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ALACT Public Meeting

All welcome when we return :)

Griffin Centre
20 Genge St, Civic


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Koalas were never considered common in the ACT, and the small populations that may have existed were wiped out in the 2003 bushfires. Since those devastating firestorms, some koalas have been reintroduced into the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve from other states. Koalas are, however, considered locally extinct in the ACT. While they are more numerous in other parts of the country, overall koala numbers are in rapid decline across Australia.

During the early 20th century koalas were almost hunted to extinction. 500,000 skins were sent to America every year until President Hoover, who had worked in Australia in his early life, signed an order prohibiting the importation of koala skins. An American president is therefore credited with saving Australia's iconic koala.


Today, the Australian Koala Foundation estimates that there are as few as 43,000 koalas remaining in Australia. Due to the recent Victorian fires and Queensland floods there may even be considerably fewer. Habitat destruction due to humans, ongoing bush fires, dog attacks, and road accidents are also contributing factors to the dwindling koala numbers.

In recognition of their vulnerable status, the Environment Minister Tony Burke announced on 30 April 2012 that at-risk koala populations in NSW, Queensland, and the ACT would be included on the national list of threatened species.

But as the Australian Greens have pointed out, this listing will make no difference if the koala’s woodland habitats are not also protected, and if funds are not directed towards recovery plans for koala numbers (rather than just stopping the decline). For this reason, the Greens announced in May 2012 that they would introduce a Koala Protection Bill into the Senate. The Bill would be modelled on the US law of 1940, which brought the American bald eagle back from the brink of extinction by protecting it from human predators. The Greens’ Bill would aim to make it unlawful to kill, harm or otherwise deal with a koala anywhere in Australia, and would make it an offence to destroy or harm koala habitat in areas where the koala has been listed as threatened by the Australian Environment Minster.

For more general information about koalas see the Save the Koala website.


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