Petition: Protecting the Ballina Koala Colony

The Greens today supported the petition to protect the koala population in the Blackwall Range area.


Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) [4.52 p.m.], by leave: I also support this petition to protect the koala population in the Blackwall Range area because since being elected to this place the largest number of communications I have received from the people of Newtown have been on this petition and the importance of protecting koala habitat. That shows something about the good people of Newtown, that is, their interest in this State extends beyond what is happening in their own backyard.

TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Mr Bruce Notley-Smith): Order! There is too much audible conversation in the Chamber.

Ms JENNY LEONG: We have heard the concerns people have raised. My Greens colleague and member for Ballina is acutely aware of these issues as she knows the risks to the koala habitat. There is another connection linking the good people of Newtown to this issue, and that is that they understand the huge impact of building roads without understanding the habitat, the community and the environment. Members may not realise that there is a connection between the threat from Roads and Maritime Services projects to the wildlife habitat in the area—such as the golden and green bell tree frog, which is under threat as an endangered species due to WestConnex. I hear members opposite raising concerns about the need for the Pacific Highway upgrade and the risks this brings. I say to those members we have a $15.4 billion Roads budget and they are welcome to use that to assist with regional roads and upgrades of roads in their areas.

If the deviation to save the koala habitat is going to cost more money, we can have roads and also save the koala habitat. Across the State communities are gathering to say they do not want the building of roads to destroy habitat but they do want to make sure that there is safe transport and safe ways for communities to travel. They know we have money in the Roads budget to deliver the needed upgrades in a way that ensures the protection of the koala habitat. It would be sad if 17,000-plus people stand together and we ignore them. Some of those campaigners are in the gallery today. I have stood with the Friends of the Koalas in the gallery, including one man who was wearing a koala suit when I stood with him. We as communities stand up for the protection of our endangered wildlife species throughout New South Wales. We call on the Government to do the same.


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