The Nature Conservation Council calls on all state MPs to vote down a bill before the NSW Parliament that would exempt big agribusiness and property developers from koala protection laws in many circumstances.
The government’s Local Land Services Amendment Bill, which will be voted on this week, would prevent any further expansion of koala habitat protections into private farmland.
The bill is part of a deal between the Liberal and National parties to end an internal quarrel over koala protections that threatened the survival of the Coalition and the stability of the Berejiklian government.
“Nothing in this Bill helps ensure koalas survive beyond 2050. But it does mean property developers could bulldoze koala trees without needing an approval to do so,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.
“Basically the Nationals gave the Liberals a choice between saving the Coalition or saving the koala and they chose themselves.
“Let’s be clear. The bill before NSW parliament has nothing to do with legitimate farming issues or private forestry issues. There has been a Koala SEPP in place for years.
“We accept that we need to support farmers who have the care of important bush. For example, Councils should be funded to develop high quality Koala Plans of Management, and small family farms should have the cost of surveys covered by the State.
“The answer is not trashing the Koala regulations.
“The National Party signed off on the SEPP last year. No one raised an eyebrow. All NSW MPs should distance themselves from this nonsense.
“The people of NSW want to see a shared plan for how we live in balance with nature - protecting species and natural heritage whilst carefully using the natural resources nature has provided us with.
“This is a time for leadership, not political expediency.”