Member for Tweed, Geoff Provest has announced the NSW Government has purchased 43 hectares of prime koala habitat adjoining the Cudgera Creek Nature Reserve. Environment Minister, Gabrielle Upton joined Mr Provest in the Tweed for the announcement.
“This is another great day for koalas in our local area and follows the purchase of land last year by the Government to create a 100 hectare koala reserve at Pottsville, and funding recently allocated for a koala holding facility at that location,” Mr Provest said.
“This latest addition compliments existing efforts by the Government to conserve high value Koala habitat that supports landscape connectivity as well as the east-west movement of koalas between the hinterland and the coast.
“This movement is important for the future survival of the Tweed’s population of coastal koalas which have been recorded moving back and forth over the Pacific Highway near the nature reserve via a specially designed fauna land bridge”. Mr Provest said.
Minister Upton emphasised the land purchase is part of the Government’s nation leading $45 million package to save the koala across New South Wales.
“We know there are koalas in this area and the evidence shows they are also moving through on a regular basis”, Ms Upton said.
“The purchase will also improve the ecological viability of the existing 60 hectare Cudgera Creek Reserve by increasing its size by almost 72%.
“Conserving this new addition will contribute to Koala conservation by removing threats such as clearing and habitat fragmentation as well as reducing other threats such as dog attack and vehicle strike,” Ms Upton said.
Aside from koala habitat values the land also contains five nationally threatened plant species and another nine species listed under the State’s Biodiversity Conservation Act, making it very significant in terms of threatened species.
This latest purchase is one of a number that the Government is planning on top of the 24,600 hectares of state forest very recently set aside for koala conservation. It is looking to acquire more land containing high-priority koala habitat for the national parks system through its land acquisition program where $20 million has been specifically allocated to koala land purchase over five years.
A wide range of related koala conservation activities have also been funded through the Saving our Species program which has contributed more than $1.8 million to Koala conservation since the program began in 2012-2013.