NSW report raises koala extinction fears

A report says koalas might be extinct in NSW before 2050 unless urgent intervention is taken.
A report says koalas might be extinct in NSW before 2050 unless urgent intervention is taken.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she is satisfied with the government's work to protect koalas, after a parliamentary inquiry found they will become extinct in the state before 2050 without urgent intervention.

A report from the NSW upper house inquiry on Tuesday found habitat loss was the biggest threat to koala populations in the state.

Greens MP and committee chair Cate Faehrmann said the species was in significant trouble before the unprecedented bushfire season which killed about 5000 koalas.

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

The report found the NSW Koala Strategy was ineffective in protecting enough areas for the marsupials to live, and said the government's current estimate of 36,000 koalas living in the wild was outdated.

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

But Ms Berejiklian said she was satisfied with their 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 told reporters on Tuesday.

"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."

Australian Associated Press