Years of hard work and dedication among local volunteers has paid off, with koala rescue and rehabilitation organisation Port Stephens Koalas receiving $3 million to continue their important work.
The NSW Government’s long-awaited Koala Strategy, released today, endorsed the community campaign to fund a koala hospital in Port Stephens in an effort to save our local koala population from extinction.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald MLC, announced the koala hospital funding on twitter this afternoon following the release of the Strategy.
Port Stephens Koalas is a local volunteer-led organisation caring for sick, injured and orphaned koalas, while also working to preserve local habitat and reduce the risks of injury to our endangered koala population.
The first stage of the koala hospital was made possible with $124,000 seed-funding provided by the Member for Port Stephens, Kate Washington, in 2016 through the Community Building Partnership grant program.
Since then, Port Stephens Koalas have been working hard to establish the rehabilitation pens whilst seeking support from other sources to develop the remaining stages.
The new NSW Koala Strategy also allocates $20 million from the NSW Environmental Trust to purchase prime koala habitat for reservation.
Quotes attributable to Kate Washington MP
“Most importantly, I want to congratulate and thank the volunteers at Port Stephens Koalas for their hard work and dedication over many years, as well as their incredible advocacy for the plight of our local koala population.
“I was pleased to be able to kick it all off two years ago with funding for the first stage, but the vision was always much larger than just rehabilitation pens.
“Since then, the volunteers have been working around the clock seeking support from other sources. Port Stephens Council and Hunter Water came on board, and it’s great to see the NSW government has now stepped up, too.
“None of this would be possible without the volunteers. They give so generously of their time and energy to protect our local koalas from extinction. The koala hospital will support them and their important work.
“The government has also earmarked $20 million from the NSW Environmental Trust to purchase prime koala habitat like the six hectares of Mambo Wetlands they ‘mistakenly’ sold for $250,000.
“You can’t save our local koalas if you’re flogging off their habitat to developers, so I’ll continue urging the Premier to fix the government’s mistake and buy back that land before it’s too late.”
This item was distributed as a media release on Sunday 6 May 2018.