Australia's koala wars highlight deep split in government on measures to improve environment protection

A parliamentary report warned that koalas will become extinct by 2050 without "urgent" intervention to prevent habitat loss.
A parliamentary report warned that koalas will become extinct by 2050 without "urgent" intervention to prevent habitat loss.PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY -The Australian state of New South Wales faced an unusual political crisis last week in which the government almost collapsed due to a bitter feud over protecting koalas.

In what seemed a peculiarly Australian ordeal, the state's National Party threatened to effectively withdraw from the ruling Liberal-National Coalition over laws which safeguard koala habitats by increasing the number of protected trees from 10 to 65. The measures were introduced following a parliamentary report which warned that koalas will become extinct by 2050 without "urgent" intervention to prevent habitat loss.

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