Environment groups rally across NSW to urge parliament to maintain forest protections

The NSW Government’s Upper House will debate legislation next week that would “remove most of the hard won gains made over the past 25 years”. Far from arresting the decline in Koala numbers, changes to the LLS Act will see Koalas extinct in NSW before 2050.

NEFA and other environment groups [incl. the CEC] across the state are holding coordinated protests today to try and push MPs to block the bill, which is expected to be voted on in the Upper House on November 11. Protests will happen in Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Kempsey, Port Macquarie, Sydney, Taree and Tweed Heads.

“The Local Land Services Amendment (Miscellaneous) Bill 2020 introduced into parliament on 14 October represents the Liberal Party’s total capitulation to the loggers and developers at the behest of the National Party”, NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pughsaid.

“These proposed changes are clearly intended to make the Koala SEPP ineffective and remove most of the hard won gains made over the past 25 years.

“This is a despicable act from a Government hell-bent on halving our rapidly diminishing populations of Koalas, not doubling them.” Mr. Pugh said.

Grafton

“Chris Gulaptis spoke out against planning protections for Koalas on social media last month, supporting Developers instead. Not good enough!” Naomi Shine from the Lismore Environment Centre said.

Tweed Heads

“Geoff Provest has been boasting to local environment groups about how much he cares about koalas and yet he voted for the Bill in the lower house. We are calling on him to take real action for Koalas and call for his upper house counterparts to block this bill.” Naomi Shine from the Lismore Environment Centre said.

Taree

At a silent vigil outside Lesley Williams office in Port Macquarie, Susie Russell from NEFA said “Lesley Williams left the National Party, appalled at their behaviour. We’re appalled at hers, she has voted for the National Party’s anti-Koala legislation. Koalas on private land will continue to die, with no requirements to protect them or their habitat and logging and land clearing given the green light.”

“The empathy of the NSW Government for Koalas is only as deep as the ink in the newsprint they seek to generate with their gestures of concern, meanwhile the bulldozers are knocking over the Koala trees.”

Coffs Harbour

Community members and environmental groups gathering outside Gurmesh Singh’s MP’s Coffs Harbour office to bring attention to Mr Singh’s lack of concern for the survival of koalas in the wild after he voted to weaken the protection of koala habitat that is essential for the survival of this iconic species.

Mr Singhs electorate of Coffs Harbour is one of the few forested areas on the east coast of NSW with significant koala populations that survived the 19/20 bushfires.

Kempsey

Bellingen Community Members gather outside Melinda Pavey MP’s Office to show the shock and grave concern about the “Removal of Bellingen Shire Koala Management Plan” as part of the immediate impact of a sweeping loss of protections for Koalas contained within the Local Land Services Amendment Miscellaneous Bill and the community appeals to Minister Pavey to have our Shire Koala Management Plan Restored

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