They were currently referred to as a vulnerable species; however, now across NSW, Queensland, and the ACT, they will be reclassified as endangered.
The marsupial was listed as a vulnerable species just 10 years ago in 2012 by former Environment Minister Tony Burke.
Environment Minister Sussan Ley stated that “The impact of prolonged drought, followed by the Black Summer bushfires, and the cumulative impacts of disease, urbanisation and habitat loss over the past twenty years have led to the advice,” she said.
However, an endangered listing does not create additional rules to protect wildlife habitat.
The upgraded status may generate greater focus on conservation and more rigorous assessment of project developments by the government.
As such, Ms Ley now wants Queensland, NSW and Victoria to sign up for a national recovery plan worth $50 million over four years.
Since 2001, koala populations in NSW have declined by between 33 and 61 per cent. At least 6400 died during the 2019/20 bushfires.