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July 6, 2022

Ballina Greens Cr hopes of koalas as ‘priority’ unlikely to be met under bureaucracy

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Koalas have made it onto the second Ballina Shire Council meeting agenda for 2022, with new Greens Councillor Simon Chate calling for their habitat to become an immediate priority.

The recent official reclassification of Australia’s Eastern koalas as endangered meant it was ‘critical’ the council did ‘everything’ possible to ensure the species ‘health and longevity’, Cr Chate wrote in his notice of motion for this week’s ordinary council meeting agenda.

Cr Chate quoted scientific projections of NSW koalas’ likely extinction by 2050 and said the council needed ‘to act now – not in five years – not in three’.

The Greens councillor told The Echo he’d heard 30 – 40% of Ballina’s koala population had been lost since the Black Summer bushfires.

‘On the day of the local government election last year a couple of koalas, a mother and a baby, walked through the polling booth area at Rous Public School,’ Cr Chate said, ‘and I thought to myself “I’m gonna try to see what we can do to protect you”’.

‘It’s important that we stop just cutting away habitat,’ Cr Chate continued, ‘deaths by a thousand cuts is still deaths’.

The Greens councillor is calling for the council to declare preservation and protection of the shire’s koala’s population a priority.

But judging by staff notes in response, unless their associated work can be expediated, the urgency Cr Chate wants employed for koalas seems as likely to happen as the government urgency that has countered the region’s declared housing crisis.

Chate calls for 10-15% expansion of Ballina koala habitat by 2024

Cr Chate’s motion as displayed on the council’s website Tuesday morning included six parts.

Cr Chate wants council staff to report on current actual koala habitat in the shire compared to mapping in the council’s most recent koala management plan and for protection and expansion of that land to be prioritised in the council’s biodiversity strategy.

Perhaps the most ambitious part of Cr Chate’s motion is a target for increased koala habitat in the Ballina Shire: Cr Chate has suggested 10-15% ‘within the course of this electoral cycle’.

Given the most recent local government elections were delayed but the 2024 election date hasn’t so far been postponed, the current council term – or ‘electoral cycle’ – is expected to last around two years instead of the usual four.

Cr Chate told The Echohe was looking at the ‘slightly longer picture’ but it was ‘really important’ the council didn’t let habitat shrink.

Another 15 months of bureaucratic work expected before Ballina has a biodiversity strategy

Cr Chate’s target could further be challenged by another motion up for debate in this week’s meeting concerning residential zoning in Alstonville.

As part of the council’s Alstonville Strategic Plan 2017 – 2037, new housing opportunities were named as a goal, leading to a recommendation for certain low density areas to the south-west of the Alstonville commercial centre to be rezoned as medium density.

It’s unclear what, if any, impacts the zoning change would be expected to have on koala populations in Ballina.

One of Cr Chate’s other ideas as listed in his motion is for the council to consider incentives for land holders to set aside land for the expansion of wildlife and especially koala habitat.

Staff have written in response that the idea is already part of the planned biodiversity strategy.

Staff notes on Cr Chate’s motion said they were still in the ‘scoping and background documentation phase’ of the council’s pending biodiversity strategy and that they expected the document to take up to fifteen months to finish.

Cr Chate told The Echoincluding koalas in the biodiversity strategy as a priority was ‘a no-brainer’.

‘Maybe what we can do now is look at what aspects of that priority won’t be impacted by the biodiversity strategy so we don’t have to wait 12-15 months,’ Cr Chate said.

Referring specifically to koalas, staff wrote that while the council already had a koala management plan, a review of koala habitat in the shire could happen but would probably take ‘at least several months’.

The Echo has requested an interview with someone from the council in relation to Cr Chate’s motion.


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13 COMMENTS

  1. Great work Councillor Chate, but I think you may be outvoted re your concerns for IMMEDIATE KOALA HABITAT PROTECTION. The locals voted for a conservative do nothing Nats council (overall) & thus lies the problem. The massive development at Lennox is just yet another example of denial & homo centric demands. Everywhere we look locally we see vital habitat being destroyed & this impacts upon ALL wildlife, not just our endangered Koalas. The recent listing needed to be made some 40 ysr ago, ALL the signs & science was there. The damn LNP don’t even support the Great Koala National Park on our east coast Oh derrrr. Now throwing some money at Koala rehab /hospitals is NOT going to save our beloved Koalas. No amount of money can achieve this, ONLY HABITAT PROTECTION can give Blinky ANY hope. Sadly, the action required ie: STOP native forest logging & STOP the destruction of prime core Koala habitat to build more suburbia is not gonna happen?? Unfortunately wildlife don’t vote, so the same crap within this Govt (state & Federal) will continue & the SPIN (lies) will continue & mediocrity overall will believe it….I despair 🙁

    • Despair ! Yeah.
      Those of us old enough to bear witness to the relentless and rapidly accelerating environmental train-wreck, do despair. After sixty years of trying every avenue to raise awareness of the irreplaceable treasures we are losing and have lost, sacrificed on the alter, dedicated to the convenience of fast-food, fast bucks and free-ways, agonising despair is absolute .
      The young , though, have no concept of what we have stolen from their experience of what was their rightful inheritance, and now only have the torture of enduring the Global collapse of that once magnificent life-support system, that we squandered for a few pieces of silver.
      I wonder where Chate , and everyone else for that matter, were when that Highway 1, non-essential ‘up- grade’ ploughed through the last bastion of Koalas ,emus and coastal environment in NSW between Woolgoolga and Ballina.
      DESPAIR ? Total disgrace, Anyhow , G”)

  2. By the year 2000 snow falls will be a thing of the past.
    By 2020 their will be no more glaciers.
    Greta says the earth will be uninhabitable by 2032 so the Koalas will be long gone before 2050.

    The biggest enemy of Eco-Oricles are old people with good memories.
    After 40 years of this crap without the real world changing, we simply stop listening, and start talking.

      • I can’t prove they aren’t for the same reason you can’t prove they are. If they couldn’t be counted before and can’t be counted now…
        Your guessing.

    • What are you rambling about Chris, challenged by a teen age girl? I remember your the one who only reads parts of articles and books like Tim Flannery’s. I’m sure you know the difference between climate and weather. Anyway current council is not going to do anything as dominated by NATs in disguise except support the building of another koala hospital to show they care. Look at their old leaders comment “ tree rats” and protecting feral animals. Depressing .

      • Previous predictions of doom that never happen. I’ve lost count of everything the eco scientists have said on the TV before demanding more money. When nothing happens, they say the science is better now but we need even more money. You’ll see.

    • It’s not just Greta, Sir David Attenborough has been warning the same for decades now based on his lifetime observing & documenting the “real world”.
      Maybe you old people with good memories need to get some younger people to take you out into that “real world” to show you how much has changed since you don’t seem able to recognise it yourself.
      In particular, how a changed climate has already changed the real world of your middle age, & unrecognisably so from the real world of your childhood. Facts now reluctantly acknowledged by even such renown climate sceptics as Scotty from Marketing….or has your good memory failed you on that too?

      • I was like you once. As doomsday dates pass in your life time, you will realise you have been scammed. But there are always new predictions for far off dates, nothing is done to prevent them, they just never happen. Imagine my surprise when I found out it had been going since long before I was born.

        • Nothing to do with your doomsday dates. Nor about your ridiculous bullsh*t claim of scientist demanding more money. It’s all about facts & science. Are you really that blinded by your ideology or that thick that you cannot see or accept the massive impacts humans have had on our environment? Locally & globally.

    • Chris you have been misinformed, the US oil for instance has revealed they have been doing a misinformation campaign for years, and the quotes you are relying on are probably from automated misinformation bots. For instance the consensus from scientists is that there will be more snow, as the heating climate causes more evaporation, and a warmer air holds more moisture, and thus where it still drops below freezing there will be more snow and higher intensity blizzards, but the snow seasons will become shorter and snow lines will retreat up mountains and the current melting and retreat of glaciers will continue (with the loss of drinking water that they supply). Need to get up to speed with the facts Steve.

      • Automated misinformation bots didn’t exist 40 years ago.
        More evaporation causes shiny clouds that reflect sun light before it hits the ground.
        That’s called a negative feed back loop. It’s how homeostatisis works.
        Check the assumptions they put in the computer models. It’s ridiculous.

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