Over seventy (70) concerned locals gathered in Lismore last night to hear about NSW’s looming koala crisis and sent a big ‘thumbs down’ to reject the NSW Government’s recently-released Koala Plan, including Greens MP Dawn Walker, environmental lawyer, Sue Higginson, Greens MP for Ballina, Tamara Smith and respected koala ecologist, Dr Steve Phillips.
“The Liberal-National Government’s Koala Plan is largely a con-job that doesn’t address the root causes underpinning the crash in koala numbers across NSW” said Dawn Walker, NSW Greens MP.
“The Government's Koala Plan fails to end the destructive logging of our native forests, fails to wind back habitat clearing laws that are decimating koala habitat on private land, and fails to establish a Great Koala National Park in the Coffs Harbour hinterland where 20% of NSW’s wild koalas are being harmed by logging operations.
“While the Greens welcome the additional funding for koala care centres, we are alarmed that the few new reserves that the Government has said they will create are too small, degraded and most likely bits of land that the logging industry has said they no longer need, rather than any genuine attempt to strategically protect high priority koala habitat.
“The Koala Plan is designed to make it look like the Government is acting to protect koalas, but the North Coast community can see the sham for what it is” said Dawn Walker MP.
“The NSW Koala Plan is one of the most disappointing documents I’ve ever read and the community is right to be outraged given the massive loss of vital koala habitat that will continue across NSW under this so called ‘plan’” said Sue Higginson.
“As a marginal seat, the Lismore electorate has tremendous power to send a message to the Liberal-National State Government that they want an end to destructive logging in our native forests and strong protections for our koalas at the upcoming state election in March 2019.
“The Lismore and Ballina electorates saw an end to coal seam gas mining in our region by voting Green in massive numbers at the last State election. We know that this community cares with recent polling by the National Parks Association revealing that approximately 70% of our community want new National Parks to protect wild koalas.
“When people vote Green, the politicians in Sydney listen and we need to do the same thing to ensure the protection of our wild forests and precious koalas” said Sue Higginson.