It was with great surprise and sadness that I heard last week that the NSW government/RMS have been digging up Aboriginal sites for artefacts along the proposed Section 10 (Broadwater to Coolgardie) of the Pacific Highway Upgrade. In the year 2015, how can the NSW Government allow the RMS to destroy these sites and propose a highway deviation straight through the middle of Ballina’s largest and most important wildlife corridor and a nationally significant koala colony?
If there was no other option available then I could understand, but in this case, the RMS have never investigated widening the existing highway between Broadwater and Wardell, even though it’s the most direct route, would cost less money, and avoid the koala colony and Aboriginal sacred sites altogether.
The state government in its ‘balanced’ approach has valued marginal cane farmland beside the existing highway against all other factors (environmental, economic, cultural/social). While the owners of cane farmland adjacent to the highway can be generously compensated for any loss of land, our wildlife corridor (koalas) and Aboriginal sites can never be replaced or compensated.
A free concert and information day has been organised for Saturday May 23 at Missingham Amphitheatre from noon. This will be a family-friendly event with lots of local performers and a guest appearance by Kevin the Koala. Please come along and have some fun and find out how you can help save our iconic koalas and Aboriginal sacred sites.
Jeff Johnson, Save Ballina’s Koalas campaign coordinator