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Monday, 22 June 2009
Page: 6799

Mr LAMING (6:46 PM) —I rise because of concern about the falling koala population in my electorate. What we have seen from censuses conducted since 1996 through to 2005 and 2008 is a halving of the population, potentially, in the last three years, and that is of great concern. The error margin may be high and we may need more science, but quite simply I stand to make an appeal to the people of South-East Queensland to push harder for the protection of the koala. This will require more resources from the state government than the paltry $2.1 million that has been committed. That is simply not enough. It is way too expensive to simply try and resume land for millions of dollars and hope that deaths on roads and due to dogs will fall away. The 300 that die every year under the wheels of motor vehicles and the 100 that are killed by dogs is simply unacceptable.

These animals are almost effectively extinct in South-East Queensland. I know some of the scientific community have concerns, but what we need is to take some heed of the work being done in WA to protect the endangered woylie. We may well have to fence off the major roads, which are effectively killing fields for these animals. Being able to live together with the koala may only remain possible with some protection from these major byways and highways. We need to relocate koalas away from highly built-up areas. That romantic notion that we can live together with koalas may have to be revisited before it is too late. We may only have years to act, not decades, and I urge the state government and the federal government as well to step forward and provide resources for highway-side fencing.