Koalas get $700k funding kick

STATE Environment Minister Robyn Parker confirmed an additional $700,000 in funding has been allocated for koala conservation and recovery.

The State Government's had already committed more than $404,000 this year through the NSW Environmental Trust for koala habitat restoration.

Ms Parker said the koala was first recognised by the NSW Government as vulnerable in 1992.

"The funding has been allocated, in part, to convene a community koala summit, in conjunction with the NSW Conservation Council, to clearly identify current koala conservation issues," Ms Parker said.

"Funding will also be used to track changes in koala populations, develop a standard approach to mapping koala habitat and to evaluate the effectiveness of previous tree plantings.

"As well, the funding will be used to provide incentives to landholders to manage and approve priority koala habitat on their lands and to identify koala habitat and threats and recommend mitigation activity for councils and the community."

The announcement has been welcomed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

IFAW Australia Director Isabel McCrea said this is an important step towards stemming declines in koala numbers.

"This is good news for koalas but will need to be followed up with real action from both federal and state governments if it is going to translate into effective protection for koalas in the trees as well as on the ground," Ms McCrea said.

"What's needed is a coordinated, well funded and standardized approach to population estimates and monitoring, more money for disease research and control and more effective action to protect key habitat from logging and development."

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