KILL THE BILL THAT WILL KILL KOALAS
The new koala laws, despite being nowhere near strong enough, were supposed to increase protections for koalas. But after John Barilaro and his anti-environment National Party MPs spat the dummy a new bill introduced by the Government is set to take us backwards and koalas and their habitat are more at risk than ever.
The Government's new bill goes so far as to prevent councils from being able to control the clearing of core koala habitat in their area and allows private forestry operations to clear core koala habitat. This will result in thousands of hectares of koala habitat being cleared just months after bushfires wiped out up to 80% of core koala habitat.
Koalas simply can't survive if this bill is passed. We have to kill the bill in the Upper House -- take action now to tell key MPs to kill the bill that will kill koalas!
Find out more
Rachel Walmsley from the Environmental Defenders Office, Dailan Pugh from the North East Forest Alliance and Bellingen Mayor Dominic King provided a briefing for MPs and media regarding the Local Land Services Amendment (Miscellaneous) Bill 2020. Watch here:
Click on the image to view Dailan Pugh's slides.
Contact your Upper House MP!
We need to convince all MPs in the Upper Houser to kill the bill! Click here for a full list of MPs.
Here are some talking points to help you with your conversations. Remember to be polite but firm about why they must oppose the bill.
This bill is the outcome of the stoush between the NSW Libs and Nats of new koala protections.
It’s a massive backdown by the Premier and her Planning Minister, resulting in the new laws to protect koalas actually being weaker than the ones they were replacing!
Powerful timber, developer and farming interests have won out over koalas and the environment with the Koala State Environmental Planning Policy, introduced on 1 March 2020, and its guidelines being watered down.
Worse, the ‘deal’ struck with the anti-environment National Party includes some significant changes to laws relating to managing forests, including core koala and other threatened species habitat, on private land.
The area of the state worst affected by this grubby deal is north-east NSW. On the north coast 61% of high quality koala habitat occurs on private property.
- Private native forestry operations now get free rein
‘Private native forestry’ is the practice of private landholders harvesting timber on their property for financial gain. This can vary in scale and intensity from a farmer carefully selecting a few trees on their property, to large properties being bought for the sole purpose of harvesting the timber on them by commercial operators.
95% of forestry operations occur in north-east NSW and there is 467,341 hectares of land approved for private native forestry.
The NSW Audit Office explains that this is because that ‘over time, larger volumes of timber are being sourced from private land and being used to supplement timber supply contracts that the Government has with mill owners, particularly on the north coast.’
- Doubles the duration of Private Native Forestry approvals
Approvals for PNF are now doubled to 30 years, which means no changes to conditions, or no restrictions can be placed on these approvals in that time. Thirty years is a long time.
- Freezes the amount of koala habitat that can be protected in Comprehensive Koala Plans of Management
The SEPP freezes the inclusion of koala habitat that can be protected, allowing only Six local government areas in the state - Ballina, Lismore, Coffs Harbour, Kempsey, Port Stephens and Campbelltown.
- More clearing will take place in environmental zones
This bill also goes much further than allowing more koala habitat to be cleared.
It expressly prohibits the ability of councils to be able to control ‘allowable activities in environmental zones. This is what the National Party calling ‘decoupling’.
E zones provide fundamental protection for thousands of hectares of forests, wetlands and wildlife habitats in areas like the Far North Coast, the most biologically diverse region in NSW. They do this by setting core objectives for the purpose of the land and restricting certain land uses in the E zone.