NSW Environment Minister Weighs In On Koala Habitat and Brandy Hill Mine Decision Facing Federal Minister Sussan Ley

NSW Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean speaking about the koala habitat protection with Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer looking on. Photo by Marian Sampson.

 

IN recent weeks there has been an increased focus on the future of 52 hectares of core koala habitat at Brandy Hill.

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The decision as to whether this land can be cleared and mined now sits with the Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley.

The plight of the koala has never been so dire.

WWF Australia tells us that a parallel analysis, released in March found the New South Wales koala population has suffered a decline of between 33% and 61% since 2001, with a conservative estimate of 6382 koalas killed in the 2019-20 bushfires up to 13 February.

This puts the koala population in NSW at risk of extinction by 2050 unless drastic action is taken to protect the species now.

Australian celebrities Olivia Newton John and Jimmy Barnes are lending their names and adding their pleas to those of locals asking the Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley to stop the mine and to save the koala habitat.

NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean was in Port Stephens this week and spoke to the need to protect koala habitat in NSW.

Matt Kean said, “We know there are a number of threats to koalas the loss and fragmentation of habitat is of great concern and the encroachment of development on koala habitat and as far as I am concerned as Environment Minister we should be doing everything possible to protect koala habitat.

“That’s why I am expanding and fortifying National Parks right across New South Wales but there is a lot more to do and I intend to do it.

“I think we should be doing everything we can to protect koala habitat and koala populations.

“The loss and fragmentation of koala habitat is the number one threat to koalas.

“My message to the Federal Environment Minister is that you should be looking very closely at the Brandy Hill decision,“ he said.

Member for Port Stephens and Shadow Minister for the Environment Kate Washington told News Of The Area, “What we have to do that is so important is to protect koala habitat and right now we have a threat to Port Stephens koalas at and their ability to survive as a species and that’s at Brand Hill we need to do everything we can to make sure that that critical habitat isn’t bulldozed.

“We have an amazing community campaign underway and the voices that have joined that campaign are so amazing, Olivia Newton John, Jimmy Barnes, and Magda Szubanski and there’s more to come.

“We need to make sure that Sussan Ley understands that extinction is not acceptable,” she said.

Ron Land from Port Stephens Koalas believes that if the mine goes ahead that koalas from the site will end up in care at the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary.

 

By Marian SAMPSON

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