Grim future for Aussie icon


The Federal Government has been called to account for the condition of its environmental protection legislation.

Greens leader Bob Brown was in town today heading the Senate Inquiry into the conditions of one of Australia’s most loved natural icons.

Lincoln Humphries reports.

TRANSCRIPT

Koalas. They’re not a bear, but according to the findings of today’s senate inquiry, they’re barely hanging on.

Senator Bob Brown, Greens Leader: “It’s an absolute crisis for this great Australian icon which is headed for extinction unless we intervene and I mean governments intervene.”

For Senator Brown the solution to the Koala’s plight is two fold.

Senator Bob Brown, Greens Leader: “What is required is laws that prohibit the destruction of koala habitat and the money required to tackle the diseases.”

For some researchers, the inquiry will hopefully be a catalyst to some real developments.

Dr Jon Hanger, RSPCA: “Now is the time for real action and real funding, not more talkfests and not more strategic planning, but real funding.”

As well as increased funding, another major outcome being sought is the appropriate listing of the koala as an endangered species.

Deborah Tabart OAM, CEO of the Australian Koala Foundation: “If the koala was listed, the developer needs, and has, to do a decent environmental impact. Theoretically, if they do that properly you don’t have a dead koala at the end of that.”

Ms Tabart has raised millions of dollars for koala research and rehabilitation, but now she’s hoping to raise morethan just money.

Deborah Tabart OAM, CEO of the Australian Koala Foundation: “Political will is really what I’m looking for right now, a political statement from our Federal Government that says Australian koalas are important, they’re our icon.”

The inquiry will proceed to Canberra next month where it’s hoped the talk will become action.

Lincoln Humphries, QUT News.