The NSW Government is investing $4.5 million to establish a koala care centre in south-western Sydney’s Macarthur region and $500,000 to assist volunteer rehabilitators.

This initiative aims to provide expert care for injured and sick koalas, including Mack and Gage, who are being released into the wild after receiving treatment.

In July 2023, orphaned female joey Macklin and her mother were found at the base of a tree in Holsworthy. Both were taken to the Wildlife Health and Conservation Hospital for assessment, but sadly, Mack’s mother couldn’t be saved. Mack went into care with WIRES, weighing 555 grams.

In October 2023, orphaned male joey Gage came into care after his mother was hit and killed by a vehicle at Holsworthy. He weighed 985 grams upon admission to WIRES.

Since then, both Mack and Gage have been learning to climb and preparing for release.

They will now 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.

Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, Penny Sharpe said, “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.”

The new care centre will be located at the Wildlife Health and Conservation Hospital on the Camden campus of the University of Sydney. The funding will expand the hospital’s capacity for koala rescue, rehabilitation, and conservation efforts, benefiting wildlife rehabilitation across the region. Additionally, $500,000 will support the region’s wildlife rehabilitators through a grant program.

“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,” Member for Campbelltown Greg Warren said.

This investment complements previous commitments by the NSW Government to protect the region’s koalas, including habitat preservation and measures to mitigate vehicle strikes.

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 NSW.