$5 million to care for koalas in Sydney's South West

The NSW Government is delivering on its commitment to the koalas of south-western Sydney with $4.5 million in new funding to establish a koala care centre in the Macarthur region and $500,000 to support volunteer rehabilitators.

Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe visited Mack at the Wildlife Health and Conservation Hospital

The investment will boost the availability of expert help for injured and sick koalas in the region, which is home to a thriving koala population.

The koala care centre will be part of the Wildlife Health and Conservation Hospital on the Camden campus of the University of Sydney's School of Veterinary Science. This facility treats the majority of koalas which come into care in the Macarthur region.

Those koalas include Mack and Gage, who are today being released back into the wild at Wedderburn in south-west Sydney after being treated and cared for by staff and volunteers from the Wildlife Health and Conservation Hospital and WIRES.

Mack and Gage will be observed for a week in a small area of bushland to ensure they are climbing trees properly. Then they'll receive the green light to roam further afield.

The new funding will expand the hospital's capacity to support koala rescue, rehabilitation and conservation.

The facility will also benefit wildlife rehabilitation across the region with on-call vet care and advice, and access to facilities such as pre-release enclosures, upgraded clinical equipment and biosecurity seclusion areas.

The $500,000 to support the region's dedicated wildlife rehabilitators will be available via a grant program. The funding will support volunteers to continue their invaluable work rescuing and rehabilitating koalas.

This $5 million investment complements previous commitments to safeguard the region's koalas, including habitat protection, koala friendly crossings and vehicle strike mitigation.

The new koala care centre funding is in addition to the allocation of $3.5 million to support regional wildlife hospitals in other parts of New South Wales.

Further information about Mack and Gage:

Orphaned female joey Macklin was found with her mother at the base of a tree in Holsworthy in July 2023. Both were taken to the Wildlife Health and Conservation Hospital for assessment, but the mother couldn't be saved. Mack went into care with WIRES weighing just 555 grams. Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe visited Mack at the Wildlife Health and Conservation Hospital in September 2023 (photo in linked DropBox).

Orphaned male joey Gage came into care in October 2023 after his mother was hit and killed by a vehicle at Holsworthy. He weighed 985 grams when taken into care by WIRES.

Since being weaned, both Mack and Gage have been learning to climb and getting ready for release.


Quote attributable to Minister for Climate Change and the Environment Penny Sharpe:

'I have seen first-hand the important work carried out by the passionate and dedicated team at the Wildlife Health and Conservation Hospital, and I'm thrilled this funding will allow them to care for more koalas.

'I met little Mack at the Wildlife Health and Conservation Hospital in September when she was newly orphaned and being cared for by the excellent WIRES team. It's wonderful to see her strong and healthy as she returns to the wild.

'The NSW Government is committed to ensuring the survival of koalas like Mack and Gage in the wild, and the koala care centre will help through rescue, rehabilitation and eventual release. The region's wildlife carers are essential, and this grant will support their work.

'Safeguarding these koalas is vital. We want future generations to be able to step into bushland in south western Sydney and see koalas in the wild.'


Quote attributable to Member for Campbelltown Greg Warren:

'This $4.5 million koala care centre will benefit both the region's wildlife and our passionate and dedicated carers, with the help, care and expertise it will offer.

'The community is grateful to the region's wildlife volunteers who care so deeply for these special animals and the new south-west Sydney grants program will offer additional support.

'We are proud to be home to a thriving koala population.'


Images/vision: DropBox

Mack' (on right) with buddy Gage in the tree yard enclosure in preparation for their release back into their natural habitat  (March 2024)
Mack and Gage in tree