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Internal doubts about purchase of koala lands

poll finds strong strong local support for new koala national parks.

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robert99 robert99 Sweden Posts: 1360
1 19 Dec 2017
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/not-a-priority-documents-reveal-internal-doubts-about-purchase-of-koala-lands-20171211-h02ws8.html

The Berejiklian government proceeded to buy two blocks of land for koala habitat, overriding internal concerns the purchases were "not a priority" as protections were already in place.

The aquisition of the land in the Tweed Shire earlier this year comes as a new poll finds strong strong local support for new koala national parks.

There is also confirmation the state's new biodiversity conservation act prevents threatened regional populations of any species - including koalas - securing elevated endangered status.

Documents released under freedom of information to the North Coast Environment Centre (NCEC) reveal Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) staff doubted the benefits of paying almost $1 million for about 104 hectares of land for koala protection near Pottsville, north of Byron Bay.

"While the property has some conservation values, it is not seen as a priority for purchase," one assessment found.

One reason was the land was "under low threat" because further deforestation was not permitted.

"It would also not be cost effective for the National Parks and Wildlife service to manage due to its condition, location and boundary configuration," it said.

Ashley Love, a spokesman for the North Coast Environment Council, said the spending appeared aimed at shoring up support for National MPs in marginal electorates in the region.

Mr Love is also concerned the government will squander the $10 million koala fund - meant to protect "vital" habitat - and a separate $240 million biodiversity conservation trust to protect land with high conservation values.

"It was a bad precedent at the very beginning of when this government's going to spend a lot of money on private land," he said.

OEH didn't explain why its internal advice was ignored.

(http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/news/10-million-to-protect-koala-habitat
The NSW Government will invest $10 million over 5 years to acquire vital koala habitat and will embark on a whole-of-government koala strategy to secure NSW koala populations, Environment Minister Mark Speakman announced on 4 December 2016. )
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