The opening of stage one of the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary was celebrated today by local wildlife volunteers alongside local MPs Kate Washington and Meryl Swanson.
Stage one was funded by a $124,000 grant from Kate Washington MP and a $13,283 grant from Meryl Swanson MP.
The project, which officially opened today, included four koala rehabilitation pens as well as a home base for local volunteers. Future stages will include a clinic and tourist centre.
Volunteers from Port Stephens Koalas were able to leverage the grants secured by their local MPs to successfully apply for $3 million from the NSW Government. This funding was confirmed in the recent NSW Budget.
This final facility will not only offer a place for the care and rehabilitation of sick and injured koalas, but also provide a new tourist attraction in beautiful Port Stephens.
In August 2017, the NSW Scientific Committee made a preliminary determination to reclassify as ‘endangered’ the Port Stephens koala population. However, during the exhibition period it was discovered that the NSW Liberal-National Government’s changes to the Biodiversity Conservation Act prohibited the local threat level from being raised.
Habitat loss, dog attacks and vehicle strikes are the greatest threat to local koalas.
Quotes attributable to Kate Washington MP, Member for Port Stephens:
“I am so impressed by the work of Port Stephens Koalas and the facility they have been able to deliver. This is a volunteer-led organisation that works hard every day to protect our local koala population from extinction.
“These hard-working volunteers took the seed funding I secured and turned it into a multi-million dollar facility for our region.
Quotes attributable to Meryl Swanson MP, Member for Paterson
“Volunteers from Port Stephens Koalas work tirelessly to save our precious native wildlife. I’m so pleased I’ve helped them bring their dream of a sanctuary to life.
“This facility will ensure our grandkids can see can see koalas in the wild. It is an investment in our future – ecologically and economically.”