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Byron Shire
November 28, 2021

Koalas and Knitting Nannas demand action from no-show MP Page

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Koala supporters visited Ballina MP Don Page's office yesterday to protest the planned Pacific Highway route through at least three koala colonies. Photo Andrew Jennings
Koala supporters visited Ballina MP Don Page’s office yesterday to protest the planned Pacific Highway route through at least three koala colonies. Photo Andrew Jennings

Andrew Jennings

Dozens of protesters converged outside the Ballina office of National Party state MP Don Page yesterday calling for action on two pressing environmental concerns for the northern rivers region.

The Knitting Nannas Against Gas Ballina Shire (Ballinannas), who earlier in the day staged their own peaceful protest to highlight the potential impact of CSG mining in the area, later joined ‘Save Ballina Koalas’ protesters, petitioning to have the Wardell bypass section of the Pacific Highway upgrade reconsidered.

The koala protesters, led by Green Cr Jeff Johnson, called on Mr Page as local MP and minister for the north coast to demand that the RMS re-examine other highway options and move to protect this important wildlife corridor and habitat.

Cr Jeff Johnson told the crowd that Mr Page has ‘remained silent on this important local issue and that the RMS has chosen a highway route that’s been rejected by the community’.

He said: ‘the highway can be upgraded within the existing road corridor with bypasses of Broadwater and Wardell. A nationally listed species will be threatened if this proposal isn’t reconsidered’.

He added that Mr Page should ensure that the Blackhall Range is protected.

Environmental scientist Dr Effie Ablett backed Cr Jeff Johnson’s calls, stating that if the highway goes ahead through its intended route, ‘it’s very likely many of the 200 koalas living there will not survive the construction phase of the road and it could see the population wiped out’.

Protesters called on the RMS and the state government to accept the findings of the recent Ballina Shire Koala Habitat Study and move to reconsider other route options.

Despite the strong presence outside his electorate office yesterday, Mr Page failed to appear to address the protesters’ concerns.

The Echo contacted both Mr Page’s Ballina office and his ministerial office in Sydney for comment but had not received a response prior to publication.

Cr Jeff Johnson called on local communities to sign the koala petition or email/write to Mr Page, federal minister for the environment, Greg Hunt and NSW planning minister Brad Hazzard to change the proposed highway route.

On the same Page: koala supporters bond with Knitting Nanas outside Ballina MP Don Page's office yesterday. Photo Andrew Jennings
On the same Page: koala supporters bond with Knitting Nannas outside Ballina MP Don Page’s office yesterday. Photo Andrew Jennings

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  1. Why does this current state government have so much disregard for our threatened species and their habitat. Reported illegal logging by Forestry Corporation of NSW in Koala high use areas at Royal Camp, revoking marine parks that goes against best independent science, forcing CSG on communities where the majority say NO and now the RTA disregarding one of Australia’s iconic animals, the Koala. Any time a dignitary or celebrity they have a Koala shoved into their arms and a photo is taken for publicity. Yet they allow the destruction of their habitat and allow a vulnerable species to go extinct. Who voted for this mob should reconsider next time and use some common sense. Is there a way we voice a vote of no confidence in our elected representatives and call an election?

  2. I agree with the above writer, this state government seems to have no regard for our native Fauna and Flora at all. It is all about how cheap they can do the job and if that means going through a Koala colony that’s what they do.

  3. I think poor old Don’s asleep at the wheel again, You can rest assured he’ll be wide awake come election time, promising anything you can think of. The same goes for Geoff Provest & Thomas George, we’ll love you to bits at election, but when that little formality is out of the way I’ll regard you with disdain & I can’t be bothered talking to you on my office doorstep, Sickening isn’t it……………………….Wake up & vote for someone who will listen & act…………………………..

  4. Mmmm,
    Dear Don MP…
    Please stop acting out of greed and hysteria, like so many other politicians in Australia. What has happened? As corrupt as it used to be (and still is), at least past pollies stood up for what they believed. Whether Australians liked it or not. They said it, loud. And we knew what we were voting for.
    Now parliament is just made up of political junkies.. Addicted to… Parliament? No, couldn’t be.. Addicted to Murdoch’s glamouring (or the war against him)? Nah, couldn’t be…. What is it?
    You look like blabbering idiots. Your words are not from your heart. They’re not even formed in a sensical format.
    My advice: Say what you believe and if Australia likes it, at least you will know! Right now, you are hidden behind propaganda and scams and corruption and other hidden agendas (mostly to do with greed, not much to do with humanity or dignity or justice).
    Stand up for what is right for Australia in your eyes, and in your heart. If you don’t think it’s right, chances are most of Australia won’t either.
    But right now, Australia is confused. What do you believe, as a representative to the decision-maker, is right? And just? And a fair loss to a few for the greater community as a whole – not just a couple of mining magnates/engineering consultancies? You are the government. You decide on behalf of us. In the best interest of us, when we are ignorant and you are informed. Never the other way around.
    Remember that, next time you swear on oath to be what you are.


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