Koalas will be extinct in NSW within 30 years without urgent government action, report warns

A year-long inquiry into koala populations in NSW has found the marsupials will become extinct before 2050 without urgent intervention.

Koala habits destroyed by the bushfire season

There are serious concerns about koala populations in NSW. Source: AAP

Koalas will become extinct in NSW before 2050 without urgent government intervention, a parliamentary report has found.

The year-long inquiry from the NSW upper house released on Tuesday found habitat loss was the biggest threat to koala populations in the state.

"There must be a significant increase in koala habitat protected from logging, mining, land clearing and urban development," committee chair Cate Faehrmann said in a statement on Tuesday.

The NSW bushfire crisis over summer had a devastating impact on koala numbers.
Source: AAP

Ms Faehrmann said the threatened species was in significant trouble before the unprecedented bushfire season. 

The committee also found climate change was severely impacting koalas, affecting quality of food and habitat and exacerbating droughts and bushfires.

Images were shown to the inquiry of thirsty koalas unable to receive adequate moisture from their tree leaves, seeking hydration from garden hoses and water bowls.

The report found the NSW Koala Strategy to be ineffective in protecting enough areas for the marsupials to live.

Two new national parks have been put forward for the state government to assess their suitability as koala sanctuaries.

Overall, the committee has made 42 recommendations to the NSW government.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday told reporters she was satisfied with the government's work in protecting koalas, including the funding of koala hospitals in Port Macquarie and Port Stephens.

"If we hadn't taken action, we would've seen those populations continue to diminish and I'm incredibly proud that we put tens of millions of dollars into protecting koalas across the state," Ms Berejiklian said.

"From memory it was an investment in excess of $60 million.

"I want to be the premier that saves our koala population into the future."

Published 30 June 2020 at 3:20pm, updated 30 June 2020 at 3:47pm