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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Award a joke when Tweed’s koala protection is wanting

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How bizarre that Tweed Shire Council would win a local government Excellence in the Environment Award for their Tweed Coast Koala Plan of Management (KPoM), yet in the same week their Tweed Coast Koala Habitat Study (TCKHS) revealed that coastal koalas are in severe decline.

This study claims the decline is only temporary, what a stunning prediction! In spite of increasing human population and developments, diminished koala habitat, permanently fractured corridors, more dogs and cars, somehow this decline is only temporary? Seems like a fairytale version of reality to me. Does council think that their koala tree planting will lure koalas back from the dead?

Perhaps the local government did not read renowned koala expert Dr Steve Phillips’ submission on council’s Draft Comprehensive KPoM which he said does not contain the bold recovery-oriented actions necessary to prevent koala extinction.

In fact, council’s shiny new KPoM does not even apply to one of the last remaining ‘stable’ koala cells at Black Rocks/Pottsville Wetlands. Black Rocks koalas have their own Independent KPoM which is 10 years old, out of date and many of its recommendations were never implemented by council.

How incredibly sloppy of council to neglect giving these koalas the most basic protection under the KPoM when koala populations are plummeting!

Council passed a motion in May 2015 requiring a population study of Black Rocks koalas yet this was waived with a magic wand because the TCKHS covered it, even though there were no credible population estimates in that study (estimated 24-264 koalas left on the Tweed coast).

At that same council meeting a report was commissioned on how to stop hooning at Black Rocks. The solution? A few more bollards. These bollards are at an angle meaning council mowers have to reverse constantly to get around them meaning a lot more noise for koalas on the access road.

Koalas need 18-20 hours sleep every day. These koalas are already suffering from chronic sleep deprivation from too much human-related noise and general disturbance. Sleep deprivation leads to a lowered immune system which brings out chlamydia which kills them, slowly.

Black Rocks lost at least four koalas to chlamydia in the last two years with another two chlamydia cases found in December 2015. They are certainly dying faster than they are reproducing.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that koalas will become extinct on the coast under council’s ‘watch.’ And no, they don’t deserve any awards.

The Tweed Coast KPoM is a useless piece of paper and the award shows how deeply entrenched apathy, neglect and incompetence is in state and local governments.

Council is masquerading as a magnificent and stately emperor due to all the accolades but unfortunately he is dressed in raiment of fantasy and delusion so easy with those with eyes to see through.

Menkit Prince, Uki

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