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Koala to be classified as vulnerable in Australia

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10:30, May 02, 2012

CANBERRA, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke said Monday that koala in New South Wales (NSW), Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory will be classified as vulnerable under a protected listing.

Burke said koala numbers have dropped by 40 percent in Queensland and by a third in NSW over the past two decades.

The koala will be listed as vulnerable on the threatened species list following advice by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee.

"On a species as iconic as the koala, I really don't think I could have credibly said to the Australian people don't worry, you might not have any more left in Queensland the way things are going," he told reporters.

Burke said developers will have to account for the koala listing when making building applications.

"If someone wants to make a development there is a tougher hurdle as a result of a species being endangered," he said. "That is what environmental legislation is designed to do."

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