THE COALITION GOVERNMENT’S Local Land Services Amendment Bill endangers koalas and scuppers any hope the government will achieve its goal of doubling koala populations by 2050.
The bill passed the NSW lower house yesterday [21 October 2020] and is scheduled to be debated in the Legislative Council in November.
“If this bill passes, developers and big agribusiness will be free to destroy koala habitat in nine out of 10 council areas across NSW where koalas are likely to occur,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.
“The bill not only limits koala protection laws to a tiny portion of the state, it rules out ever extending those protections into new areas where they are desperately needed.
“If passed by members of the upper house, this law will allow property developers to bulldoze koala trees and subdivide some of the best koala forests left in NSW to create hobby farms and suburbs.
“Just weeks ago Liberal MPs and the Premier stared down Deputy Premier Barilaro over koala protections.
“To now vote for a massive weakening of the laws is a disappointing back down.
“Currently, the koala SEPP only applies in six of the 88 council areas where koalas are likely to occur.
“The changes mean genuine efforts to protect koalas on private land will be limited to those areas.
“The government needs to urgently tell the people of NSW how it will ensure koala feed trees and habitat will not be lost because of a careless lack of regulation of land clearing.
“We call on members of the Legislative Council reject this bill so our koalas have a fighting chance of living beyond 2050.”