Koalas face extinction in New South Wales as early as 2050: report

Concerns have been raised about the potential extinction of NSW's koala population.

Koalas have lost more than 5000 hectares of habitat in northern New South Wales because laws protecting native vegetation were cut, according to a report.

The report of the wildlife conservation group WWF and the NSW Nature Conservation Council found that since the repeal of the State's Native Vegetation Act in 2017, the rate of cutting of native forests in Moree and Collarenebri has almost triplicate.

The government of New South Wales replaced the law with controversial codes approved by law that allow landowners to clean sections of native shrublands without prior environmental assessment.

The NCC and the WWF compared satellite images of 22,173 km2 of land around Moree and Collarenebri for the report, which was published on Friday.

The extensive clearing of the koala habitat is "detrimental" to popular species that are considered vulnerable to extinction, said WWF-Australia conservationist Stuart Blanch.

He warned that koalas faced extinction in New South Wales as early as 2050 with 5246 hectares of koala habitat around the two farming communities destroyed between mid-2017 and mid-2018.

"We have to stop this excess of logging if we want to keep the koalas alive in the wild for future generations," Blanch said in a statement on Friday.

NSW NCC executive director Kate Smolski said the report was only the "tip of the iceberg," since it only considered a fraction of the state.

She blamed the state government for "opening the floodgates" to the destruction of the koala forests.

The report also found that almost 7,000 hectares of habitat for the honeyeater painted on the vulnerable list were destroyed in the same area.

The Environment Department of NSW said it would investigate any report of illegal land clearing and noted that it has an "effective" regulatory compliance program where all potential infractions are evaluated.

A department spokesman said the new laws have established tougher penalties for illegal clearing and damage to species threatened with Local Land Services that work with the farming community to help him understand the changes.

Land clearing laws have been challenged twice in the Land and Environment Court of NSW by the NCC.