New national park opens to protect koalas 'for future generations'

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service area manager Glenn Meade said the creation of Guula Ngurra National Park
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service area manager Glenn Meade said the creation of Guula Ngurra National Park "tremendous" news for the community. Photo: Emily Bennett

Important koala habitat will be protected for future generations with the creation of Guula Ngurra National Park.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the creation of the Southern Highlands park, gazetted on August 23, would secure the future of koalas in the wild.

"Koalas are an iconic Australian animal and national parks like this protect their habitat for future generations," Ms Berejiklian said.

"The Aboriginal traditional owners recommended we name this new national park 'Guula Ngurra' which translates to 'Koala Country' because of the importance of the habitat."

The NSW government has committed to a $44.7 million koala strategy, along with "a range of other practical measures to ensure the preservation of koala populations".

These steps include the creation of more than 24,000 hectares of new koala reserves and parks, fixing priority road kill hot spots, delivering a network of koala hospitals and developing a statewide koala habitat information database.

Other commitments include increasing wildlife care training for veterinarians and veterinary nurses, relocating koalas to unoccupied koala habitat and undertaking research to significantly reduce the incidence of chlamydia.

"The government will also consider the recommendations of the recent parliamentary inquiry into koala populations and habitat in NSW, particularly given the destruction caused by the recent bushfires," Ms Berejiklian said.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service area manager Glenn Meade said the news was "tremendous" for the community.

"It's an important link between our Blue Mountains National Park and Morton National Park," Mr Meade said.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the creation of Guula Ngurra National Park would be an important step to "securing the future of koalas in the wild". Photo: Emily Bennett

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the creation of Guula Ngurra National Park would be an important step to "securing the future of koalas in the wild". Photo: Emily Bennett

"On its own it's an area that's going to support community activities plus the local Aboriginal community, the skilled community and neighbours and friends in the Canyonleigh area.

"We've got an opportunity to bring people together on this park. Then look at rehabilitation options and bird watching options.

"From an Aboriginal cultural point of view, this area has got a very deep significance. It's part of the Dreamtime story."

Wollondilly MP Nathaniel Smith and Goulburn MP Wendy Tuckerman both said the new national park would be beneficial to the community.

"It's going to be excellent to try and generate a better habitat for koalas because we lost so many in the bushfires," Mr Smith said.

"It's a fantastic thing not only for my constituents but the whole of NSW and the nation to have such an important piece of land in our national park available for everyone to enjoy," Mrs Tuckerman said.

Environment minister Matt Kean said the new national park "sits alongside 15 kilometres of river frontage along the spectacular Wingecarribee River gorge and the Wollondilly River".

"This new national park is home to a staggering 139 species, more than 20 of which are threatened, including the koala, glossy black cockatoo, flame robin and squirrel glider," Mr Kean said.

"I also want to thank the local community and the Aboriginal traditional elders for working with us to create this new national park, which is home to several important cultural heritage sites."

The purchase was made possible due to a contribution by the NSW Environmental Trust.

Located about 25 kilometres northwest of Bowral, the 3358 hectare Guula Ngurra National Park comprises what was 2148 hectare Tugalong Station, the 402 hectare Little Forest West property and an 808 hectare outlier of Bangadilly National Park.

This story New national park opens to protect koalas 'for future generations' first appeared on Southern Highland News.