Labor calls on Baird Government to halt sell-off of prime koala habitat

In Parliament | 06.06.16

The NSW Opposition today called on the Baird Government to immediately halt the imminent sell-off of prime koala habitat in Port Stephens and work to find a solution to save this vulnerable koala population.

The area of land currently owned by the Department of Education is surplus to requirements and has secretly been put up to be sold off to the highest private bidder this week.

The area is classified as being of high environmental and indigenous heritage value and is home to an endangered population of koalas.

Two weeks ago there was a community meeting in Port Stephens attended by more than 250 concerned local residents, highlighting the strong community support for returning this environmentally sensitive land to the Mambo Wetlands.

Appeals to halt this sell-off made to Education Minister Adrian Piccoli and Environment Minister Mark Speakman have so far fallen on deaf ears.

Koalas in NSW are declared endangered and some scientists suggest they could be extinct in NSW by 2050.

The only solution is for this land to be transferred to Port Stephens Council and a plan put in place to preserve this prime habitat for koalas forever.

Shadow Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe MLC, says:

“To auction this land off is to guarantee the death of this koala population.

“The Baird Government must act to save these koalas.

“There is a clear solution here: this parcel of land should become part of the neighbouring high environmental value Mambo Wetlands and be preserved in perpetuity.”

Member for Port Stephens, Kate Washington MP, says:

“This parcel of land is of great importance to the residents of Port Stephens - economically, environmentally, socially and culturally.

“This area is widely known as a high conservation area for koalas and as a beautiful parcel of nature that residents value and enjoy – to have it ripped away from them so callously just beggars belief.”