The New South Wales Government has officially gazetted a new National Park in the hopes of protecting koala habitat in the state’s Southern Highlands.
- Guula Ngurra National Park means “koala country” to the Gundangara traditional owners
- The national park was first announced by the Government in February 2019
- Local environmental groups hope for news of another park in the Greater Macarthur housing development corridor
The new Guula Ngurra National Park is about 25 kilometres north-west of Bowral and 3,358 hectares in size.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the park played an important role in supporting koala habitat in the area.
“There have been two sightings in two particular areas within this area where koalas are living, but clearly it is not enough,” she said.
“We want to ensure that successive generations of people in our state don’t have to worry about koala extinction but more so increasing the koala population.”
Name reflects traditional owners
An official Welcome to Country was conducted by Gundangara elders Aunty Merle Williams and Aunty Sharyn Halls.
Ms Berejiklian said the name of the park had a special connection to country.
The area was first slated for protection a year ago after the State Government purchased Tugalong Station in February 2019.
The national park comprises the 2,148-hectare former Tugalong Station, the 402-hectare Little Forest West property and an 808-hectare outlier of Bangadilly National Park.
It also sits alongside 15 kilometres of river frontage along the Wingecarribee River gorge and the Wollondilly River.
Environment minister pledges more
Environment Minister Matt Kean said much more was needed to protect koalas in the state.
“This is just the beginning — we have a lot more to do.”
Saul Dean from the Total Environment Centre says while any additional national park space is welcome, the koala population in the area is in decline.
“Naming the national park the Indigenous name for Koala Country, Guula Ngurra, could be a little confusing,” he said.
“While there are koalas in this area their numbers, like so much of the state, are in decline and chlamydia is a big problem.”
More again please, Premier
Mr Dean said there was huge expectation around the NSW Government’s plan to protect the state’s only healthy and growing koala population in the proposed Greater Macarthur housing precinct.
“What we need for koalas to survive in NSW is the same again, please Premier, between Campbelltown and Wilton and that is why the Georges River National Park is so essential,” he said.