Ballina Shire councillor Jeff Johnson is calling for a part if the $1.1m dollars in bushfire funding that has been received by Ballina Shire Council to be spent on the local koala population.
‘Fortunately our community hasn’t experienced the same level of impact that some of our surrounding Council areas have experienced. However, the important environmental area surrounding Wardell has been devastated including the regionally significant koala population and the Northern Long-nosed Potoroo,’ he told Echonetdaily.
‘The construction of the Pacific Highway detour through the middle of this important koala colony and the recent fire has put the long-term survival of this important koala population in serious danger.’
The funding consists of $1m from the federal government and $100,000 from the state government and has no conditions attached.
‘In 2017 the Ballina Shire Koala Management Strategy was completed, however, most of the actions remain unfunded,’ said Mr Johnson.
‘We were lucky in Ballina and we only lost one building in the recent fires. However, the wildlife has areas have been devastated with some media reports that the Potoroo colony may have been completely wiped out.This is an opportunity to go forward with the Koala Management Strategy and fund all the key actions.’
Mr Johnson also said that part of the funding should be directed towards the Ballina Shires rural fire service.
‘A large proportion of the funding should also be directed to our local Rural Fire Services who have spent thousands of hours assisting with the fires threatening homes both in Wardell other areas of the Northern Rivers,’ he told Echonetdaily.
‘Our rural fire service volunteers have been heroic in their tireless efforts to help protect local properties and our wildlife corridors. Supporting them with equipment and if possible, better facilities is the least we can do.’
Mr Johnson will be moving a motion to this effect at next weeks Ballina Shire Council meeting on 27 February.
‘There is an urgency in determining how this money will be allocated and this motion seeks to confirm that environmental works in the Ngunya Jargoon Indigenous Protected Area (near Wardell) and the adjoining core habitat area for the regionally significant koala population and Northern Long-nosed Potoroo colony are a priority for part of the available funding.’