Labor is the party for the environment. It was Labor that put in place the world's largest network of marine reserves, it was Labor that solved 100 years of conflict over the Murray Darling Basin, it was Labor who put forward a carbon price and has real climate change policies and it was Labor that delivered the Tasmanian Forest Agreement.
Australia's most-at-risk populations of koalas, those in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, are protected under national environment law. The then Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke MP listed these populations in April 2012 as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act).
Since coming to Government the Liberal National Conservatives have ignored Koala protection unless forced to take action. In NSW, the State Government is actively reducing protections for vegetation and Koala habitat and Federally the Liberals want to hand environmental approvals to the States.
Habitat loss and fragmentation has been the major cause of decline in the koala numbers. Labor in Queensland has committed to re-introducing effective tree clearing regulations, which had been removed by the previous Newman LNP Government.
At the 2016 Federal election Labor committed to a number of policies to enhance vegetation protection in Australia. Labor’s policies of adding a land clearing trigger in to the EPBC Act and strengthening environmental laws will improve protections for high conservation areas including areas where Koalas live.
Labor has always been at the forefront of national environmental leadership in Australia and in developing our policies for the next election we will ensure that policy initiatives will support conservation of one of national icons – the Koala.