Koala plan could cost AU$1 billion

Friday 22 Mar 2019

An Australian Labor party plan to save declining koala populations could cost AU$1billion and slash almost 2000 jobs, according to a new analysis. NSW Labor has committed to establish a Great Koala National Park on the mid-north coast, if elected in Saturday's state election, to protect one of the nation's most famous marsupials.

But according to Ernst and Young research, commissioned by the Australian Forest Products Association, the koala site would kill the local logging industry, the Daily Telegraph reported. The analysis found the plan to save koalas would tally a loss of AU$757million in output and another AU$292million in 'value add'.

The plan would also see 1871 jobs in NSW slashed, according to the research based on a site at Coffs Harbor which was proposed by conservationists. The site extends from the Tweed to the Central Coast and covers a large area of forestry. Labor has not unveiled the exact site yet but parliamentary budget costings said the party planned to build the park in the Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbor-Grafton regions.

Ross Hampton, CEO of Australian Forest Products Association, said Labor's plan would end the timber industry on the north coast. 'We cannot save the koala with kind words and token actions, we have to act and protect their diminishing habitat.'

Further comment from AFPA and Timber NSW on this week’s announcement can be found in the associated story.

Source: Daily Mail Australia

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