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Byron Shire
February 24, 2024

Cr Longland and Tweed Coast koalas

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If anyone wants an insight into Tweed shire Cr Barry Longland, they should read his letter to Echonetdaily of  22 February.

Why is Barry surprised that a petition is directed to him, when he has done more to threaten the Tweed Coast koala colonies than any other councillor?

We all knew how Shrek the Donkey and Princess Fiona would vote from the time they were elected. Likewise with the other two (it was three… ).  Barry, on the other hand, conned everyone. He supposedly stood for reasonable, responsible development – which in part meant protecting our koalas and wider environment. But in practice, he seems to have just chased a favourable headline.

He claims to have been ‘associated’ with ‘many koala protection achievements’.

Really? We all remember the years of campaigning for koala protection at Kings Forest – in particular for it to have a dog ban. When the chance came in 2012 for council to support a ban Barry voted against the measure.

It took another year and intense community pressure for the dog-ban measure to be considered again. This time Barry flipped back and voted for it in an appeal to the federal government on Kings Forest. Too little too late. We know how that ends.

He claims to have ‘launched’ the Koala Connections program, but that had nothing to do with Barry.

Years of work went into this initiative by individuals who used to work in Tweed Shire Council’s Natural Resources Management Unit. Sally Jacka deserves the credit. The scheme was later expanded with federal funding. Barry issued a press release. Thanks Barry.

The bottom line is that Tweed Coast koala numbers are crashing. So how well does Barry appreciate the seriousness of the situation? Read his letter. It’s like watching words commit suicide.

He breezes over the pressing issue of koala survival in the Tweed with a statement that is at best complete fantasy: ‘Prior to [this man] arriving on the Tweed, (2010) the good people of the lower Tweed Coast lived in complete harmony with koalas’.

Unfortunately, the seminal study says that in the decade prior to 2010 koala numbers on the coast had been reduced ‘to a level that was precarious’. (He must have a different definition of ‘complete harmony’ to me.)

He describes the Black Rocks koalas as being ‘stable’.  The study actually says the Tweed Coast koala population ‘remains at high risk of extinction’. The study uses the word ‘stable’ only in comparison to the other two koala populations on the coast which are crashing.

He then tries to defend his recent actions to remove a koala protection measure by creating a gap in the ‘koala-proof fence’ at Black Rocks.  This was against known best practice and against the advice of council’s own koala advisers. (This is Barry’s idea of koala ‘protection’, people.)

But the aspect that really shows the true Barry is his attack on ‘this man’ and making slurs about his motives. Even those who disagree with ‘this man’ have no doubt about the honesty and passion with which he presses his views.

Barry then complains about him ‘bombarding… council with claims of imminent extinction for the koalas of Black Rocks’?  What’s the problem, Barry? Council’s own study has a similar prognosis.

Finally, Barry’s petulance (David Keenan anyone?) is shown by foreshadowing a referendum of postcode 2489 as to their attitudes. Geez, Barry, you just don’t get it, do you? This is a Shire asset – in fact, a State and national asset. We all get to have a say.  Otherwise, someone from – oh, I don’t know – Uki? – wouldn’t have a right to say anything.

So why is it personal to you, Barry? Simple. It is difficult to identify any other person who will deserve more credit for the looming extinction of Tweed Coast koalas.  Get used to it.

T Clark, Nunderi

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  1. Exactly T Clark.
    Barry Longland’s strategy to play the man not the facts shows a lack of integrity, lowest form of debate…that is the mentality of the bully.
    Koalas must have protected wildlife corridors & local habitats to breed if they are going to beat extinction on the Tweed.
    Bet Barry wouldnt like random motor bikes cars dogs humans… coming into his yard every day. Lock the gate Barry!


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