This article relates to the ongoing debate on Australian Rural & Regional News: Open for Debate: Koalas
David McPherson, Deputy Director General, Forestry & Land Reform, NSW Department of Primary Industries, 12 December 2022
The NSW Department of Primary Industries is ranked in the top 1 per cent of R&D institutes globally in the fields of agriculture, fisheries, forestry, biosecurity, environment, and ecology. Our scientific research is conducted to the highest technical standards of research design and methodology and is regularly cited and accepted for publication in top tier science journals around the world.
Dr Law’s work is no exception. Dr Law is one of Australia’s leading forest ecologists, with the sustained excellence of his research and distinguished service to Australian zoology recognised with his appointment in 2021 as a Fellow of the Royal Zoological Society of NSW. In the history of the Society there have been fewer than 100 Fellows elected.
As previously noted in these articles,* the more recent components of Dr Law’s koala research were undertaken as part of a program of scientific research oversighted by the NSW Natural Resources Commission. The Commission established an independent expert panel comprising koala and forestry experts to support delivery of a robust and scientifically credible research program funded through the NSW Koala Strategy. The panel comprises scientists from Deakin University (Dr Desley Whisson), University of Melbourne (Professor Patrick Baker) and Central Queensland University (Dr Alistair Melzer) (https://www.nrc.nsw.gov.au/koala-research).
The panel provided scientific review at all stages of the research, including design, implementation and its findings. The research projects undertaken were selected through a rigorous and open tender process, including independent assessment from the panel.
Criticisms of the scientific excellence or objectivity of the research undertaken by Dr Law are unfounded.
*Koala update: Brad Law; More on koala monitoring: Brad Law.
Related stories: Koala update: Brad Law; More on koala monitoring: Brad Law; NSW koalas and industrial logging of the public forest estate: Sue Higginson.