Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Decision date for koala threatened species listing extended

Media release
31 October 2011

Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, today extended the due date for his decision on whether to add the koala to the list of nationally threatened species, following new information and the recommendations of the Senate inquiry.

Mr Burke's decision was due at the end of October but he will now make his decision by 17 February 2012 to allow sufficient time to consider the new information and to seek further advice from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee in light of new population data.

"Significant new data was presented to the Senate inquiry in relation to koala populations in Australia's north," Mr Burke said.

"The Scientific Committee hasn't had the opportunity to deal with this data. This provides the opportunity to keep the process moving.

"The aim of the Senate inquiry was to fill some of the knowledge gaps and assess the threats to and management of koalas across the country."

In September 2010, the scientific committee advised the Minister not to list the koala, due to insufficient data. In addition to the new findings in the Senate inquiry, new information has become available in the year since the Committee's advice.

This includes evidence of more significant population declines than previously identified and more severe threats to the national koala population than those considered by the Committee, particularly in the koala's northern range (Queensland and New South Wales).

"The results of this Senate inquiry have been valuable to inform this very important decision I have to make under national environment law," said Mr Burke.

"I'm not going to rush such a crucial decision. There are ways of dealing with different Koala populations in different parts of the country.

"I want the Committee to provide me with advice inside the new deadline."