After examining the plight of koalas around Bangalow, and the battle to save them, NSW Labor Senator Jenny McAllister believes governments need to do more to secure the future of the endangered animals.
And she has praised the work of the group Bangalow Koalas, which she says could be used as a template to help stabilise koala populations in our region.
The local koala populations around Byron Bay, Bangalow and the hinterland are under serious threat.
Bangalow Koalas, organised by Bangalow business-woman Linda Sparrow, is one group taking the issue into its own hands and trying to get on with the job of protecting the koalas that are left.
The group works with local landholders to plan and plant koala corridors, coordinate the recording of koala sightings, and perform koala rescues.
Bangalow Koalas is working with volunteers and shaking the donation can at the local markets, but they need government to get on board so they can make the most of the community support they have built.
Asren Pugh, Labor candidate for Ballina, organised a briefing on the group’s work for NSW Senator Jenny McAllister who, having grown up in Murwillumbah, is no stranger to the plight of our local koalas.
Ms Sparrow, gave an overview of the work Bangalow Koalas is doing and showed the senator a corridor of koala feed trees the group recently planted along Rifle Range Road in Bangalow.
Senator McAllister said that at the same time northern that NSW koala populations are under pressure, ‘both state and federal Liberal/National governments seek to water down laws that protect native animals and their habitats’.
‘We can’t sit this one out, out koalas are too precious to lose!’
‘I was very excited to get the opportunity to see the wonderful work being done by Bangalow koalas. It certainly seems like a model that could be replicated in other communities across NSW. I hope to be able to work with Asren and my state Labor colleagues in government to protect these beautiful animals,’ Senator McAllister said.
Mr Pugh said he was ‘in awe of the work that Linda and her team of dedicated volunteers have done to try to save and protect our local koalas’.
‘Koalas are nationally significant and it is essential that governments at all levels get behind the sort of work that Linda and Bangalow Koalas are doing.’
‘I’m glad I was able to give Senator McAllister the opportunity to see their work and for Labor to be able to work at a local, state and federal level to support community action to save our koalas.’ said Mr Pugh.
‘The National Party are failing our koalas. It is time to kick them out and give our koalas a chance,’ he said.