A media statement issued today by Justin Field, Independent NSW MLC and South Coast resident, in response to the National Party announcement and attack on the Koala SEPP said :
"The Premier and NSW Liberal MPs need to hold their line and call out the National Party's threat for the childish dummy spit that it really is.
"I am calling for South Coast MPs and Government Ministers Andrew Constance, Shelley Hancock and Gareth Ward to stand up for nature and Koalas. "They need to make their positions clear on whether, in a post-bushfire environment that destroyed so much South Coast wildlife, they support retaining these important Koala protections and staring down the National Party threats.
"This is just another ideological political attack on our environment by the National Party whose policies are destroying our rivers and forests.
“The Koala SEPP merely requires assessments of Koala habitat to be undertaken and, unlike the claims of the National Party, does not halt regional development in its tracks.
“I am certain the community across the South Coast expects this Government and South Coast MPs to vote to protect the Koala from extinction.
"In the middle of a pandemic and while our forests and wildlife are just starting to recover from bushfires, this political game by the Nationals is offensive.”
Adding his voice to the the National Party announcement regarding the Coalition and Koala SEPP. Nature Conservation Council CEO Chris Gambian said: “Wanting to retain the right to kill koalas is an extraordinary hill for the Nationals to want to die on, but here we are. “The departure of Mr Barilaro from the government benches could only be good news for nature, and I imagine his hot-headed, reckless voice won’t be missed from the joint party room. “The Nationals have dictated environmental policy to the Liberal Party and the whole state for a decade. “They’ve ramped up land clearing, defended feral pests, bungled water management, and intensified logging after the bushfires. “They have promoted extremist fringe ideas that have been debunked decades ago, like uranium mining and coal seam gas. “The koala policy is one small measure to ensure koalas don’t become extinct in NSW by 2050 “It is designed to give landholders more certainty and more information about critical habitat on their land. “People who have lived on the land for generations love the bush and share our goal of ensuring koalas survive and thrive into the future. “Mr Barilaro says he is for farmers and the bush but all of his actions show he is the mouthpiece of the minerals industry, multinational irrigation corporations and big agribusinesses.” The NSW Government is split on koala policy — this is why John Barilaro hates it The new SEPP for Koala Habitat Protection will be a guideline used by the NSW Government to determine if the iconic animals would be threatened if land was cleared for development. ABC News Yes, THERE ARE KOALAS on the South Coast. While the Currowan firestorm roared through East Lynne on 3rd December 2019, store owner Bede Cooper rushed up the Princes Highway rise near Livingstone Road turnoff desperately seeking a mobile phone signal.
Astonished, Bede was confronted by the sight of a kangaroo and a koala fleeing the flames as they headed east into Murramarang National Park opposite Boyne State Forest near the little gully south of the Roads and Maritime gravel depot.
“People thought I was mad when I told them,” said Bede.
Bede need not have doubted his sanity, because since that terrible day there has been more evidence of surviving koalas around his place.
Bede’s staff members reported koala roars at the store and at Donovan Creek Road for several nights in a row around May 8th. Dr Keith Joliffe explained to The Beagle that there have been rare but persisting reports of koalas around East Lynne for many years. “Combined with a Bodalla State Forest report after the January fire, this reminds us that a low density population is still alive in our Eurobodalla/Shoalhaven region and we shouldn’t despair about what the bushfires have done to its survival chances. The bush is coming back and now is a good time for Blinky Bill to find browse,” he said.
Locals are being encouraged to report sightings or other evidence that might help with research and conservation efforts. East Lynne is pulling its weight. The Pebbly Beach Wildlife Hospital has emerged from the disaster intent on developing a koala research hub and talking to adjacent landholders about a future joint sanctuary.
Sightings can be reported direct to National Parks and Wildlife Service, Forestry Corporation NSW or through the volunteer website eurokoalas.com.
Meanwhile citizen scientists from the Eurobodalla Koala Project have expressed optimism about future population revival after completing their latest habitat survey in Moruya State Forest.
In late August 2020, assisted by the local Forestry Corporation NSW ecologist, three volunteers analysed vegetation, soil, aspect, slope, fire impact and other koala habitat factors near Little Bumbo Fire Trail.
Organiser Dr Keith Joliffe said "We came away feeling very positive. Although the fire damage is severe, regrowth is healthy and the density of surviving trees isn't much different from before the fire. The plots were dominated by White Stringybark, Grey Ironbark and Smooth-Barked Apple with some Coast Grey Box, Yellow Stringybark and Blue-Leaved Stringybark mixed in. The trees are of a good size and are all significant koala browse species."
The group will do more surveys in Deua National Park and Dampier State Forest this year, spending Commonwealth grant funds locally as part of the region's fire and COVID-19 recovery effort.