the shocking warning, the Government has failed to commit to 31 of the inquiry's 42 recommendations.

"It's a reprehensible response, as it condemns our national icon to a bleak then non-existent future."

Campbelltown MP Greg Warren was equally outraged.

"Campbelltown's unique and disease-free colony is much loved by our community," he said.

"The survival of our colony is in the NSW Liberals' hands - and as a result, it is looking bleak."