Ballina koalas not out of the woods yet

A koala resting in a tree © IFAW/J. PetchLast Friday the 200 or so koalas that live along the proposed route of the upgraded Pacific Highway were probably doing whatever koalas do on a Friday. They couldn’t have known that a decision was being made that could send bulldozers in to tear down the trees they live in, trample their food leaves and separate them from family and friends.

Follow the events: Read earlier post about Stage 10 Highway decision.

As it turned out, the decision, made by Greg Hunt, our Federal Environment Minister and the man responsible for safeguarding the koalas and our other vulnerable wildlife, was to approve but not approve. ‘Yes’ to the whole NSW Government upgrade proposal covering the 155kms from Woolgoolga to Ballina but ‘Maybe not’ to the especially problematic section 10 from Wardell to Ballina where the vitally important and vulnerable population of koalas live.

So NSW Government has to do more to convince Greg Hunt that their plan won’t result in the extinction of the koalas in the area before the bulldozers can start work.

IFAW and our partners Friends of the Koala aren’t sure what to think – does this represent a real chance for a road route that’s koala-friendly or is it a delaying tactic, allowing NSW Government to do a better job of re-hashing their proposal for the route that clearly spells disaster for the Ballina koalas and their trees? What do you think?

For sure we’ll be keeping close watch on what happens next and keep you up to date. Heartfelt thanks to all the thousands who sent in emails and letters, I’m sure each one helped.

-- IMc

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