Press release, for immediate release
Victorian Koala Leaders Present Urgent Demands to Premier to Save Koalas.
Koala advocates from across Victoria have come together with a list of 10 demands to save the state’s koalas ahead of the next election.
The demands, titled the Koala Commandments, begin with stopping native forest logging and have been guided by hands-on experience across the state – from koala carers, researchers, conservation and tree-planting groups – and informed by the latest science. The list of demands has been signed by fourteen groups, which are also demanding the government release the long-overdue Koala Management Strategy.
Janine Duffy from Koala Clancy Foundation said: “Stopping all native forest logging in Victoria is our number one demand because it is a number one threat to koalas.”
Native forest logging kills koalas outright, destroys their homes, and leads to hotter bushfires which kill koalas. Leaving those forests standing is the best way to mitigate climate change, one of many threats killing koalas. Though the Victorian government claims it will stop the logging by 2030, the group says that isn’t soon enough.
“Those eucalyptus trees, our trees, need to stay in the ground doing what they do best: protecting us, and protecting koalas.” Ms Duffy said.
Melinda Darer from Friends of Alberton West Forest said: “Native forest logging has to actually stop. There’s been a lot of talk, but a promise made for 8 years in the future – 3 terms of government away – doesn’t mean anything.”
“We can’t trust this government to do what it promises. They are still logging old growth forests, despite promising in 2019 that they wouldn’t,” said Ms Darer.
“The damage that VicForests will do to koalas in 8 years is unimaginable. Former logging contractors have admitted that they can’t log successfully if they have to consider threatened species.” she said.
Jessica Robertson from Ballarat Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation said another of the key commandments is the release of the state’s Koala Management Strategy. The last Koala Management Strategy for Victoria was written in 2004 and has not been updated since then. A draft is available, and the final was promised in August 2022 but has not been released.
“Of all the states in Australia where koalas live, Victoria is the only one without a current Koala Management Strategy. What are they hiding?” said Ms Robertson.
“Other states update their Koala strategies every 5 to 7 years. Victoria has taken 18 years, and we’re still waiting,” she said.
“Every other state lists koala habitat protection & conservation as their number one priority, but in Victoria, it is number six.”
“The government currently has no strategy for how to deal with the tens of thousands of koalas dependent on blue gum plantations in the southwest. Plantation harvesting continues every day, killing koalas, leaving thousands of koalas homeless with no habitat. They’ve known about this problem for a decade and still, there is no strategy to save them.”
The Koala Commandments (attached) will be presented to the Premier’s office on Friday 18 November, after a peaceful rally where the group will discuss their demands with the public.
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Interviews available on request.
About Koala Clancy Foundation
Koala Clancy Foundation plants trees for koalas, creates new habitat, educates the local and wider community, supports scientific research and advocates for protection of wild koalas and their forest habitats. The organisation has planted 89,765 koala trees beside rivers on Melbourne’s Western Plains and in East Gippsland, Victoria and plans to plant 300,000 koala trees on the Western Plains by 2030. Invasive weeds are also targeted, and Koala Clancy Foundation, in partnership with social enterprise Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours, has removed over 3.2 million Boneseed weeds from koala habitat. Koala Clancy Foundation is an independent registered charity and not for profit organisation based in Staughton Vale, near Geelong, Victoria.
About Ballarat Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation
Ballarat Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation INC (BWRAC) rehabilitates wildlife that has experienced injury or trauma and advocates to influence and protect Australia’s wildlife habitat biodiversity. We do this by providing specialised care, lobbying for policy and industry reform, undertaking research and educating the public.
About Friends of Alberton West Forest
Friends of Alberton West Forest is a small group of local farmers, senior citizens and a vet nurse who live near the forest. They formed in 2021 to oppose misguided logging in the forest that has been cared for by the local community. Over the last 15 years, as part of the JARR project, thousands of trees have been planted and acres of weeds have been removed by the local community. Logging jeopardizes all this hard work, so the group is working to have it stopped.
Janine Duffy Ph: 0427 808 747 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Robertson Ph: 0409 211 194 Email: email@example.com
Melinda Darer Ph: 0410 219 104 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org