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Byron Shire
May 12, 2021

Residents say wildlife fence is a ‘death-trap’

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Residents are worried a wildlife fence is killing wildlife.. (File pic)
Residents are worried a wildlife fence is killing wildlife.. (File pic)

Residents living near the route of the Pacific Highway upgrade south of Ballina are outraged that wildlife will be killed as a result of poorly-designed wildlife fences.

Meerschaum Vale resident Suzanne Whiteman said residents in the area where upset that a new wildlife fence along Old Bagotville Road was a death-trap.

‘Some locals have observed wallabies caught on the road and smashing themselves against the fence trying to escape, another has seen three goannas trapped in the road,’ Ms Whiteman said.

‘They are scared with the vehicles coming up behind them, trying to get out but can’t. It’s just awful. How many injured wallabies have we got out there?.

‘The wallabies and goannas have entered the road where the fencing starts, and making it past the escape route near there, they have to go over a kilometre before the next escape route, if they don’t see it, they come to a cattle grid across the road, before an opening which they could get back into the bush.

‘The goannas wouldn’t go over the grid and wallabies could end up with broken legs if they get caught. This is just not good enough.

“There are trees right up against the fence which possums, gliders, and koalas could easily use to get over the fence and onto the road.

‘The area where the fencing is going is home to threatened Potoroos and Ground Parrots.

‘How many wildlife statistics do we have to record before the RMS does the right thing. It feels like we, the local community, have to be the enviro-police, to bring these things to the attention of the broader community to get some action. The frustrating thing is they are paying all these people to provide them with this advice.”

Another local resident, Debbie Clements of Buckombil Mountain said ‘this is just the beginning of the end for our wildlife, there is so much more to come, more fencing on Wardell Road, the existing Pacific Highway, compounds, batching plants, borrow sites, the alignment itself, with a  huge increase of traffic, up to 900 truck movements a day according to the RMS.  How are the animals suppose to move around with all this going on? The animals are already being displaced, disorientated and possibly, probably, injured. They have to be highly stressed, like the human residents living in the area, but no-one is monitoring this. No-one from the RMS cares’.

‘Now that they have flagged the area on Wardell Road that will be fenced, we can see that trees we know koala use will be cleared, and trees that they use they will no longer be able to get to. All this for a fence that’s suppose to look after the koalas, not stress them. Seems like I’m in a bad dream or reading the most depressing satire of all time. I don’t understand,’ Ms Clements said.

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  1. No surprises.

    The actions of the RMS all along our globally significant coast have caused and will continue to cause extinctions. These happen both immediately with roadkill and stress to wildlife and over coming generations as a result of immense habitat destruction and fragmentation that means that the adjoining areas of bushland and wildlife habitat are massively degraded.

    From the very outset the RTA/RMS has prioritised the clearance of bush and the destruction of biodiversity to upgrade the highway. There have been no real efforts made to avoid bushland and to minimise biodiversity loss.. We will all suffer the consequences of this in terms of loss of precious native species, degradation by weeds and declines in catchment and ecosystem health..

    So sad that in 2017 our society has chosen to build freeways right through the middle of some of our last great bastions of coastal biodiversity in the Richmond and Clarence Valleys. And it didn’t have to happen this way – there is so much cleared land out there to build the biggest roads that any engineer could possibly conceive of without the need to clear any bush or destroy any Aboriginal heritage.

  2. The RMS told me they always take the cheapest quote for tenders for fences and or nesting boxes and or ecologists. Regardless of quality. Its not wonder then we get poor results.

    My observations of the attitude or RMS to saving our wildlife and preserving bi diversity is that it is a very low priority for them

    • Thanks Tony EVERYTHING you say is so true – still NO response from the RMS re this FENCE
      Thanks to Darren Coyne and Echo Net for this story and support of the Community

  3. THANKS for the great article Darren Coyne – and nice to see Mark and Tonys comment – STILL NO REPLY or RESPONSE from the RMS – re the fence >>

  4. We bought a rural block backing onto the koala colony some 40 years ago. I have gained some understanding of them over those years. It saddens me that my grandchildren will not experience koalas in the wild like my children did.


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