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Byron Shire
October 20, 2021

Deforestation changing voters’ minds on North Coast

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Coalition government changes to land-clearing laws that are pushing koalas towards local extinction could result in two key seats changing hands at the next state election, a ReachTEL poll has revealed.

Commissioned by the Nature Conservation Council and the Wilderness Society, the poll shows that 57.9 per cent of voters surveyed in the electorate of Lismore, 62.8 per cent  in Ballina and 65 per cent in Tweed believe that habitat loss from deforestation is the biggest threat to koala populations in NSW.

And, it suggests, many are willing to act on those sentiments – changing their vote to parties that favour our wildlife.

If replicated on election day, the poll suggests that Greens MP Tamara Smith will likely retain her seat of Ballina. The Greens could also take Lismore from the Nationals while Labor appears likely to win Tweed from sitting MP Geoff Provest.

Voting intentions

In all, 71 per cent of voters support stronger laws to end deforestation and 56.6 per cent of voters are more likely to vote for a party that commits to ending deforestation.

Asked for their voting intentions, in two-party preferred terms, voters interviewed gave the Greens a 55 per cent preference in Ballina and 52 per cent in Lismore, while Labor has a 55 per cent preference in Tweed.

NCC CEO Kate Smolski said, ‘We wanted to see what level of awareness there was in the community and the results speak for themselves, 71 per cent of people want stronger laws to end deforestation.

‘These results confirm that people absolutely love koalas and they understand that deforestation is driving them towards extinction. It also shows people expect the NSW Government to do everything it can to ensure koalas can thrive in our forests for generations to come.’

Koala numbers plummeting

Wilderness Society National Director Lyndon Schneiders said, ‘Koala numbers are plummeting in NSW. A third of the koala population has been wiped out in NSW in just 20 years, and their numbers are continuing to decline in most parts of the state.

‘Two drivers of the decline in numbers are deforestation and logging. It’s time we stopped clearing and logging koala habitat immediately rather than applying Band-Aid solutions.

‘Deforestation rates have escalated in NSW, and Eastern Australia is now a global deforestation hotspot. We need new and powerful laws that work to turn this around.’

The survey was conducted using an automated telephone-based survey of 1,981 voters from the three electorates.

 

 


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5 COMMENTS

  1. I certainly would not vote for a goverment that keeps clearing tree and putting wild life at risk. We do love our koalas and wild life, but as usual it is the amighty dollar comes first with the government.

  2. In 2016 the Tweed Coast local koala population was listed as ‘endangered’ by the NSW Scientific Committee, ie at very high risk of extinction in the near future. Experts are predicting that koalas will be extinct in NSW by 2050. The political party which has a longstanding track record of standing up against deforestation and for protection of our threatened species and their habitat is the Greens.

    The best hope our koalas will have at the next election is for the Greens to have strong representation in Parliament. Greens MP Tamara Smith has worked tirelessly during her term in office to get better outcomes for the environment. If elected, former Environmental Defenders Office Principal Solicitor and Greens candidate for Lismore, Sue Higginson, has the credentials and the political will to strengthen environmental legislation. The Greens candidate for Tweed, Bill Fenelon is a powerhouse of passion, energy and vision for a better future for all of us.

  3. In 2016 Labor Councillor Reece Byrnes voted to issue a licence that allowed a men’s shed to be built at the Black Rocks sports field against the opinion of leading koala expert Dr Steve Phillips, whose report to the Environmental Defenders Office concluded that ‘there is strong likelihood of a significant impact on the Pottsville Wetlands – Black Rocks local koala population if the proposed action (men’s shed at Black Rocks) was to proceed’.

    How can we trust Labor to protect our koalas when they ignore the advice of the experts?

  4. Reece Byrnes (Labor) also voted in favour of granting ex Labor Minister Jack Hallam a water mining license on his private property in Uki. We can’t trust Labor or the Nationals to look after our beautiful environment, so I’m voting Green!

  5. Australia’s shame! Animal Cruelty in Australia is a National Disgrace.
    The Koala Is Heading Towards Extinction and New South Wales Is Doing Nothing to Save It.
    “ Australia is nothing without the wildlife” Animals are the helpless victims of Power-Hunger, Greed, Corruption, Arrogance, Ignorance, Selfishness and Savage Cruelty”.~ IL

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