A $600,000 investment to support an Aboriginal koala habitat conservation project is being delivered as one of the first actions in the NSW Koala Strategy.
Minister for Environment James Griffin said the project with the Gumbaynggirr community applies cultural lessons from traditional owners.
"The traditional custodians of this land intrinsically understand how to care for their Country," Mr Griffin said.
"It makes sense for the NSW Government to be working with Aboriginal communities like Gumbaynggirr to strengthen our existing conservation efforts with their traditional knowledge.
"Aboriginal communities throughout New South Wales have a strong role to play in protecting and conserving the long-term health of koalas and their habitat."
The $600,000 from the NSW Koala Strategy will support the Coffs Harbour and District Local Aboriginal Land Council to integrate traditional ecological knowledge into koala conservation.
The project, known locally as Gumbaynggirr Darruyay Dunggirr Jagun Mangga-Bayilaygam, will support habitat restoration, cultural burning in key koala locations, Aboriginal research projects and the development of cultural training for Aboriginal Rangers.
Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said the region is home to rich habitat and this funding would help ensure koalas can survive and thrive for generations to come.
"Coffs Harbour is leading the way when it comes to protecting the future of this iconic species and I am proud that we are continuing to support local Aboriginal knowledge in our conservation efforts," Mr Singh said.
"Traditional custodianship of precious habitat here and elsewhere in the state will make a huge contribution to the success of the NSW Koala Strategy."
Coffs Harbour and District Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO Chris Spencer said Indigenous communities hold knowledge that can help inform conservation work.
"As an example of the value this project offers, our first workshop examined the creation story of the Dunggirr Gagu, or Koala Brothers," Mr Spencer said.
"Woven within this story are cultural protocols and lore that can be used to create a framework for ecological management and monitoring processes for koalas and other species that share their habitat."
The $193.3 million NSW Koala Strategy is the largest investment by a government in koala conservation, with more than 30 actions, including habitat conservation, community partnerships, koala health and safety, science and research.