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Byron Shire
May 9, 2021

National Party ignores protection for koalas, wetland

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The National Party has a lot to answer for over West Byron and the protection of our koalas and wetlands.

Firstly they foisted West Byron on the community based on the false premise that it would only generate an additional 6,000 cars onto Ewingsdale Road when it was obvious this was a gross understatement. How could they allow this?

Now they are stopping needed protection for West Byron’s wetlands and koalas.

In late 2016 the NSW Government released their draft State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) on coastal management, which was meant to ‘ensure that future coastal development is appropriate and sensitive to our coastal environment’.

Regrettably they have sat on it for over a year. It should have given West Byron’s wetlands and the Belongil Estuary the recognition and assessment they deserve, and theoretically greater protection, including for the Wallum Sedge Frog.

In August 2016, after years of procrastination, Byron Shire Council resolved to submit its Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management to the Director of the Department of Planning and Environment for approval in accordance with the Koala SEPP 44. It is yet to be approved.

It recognises the koala habitat at West Byron as being core habitat that SEPP 44 requires to be protected. This is what our koalas need.

The National Party claim credit for introducing SEPP 44 in 1995 and 22 years later won’t let us achieve the protection it intended. Now the National Party seems to want to render the Coastal SEPP equally ineffective.

These delays seem intended to maximise the development on West Byron and the traffic this will entail.

I call upon the National Party’s local representative Ben Franklin to please explain why our koalas and wetlands are still denied the protection they urgently need.

Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay


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  1. Development before Koalas. Progress of the human race is the one and only consideration. We don’t live in an environment, we live in a state of continually urban development where nature must be erased for the ‘good’ of the human race. Yes, I am being totally sarcastic but it is a commentary of how the human species operates on this planet.

  2. After declaring a few fragments of coastal koala habitat as Endangered in NSW , the refusal to declare Port Stephens Koalas as Endangered is a flashing red light for the now fragmented and threatened populations in Eastern Australia
    Ted Fensom Koalas Against Clearing

  3. Just look to the south east Queensland example….that is where we’re headed. 20 years ago the koala population appeared viable, large and healthy. The area was self-promoting as the “Koala Coast”. Now is paved and urbanised, habitat fragmented, koala populations fragmented and isolated into increasingly smaller areas of non-connected habitat, their population numbers dangerously low and decreasing, to the point of non-viability and local extinction. Those remaining are affected by stress-related disease, dog attacks, and vehicles collisions.

    Same on the Tweed Coast where they are listed as an Endangered Population – koala habitat cleared and developed, full of dogs and cars, split by a freeway, with corridors removed, then repeatedly burnt by bushfire arson and escaped hazard reduction burns four times in seven years from 2002, and again by the RFS unnecessarily at Pottsville in 2015 ! And now North Byron Parklands wants to increase the frequency and size of events at their site bordering Billinudgel Nature Reserve on two sides, containing vital fragments of that population and rendering that habitat useless for weeks every year. Give them an OAM too !

    Koalas are not the only threatened species around – they just appear to be the only species people seem to care about yet pollies don’t seem capable of any meaningful actions to protect let alone save them despite all their talk and the mountain of scientific evidence.

  4. The Koalas that are at Pottsville in the Tweed Shire were moved there from Banora Point East many years past when the area was developed.
    Koalas just want trees that are there preferred variety to eat, they are totally unfussey and do not care where they live.
    Prime example is the colony that lives in the trees around the Pottsville Primary School, the children sit and eat there lunches below them. All the noise etc from the children playing does not seem to bother them.
    The biggest problem facing Koalas is of their own making, that is they have up to 4 or 5 partners during rutting season, hence the spread of chlamydia which eventually kills off the animals.
    If every animal was vaccinated the problem may well reduce. In a nutshell, Koalas are actually killing themselves off, not humans.

  5. What a crock Marianne Melnikas! Give me a break – left alone in the bush koalas will do just fine but when they interface with humans, their dogs, traffic and loud intermittent noise they succumb to stress-induced chlamydia. Yes it is spread sexually but without stress chlamydia remains dormant in their bodies.
    Just because koalas are at the Pottsville primary school does not mean they don’t care – it means we are in their habitat. They were here long before us.
    If koalas don’t care where they are why have 8 koalas (out of a very small population) died from stress-induced chlamydia at Black Rocks in the last 2-3 years? If this unsustainable level of death was caused by too much sex then they would have died out thousands of years ago.
    Clearly Marianne knows nothing of koala physiology or etiology of disease.
    Also vaccination deficiency is not the cause of chlamydia – we are!

    • Stress induced chlamydia. This is my point, Koalas are happy where ever they are provided they have a constant food supply. Chlamydia is the only thing that will wipe out Koalas if they are left out in the wild.
      Pottsville has received or is receiving a designated Koala protection area of around 107 hectares with specific chlamydia pens. Currumbin Sanctuary is assisting with vaccinating Koalas against chlamydia.
      I do know a fair amount for a non scientist or qualified zoo keeper.
      I do not adhere to the rabble that pray on the wider community who know absolutely nothing about Koalas other than they are furry, eat gums leave and sleep a lot.
      Give us all a brake and when you pay as much attention to the other animals that are struggling to survive in the wild such as bandicoots, echidnas, wombats and other, then you will be making the best sense.
      My backyard runs down to a designated wildlife reserve, we have made very sure there is a sufficient supply of natural food for animals and birds, the result being we have bandicoots amongst the rock hollows at the edge of our garden where is adjoins the reserve.
      To know what to do to create this type of environment takes time and research as well as consulting professionals. I do not listen to who-da-do-da-day from wanna be’s like yourself.


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