Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Further extension to koala threatened species listing decision

Media release
16 February 2012

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke today announced a further 10 week extension to the due date for his decision on whether to add the koala to the list of nationally threatened species.

The Federal Government has requested further information from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee in relation to the precise boundaries of where koala populations are dwindling.

The Committee has found that the national koala population is variable, with koalas abundant in some areas such as South Australia and declining in other areas such as Queensland and NSW.

Consideration of a nationally threatened species listing for only part of the range of a widespread species such as the koala is unprecedented.

"To enable detailed analysis and careful consideration of the new information from the Committee my decision will now be made by 30 April 2012," Mr Burke said.

"There is a strong case that a nationally threatened species listing is required for koalas in areas where numbers have been under greatest threat.

"But I can't provide a blanket threatened species listing across Australia when there are many places where koala numbers remain high.

"That means any listing would need to apply only to specific parts of Australia.

"The advice I've received from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee suggests that I could generalise these areas to state boundaries.

"I agree with the Committee's findings about the need to treat populations differently in different parts of Australia but am seeking further advice on whether there are more precise habitat boundaries than simply adopting state boundaries.

"I've asked the Committee to come back to me with more precise boundaries which detail the areas where koala populations are dwindling.

"I don't expect that there will be any need for a further extension of time after 30 April."

A Senate inquiry has provided valuable information and findings which are being taken into account by the Government in making this decision, in addition to the Threatened Species Scientific Committee's advice that has been provided in accordance with national environmental law.