Gifted land to Port Macquarie Koala Hospital will assist with the facility's upgrade and ensure the continuation of its world-class care.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the gifting of land to the koala hospital during a visit to Port Macquarie on Tuesday (October 27).
"This gifting of state government land back to the koala hospital is on behalf of the people of NSW - it's not from the government or it's not from certain individuals - it's a gift from the people of NSW to protecting our much-loved species and acknowledging the great work that happens here," Ms Berejiklian said.
The land takes in the koala hospital footprint. The land gifting announcement comes ahead of the site's multi-million dollar redevelopment.
Ms Berejiklian said she hoped the gifting of the land was not just a symbolic gesture, but a real gesture to demonstrate the trust and faith the state government had in the koala hospital continuing to do its wonderful work.
The land gifting measure follows a $5 million state government grant, announced in 2019, towards a redevelopment to transform the koala hospital into a world-class tourist attraction.
The gifted land will enable the koala hospital to unlock the benefits of the $5 million funding.
The upgrade will provide a raised walkway through the trees, new rehabilitation and permanent resident koala yards, training, research and education spaces, a shop, koala museum and theatrette.
Meanwhile, the NSW Premier thanked the staff and the 160 volunteers for their efforts in making the koala hospital what it is today.
Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams echoed that thanks and acknowledged the koala hospital's role in research and tourism.
She described the land gifting announcement as an exciting milestone.
Mrs Williams said it would be a boost for the volunteers.
"It will inspire them to keep volunteering, to keep looking after our wonderful koalas and they just do an incredible job," she said.
Koala Conservation Australia president Sue Ashton thanked the people of NSW, on behalf of volunteers and staff, for entrusting the koala hospital with the care of the gifted land.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital clinical director Cheyne Flanagan said they were really pleased National Parks and Wildlife Service supported the change.
"It will make it a lot easier to do the new works and just easier for everybody," she said about the land gifting.
"We will 100 per cent look after it [the land] to the best of our ability forever."
Ms Flanagan said they wanted every visitor to become an ambassador for koalas.
"The more people understand, the more we can make positive change," she said.
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