The Greens have attacked the NSW government's control of the Murrah Flora Reserve saying no strategic plan of management has been adopted and it is severely underfunded, claims denied by the government.
Will Douglas, Greens candidate for the seat of Bega, said the reserve was created to protect one of the state's most threatened koala populations yet in three years little had been done to conserve the animals or their habitat.
“The Murrah Flora Reserve, managed by National Parks and Wildlife Service, receives a paltry $110,000 a year from Forestry Corporation to manage over 40,000ha, 2000 of which is a major bushfire threat due to dense post-logging regrowth," he said.
“This is an enormous threat to both the koalas and to local community.
“The funding allocation is laughable. It barely covers one field officer position and a vehicle."
But Member for Bega Andrew Constance said the South Coast branch of NPWS was fully staffed.
"NPWS is managing the flora reserves for fire and there is a full fire management plan," he said.
"Suggesting this is not the case is needlessly spreading alarm in the local community."
Also, a NPWS spokesperson said the 12,000ha reserve between Tathra and Bermagui was managed under a working plan, the equivalent of a plan of management.
They said the service was finalising the next plan for the reserve, which was awaiting consultation with the Aboriginal boards of management for Biamanga and Gulaga National Parks..
"The primary purpose of the reserve is to protect koala habitat and extend the protection of a natural and cultural landscape incorporating Biamanga and Gulaga National Parks," they said.
Mr Douglas said his party wanted to include the reserve in the neighbouring Biamanga park, "as was always the goal of traditional owners".
“The government must immediately increase funding for the reserve and provide sorely-needed research into managing the koalas and the dire threat from bushfire they face," he said.
“The Greens want to see this vulnerable koala population thrive in the care of traditional custodians.
“Anything less is a betrayal of the koalas and a betrayal of future generations.”
The NSW government’s Saving Our Species Iconic Koala Project provided $144,515 in funding over the past three years to support ongoing koala conservation in the South East Coastal Forests area, including habitat restoration trials to improve the regeneration of koala tree species and koala monitoring.