Thursday, 13 January 2022

e-Petition and vigorous, sustained community lobbying saw 200ha of NSW core koala habitat protected in the last month of 2021


147 The Ruins Way, Port Macquarie NSW

On 24 November 2021 an e-Petition signed by 24,970 NSW residents was presented in the NSW Legislative Assembly by Greens MLA Tamara Green.

To the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly,

The coastal region of Port Macquarie Hastings LGA has one of the largest remnant populations of koalas in NSW. This was mapped as a koala hotspot for the NSW Koala Strategy 2018 by the Office of Environment and Heritage.

In the Port Macquarie LGA, most koala habitat lies within private land, outside protected areas such as National Parks. The koala population suffered huge casualties with the 2019 bushfires. The remaining unburnt core habitat around Lake Innes has become critical to sustain those individuals that survived the fires. An assessment by DPIE’s Biodiversity and Conservation Division concluded that post-fire, the urban population of koalas is now critical to Port Macquarie-Hastings Council LGA overall population if it has any hope of recovery. However, their habitat is shrinking rapidly because of ongoing land clearing for greenfield urban development.

147 Ruins Way, at 200ha, is the largest piece of privately-owned unburnt core koala habitat east of the Pacific Highway and is currently on the market for residential development. The property also provides habitat for numerous other threatened species including the critically endangered Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater, plus threatened forest owls, Square-tailed Kite, Little Lorikeet, Varied Sitella, Glossy-Black Cockatoo and Grey-headed Flying Fox.

We request that the NSW government purchase this land (e.g. with the $193 million set aside for koala population recovery) and protect it in perpetuity via a Nature Reserve or other secure, non-reversible tenure.”

On Christmas Eve, 24 December 2021 the NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage James Griffin formally responded that the former minister Matt Kean had purchased this vital koala habitat at 147 Ruins Way. The completed purchase from property developer Vilro Pty Ltd, being jointly funded by Koala Conservation Australia (KCA) and the NSW Government, with KCA supplying $3.5 million towards purchase cost and government the remainder believed to be in the vicinity of $7 million.

The e-petition is scheduled for debate on Thursday, 17 February 2022.

147 The Ruins Way, Port Macquarie NSW
IMAGE: Yahoo! News