Stage 10 highway approval threatens unique and vital koala population
In a shocking move by the New South Wales government, the highly contentious Woolgoolga to Ballina Highway Upgrade project was approved last week.
There has been major public outcry over this development and IFAW’s partners, Friends of the Koala and others have been working on a decade-long campaign to have the route reconsidered, as it will cut through the home of the area’s nationally significant koala population.
A recent study found that the Blackwall Range koala population is both critical for breeding and necessary to maintain genetic diversity and is considered a 'source population' for koalas in other parts of the Northern Rivers.
The highway, known as Stage 10, will bisect key habitat for these koalas, jeopardising the conservation and management needs of this koala colony.
On top of this, the area is also home to over 30 other threatened and endangered species
Dr Stephen Phillips, author of the koala habitat study, views the measures proposed for the highway, such as wildlife crossings, to be not sufficient to protect this koala population.
IFAW has been supporting local groups in a campaign to prevent the highway from cutting through this nationally-significant koala population and has proposed alternative, more direct routes that would not impact koalas.
We have mobilised the support of over 30,000 people who have signed a petition asking for a koala friendly highway.
Despite this, the decision was made to steamroll ahead.
This will be devastating in terms of the potential impact on koalas and other threatened species.
We are calling on the Federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, to intervene.
We also call on the newly appointed Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrews to look into this issue as a matter of urgency.
The fate of this nationally-significant koala population is in their hands.
Act now for the Ballina koalas and send a message to Minister Hunt, urging him not to grant Federal approval for the Stage 10 highway upgrade.