4 May 2016
Greens MPs Dr Mehreen Faruqi and Tamara Smith today called on the New South Wales government to release all documents relating to the Ballina Koala Plan.
Greens MP and Environment Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, is calling on other parties to support a motion she has introduced into the NSW Legislative Council to force the NSW Government to release all documents associated with the controversial Ballina Koala Plan, which has been heavily criticised by ecologists.
The report, which is a condition of approval of the Woolgoolga to Ballina (Section 10) of the Pacific Highway, is currently before Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt.
The move is being supported by the Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith MP, whose electorate houses the koala population.
Dr Faruqi said:
“The Ballina Koala Plan that has been put together by Roads and Maritime Services has been heavily criticised by ecologists for completely underestimating the effect on koalas. The community deserves to know what is going on.
“If the RMS is relying on junk science, we need to get to the bottom of this before it is too late.
“We need an upgraded Pacific Highway to save lives, but we also need to protect the koalas.
“If the NSW Government diverted just a little bit of money from the billions being wasted in Sydney on motorways no one wants, or needs, we could solve this problem by searching for an alternative route.
“I hope the other parties will come on board and support this call for the release of all the planning reports and studies that went into the Ballina Koala Plan” she concluded.
The Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith MP said:
“Nobody wants the human death toll on the Pacific Highway to continue and we need to be very clear about the impact the Section 10 will have on the fate of the Ballina 200 Koalas.
“A pristine koala colony is too precious to lose and we are the custodians of these creatures for future generations”
“The fate of our Ballina 200 has garnered national and world-wide attention, and there are lots of people watching the process closely”
“We need to make sure that we are on the right side of history as once they are gone there is no going back.”