NSW Greens MPs Dawn Walker and Dr Mehreen Faruqi inspected the site of the controversial Black Rocks sports field in Pottsville this week to hear from local community members and to call for the Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW and Labor’s Shadow Minister for the North Coast to join the Greens and ensure the survival of the endangered Tweed Coast koala population.
“The Pottsville koala colony at Black Rocks is part of an endangered population on the Tweed-Byron Coast with fewer than 100 individual koalas left. The situation is urgent with scientists predicting that Tweed Coast koalas will be extinct by 2025-2030” said Greens North Coast spokesperson, Dawn Walker.
“The Black Rocks koala colony is critical to the survival of the koala on the Tweed Coast, yet Labor and the Nationals have joined forces to allow this highly sensitive area to be used by noisy model airplane enthusiasts, sporting groups and a men's shed when there are better sites closer to the Pottsville town for these activities that won’t disturb our sensitive koalas.
“We're concerned that local sports users are being used to push for bigger plans to open up area to further development, as Pottsville faces increasing urban pressure.
“The Greens are calling on the Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW, Ben Franklin and Labor’s Shadow Minister for the North Coast, Walt Secord to stop just talking about koalas and actually intervene to save this endangered koala population” said Dawn Walker.
Greens Environment spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi joined calls for the site to be protected.
“Across NSW koalas are facing unprecedented threats. Koala numbers are plummeting and here on the North Coast there has been a huge decline over the last twenty years.
“Local communities shouldn’t be forced to choose between recreational facilities and having a local koala population. With creative thinking and resources, Pottsville can have both. We need to find solutions that meet community needs and protect prime koala habitat like this wildlife corridor in Pottsville.
“It’s time to get serious about koala conservation. We are looking at potential localised extinction of koalas in this area.
“If Labor and the Nationals want any credibility when it comes to protecting koalas in NSW, they’d get behind the community campaign to revegetate this precious wildlife corridor and find an alternate site for sports users in Pottsville” said Dr Mehreen Faruqi.