A Ballina shire councillor is hoping to gain support today for a motion calling on either the state or federal governments to fund koala fences along local roads in Ballina shire.
Cr Jeff Johnson, a member of the Save Ballina’s Koalas group, has lodged a notice of motion asking that the council ‘urgently seek funding from the RMS or other NSW or federal governments to install koala fences on local roads in and around the identified nationally important Koala population.
Cr Johnson wants the council to liaise with the Friends of the Koala group to identify roads that need fences, and to investigate the cost of installing the fences, possibly with the council matching funding.
He said reported Koala road fatalities had increased alarmingly in and around the “Important Koala Population” area identified in the Biolink – Ballina Koala Study.
‘Numbers of reported fatal road kills was 2 in 2013, 3 in 2014 and 6 in 2015,’ Cr Johnson said.
‘The actual numbers are likely to be several times higher than these numbers as many injured animals will crawl into the bush and not be detected, particularly in these rural areas with few human residences.
‘There is concern that koala road hits have been under reported in the past, and that high levels of road hits may have been the norm in this area for many years.
‘This will have had an impact on the koala population and may be the reason for the low numbers of males compared to females in this area.
‘Ballina’s Koala Management Study identified Koala fencing as a key measure and now is the time to implement this important action.’
The Ballina community has been actively lobbying the state and federal government to implement measures to protect koalas in the Ballina shire area as planning continues for an upgrade of the Pacific Highway south of Ballina.
In August last year, Labor MLA Jodi McKay, presented a petition signed by 17,000 north coast residents calling on the government to re-route the new duplicated section of highway away from the Blackwall Range, which takes it right through the middle of the koala colony.
But the government has remained unmoved.
The Ballina council is meeting today to discuss this and a range of other issues.
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