Koalas needed your help and 17,000 of you spoke out

IFAW and partners Friends of the Koala handover the petition to NSW parliamentarians. From left to right: Jodi McKay MP, ALP Shadow Minister for Roads; Penny Sharpe MLC, ALP Shadow Minister for the Environment; Tamara Smith Greens MP for Ballina; Lorraine Vass, President of Friends of the Koala; and Matt Collis, Campaigns Manager, IFAW.Last week I was at the NSW Parliament to hand over a petition, signed by over 17,000 of you, urging the NSW Government to reconsider the route for the planned Pacific highway upgrade between Broadwater and Ballina.

Back in February, together with our partners Friends of the Koala and the Ballina Environment Society, we put out the call for your help in gaining the 10,000 signatures we needed to force a debate on this issue in the NSW Parliament.

Your response has been magnificent.

As I stood on the steps of Parliament, struggling under the weight of the paper containing over 17,000 signatures, I was reminded of just how deeply our wonderful supporters care about our unique and iconic wildlife here in Australia. Without you, what hope would there be for the likes of Ballina’s koalas, who are already up against it (as explained by Friends of the Koala president, Lorraine Vass here), even without a highway running right through the middle of their home?

Welcoming Lorraine and me to Parliament were Labor and the Greens, who have taken up the cause of Ballina’s remaining koalas. We had the pleasure of discussing what’s at stake with Penny Sharpe, Labor’s Shadow Environment Minister, Jodi McKay, Labor’s Shadow Roads Minister and Tamara Smith, the local Green MP for Ballina. With the petition now tabled in Parliament, they are hoping to ensure the issue is debated in August when Parliament resumes.

--MC

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