MEDIA RELEASE 9 March 2021
The North East Forest Alliance has described the announcement by Barilaro, Stokes and Kean that they are going to resurrect the Koala killing bill under a different guise as a death blow for Koalas and a major wind-back of democratic rights in NSW.
The Government’s intent is to allow core koala habitat to be indiscriminately logged and cleared, and to take away Council’s ability to require consent for logging, as well as their ability to create environmental zones, said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.
“This time they will focus on removing Koala protections through the rewriting of State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) and ministerial directions to avoid having to get their changes approved by the NSW Upper House. They refuse to wait for the outcome of the current Upper House inquiry into these measures.
“Minister Stokes’ pretence that this is somehow a big step forward for protection of Koalas is a big lie.
“Over 60% of Koalas occur on private lands and now the vast majority of their habitat will be available for clearing and logging, without any mapping of core Koala habitat and no requirements to look for Koalas.
“The Koala SEPP will now only apply to a limited number of Development Applications.
“Logging and clearing will in future be allowed in any core Koala habitat identified in a Koala Plan of Management
“The focus of the changes are to over-ride decades of Councils’ efforts in protecting private lands in their shires from clearing and logging.
“Council’s rights to prohibit or require consent for logging through zoning or Tree Preservation Orders will be removed, instead logging will be allowed across all existing environmental zones. North coast Councils’ zoning currently prohibits logging of 167,000 ha, and requires development consent for logging over 600,000 hectares, all of which will go.
“Council’s rights to rezone rural land to an environmental zone, or even to vary the rural zoning, will be removed, with only the Planning Minister allowed to do such rezonings in future. This is specifically aimed at stopping core Koala habitat being included in environmental zones, though affects all high conservation value vegetation.
“Matt Kean’s pretence that these removals of existing protections for Koalas over most private lands ‘will ensure protections for core koala habitat and colonies across NSW’ is utter nonsense.
“This major reduction in Koala protection reveals his promise to double Koala populations by 2050 as empty rhetoric”, Mr. Pugh said.
FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES: contact Dailan Pugh