Ballina’s koalas need help, not a highway

Dr. Stephen Phillips Discusses Research on Ballina's Koalas from IFAW - Int. Fund for Animal Welf on Vimeo.

So the science is in, and the verdict is imminent. As I write, Environment Minister Greg Hunt is considering the Ballina Koala Plan, submitted by the agency Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) to justify its chosen route for Stage 10 of the Pacific Highway.

Perplexingly the RMS wants to build the road directly through a nationally-significant population of around 200 koalas, dubbed the Ballina 200.

This has now become one of the most studied koala populations in New South Wales, perhaps all of Australia. Scientists have been debating their numbers, breeding rates, mortality and disease. The one thing, however, that is undeniable and that everyone agrees on is that this population is already in dire trouble, with the biggest single threat to their survival: becoming roadkill.

A koala climbing a fence designed to protect it from the road.

No amount of overpasses, underpasses, tree planting or fences can compensate for the inevitable devastating impact that a four-lane highway will have on this vulnerable koala population. A four-lane highway will not protect these koalas as the RMS would have us believe.

Mr. Hunt, please consider this very carefully and take your time to review all of the science before making your decision. There are alternative routes that will not lead to the extinction of these koalas. We can have a highway AND koalas but let’s not have a highway at the expense of koalas. There is no coming back from extinction.

--JS

If you want to see these koalas protected, send Minister Hunt a message here and demand the road route be altered.

 

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