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Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

MPs hear of Cudgen fires

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The issue of investigating the fires that destroyed koala habitat in around the Cudgen Nature Reserve last weekend was raised in state parliament yesterday.

But it seems MPs were unaware police have already launched a probe into the fires.

Labor’s north coast spokesman MLC Walt Secord asked police minister Mike Gallacher whether police would investigate ‘in light of comments this morning by Rural Fire Service inspector Ben Shepherd that a weekend fire near one of the Tweed’s rare remaining koala habitats adjacent to the 4,500 house Kings Forest development appeared to be deliberately lit’.

Mr Gallacher said it was an operational matter and one for police to say what they were investigating, not politicians.

Mr Secord said afterwards that ‘this is a very important issue and we must be protect the few remaining koalas on the north coast’.

‘In the Tweed there are three known koala colonies. They are at Round Mountain at Cabarita, Pottsville’s Koala Beach, and the largest one is near Kings Forest, which is now the subject of a major development. Official Tweed koala numbers have been reduced to below 140,’ he said.

On a recent visit to the Tweed, Mr Secord met with Team Koala to discuss their efforts to protect the koala, which its members believe will be adversely affected by the Kings Forest development.

‘This is an 870-hectare project that would see 4,500 houses built over the next 20 years. Many of the koalas live in or roam around surrounding bushland. There are 64 koalas on the subject site alone.’


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