Saturday, 21 November 2020


North East Forest Alliance 


November 19, 2020 

The decision by the NSW Upper House today to refer the National Party's Koala killing bill to the Koala inquiry for review has been welcomed by the North East Forest Alliance as a chance to expose its disastrous consequences for the survival of Koalas, along with some of the dirty background dealings.

Catherine Cusack today moved an amendment that referred the National Party's 's Local Land Services (Amendment) Bill to Committee No. 7 - Planning and Environment for review. This was narrowly passed by 19 to 18 votes.

North East Forest Alliance sincerely thanks Liberal Catherine Cusack for coming to the rescue of Koalas today by passionately refusing to support the National Party's Koala killing bill when it was presented to the NSW Upper House today, said NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh.

"The bill has been referred to the committee that undertook the inquiry 'Koala populations and habitat in New South Wales,' that exposed the grossly inadequate protection for Koalas on private land and their likely extinction by 2050 unless we take real and meaningful action to save them.

"We trust that this will give an opportunity to expose the far reaching and disastrous consequences of the National's Local Land Services (Amendment) Bill for Koalas, and show the pretence that it was benign for Koalas up as a lie.

"It may also shed some light on the Machiavellian machinations of the National Party in misrepresenting the currency of the maps which had already been dropped, threatening to resign from the coalition unless the Liberals agreed to all their demands, making legislative changes that the Liberals now say hadn't been agreed and they inadvertently voted for, and apparent backroom deals to stop Councils including core Koala habitat in environment zones.

"While Premier Gladys Berejiklian claimed to stand strong, she effectively capitulated to the National's demands by narrowing the definition of core Koala habitat in the Koala State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) to make it harder to identify core Koala habitat, and then gave the Nationals free reign to make dramatic changes to the Local Land Services Act.

"Not only did the Nationals seek to remove the prohibitions on logging and broadscale clearing of core Koala habitat, their bill also tried to stop Councils from being able to include core Koala habitat in environment protection zones, and tried to prohibit Councils from being able to regulate logging and clearing in environmental zones.

"Catherine Cusack has shown that she has enough integrity to stand up against National Party bullying for the survival of Koalas by moving to refer this bill back to the Koala committee. She is the saviour for the 67% of Koalas that live on private lands" Mr. Pugh said.


Thursday, 5 November 2020



Media Release

22 October 2020

The Coalition government’s Local Land Services Amendment Bill endangers koalas and scuppers any hope the government will achieve its goal of doubling koala populations by 2050.

The bill passed the NSW lower house yesterday and is scheduled to be debated in the Legislative Council in November. 

“If this bill passes, developers and big agribusiness will be free to destroy koala habitat in nine out of 10 council areas across NSW where koalas are likely to occur,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.

“The bill not only limits koala protection laws to a tiny portion of the state, it rules out ever extending those protections into new areas where they are desperately needed.

“If passed by members of the upper house, this law will allow property developers to bulldoze koala trees and subdivide some of the best koala forests left in NSW to create hobby farms and suburbs.

“Just weeks ago Liberal MPs and the Premier stared down Deputy Premier Barilaro over koala protections. 

“To now vote for a massive weakening of the laws is a disappointing back down.

“Currently, the koala SEPP  (State Environmental Planning Policy) only applies in six of the 88 council areas where koalas are likely to occur.

“The changes mean genuine efforts to protect koalas on private land will be limited to those areas.

“The government needs to urgently tell the people of NSW how it will ensure koala feed trees and habitat will not be lost because of a careless lack of regulation of land clearing.

“We call on members of the Legislative Council reject this bill so our koalas have a fighting chance of living beyond 2050.”


Wednesday, 21 October 2020


It's no secret that the world faces a water crisis, recently described as a “challenge for humanity”, and "the result of uncertain supply and growing demand".


Since about 2000, Clarence Valley Council has implemented water efficiency measures, which have dramatically reduced consumption in an ongoing effort to balance that supply and demand equation.


Last year, Council contracted consultants to undertake a review of its Water Efficiency Strategic Plan, and Implementation Strategy, placing them on public exhibition for comment earlier this year. Those documents thoroughly explored a plethora of measures to further reduce consumption but, oddly, there's no mention of controlling development or population growth, which continue to increase demand for water, despite all the efficiency measures.


This year saw the new jail opened, effectively adding a satellite town the size of Maclean to the consumption network, along with approval of several large residential developments.


Therefore, if efficiency measures were needed to ensure consumption doesn't exceed supply, what is the supply situation, and is it secure? Those questions were asked in submissions to the new plans which, strangely, made no mention of any threats to that supply.


Currently, the entire region from Iluka to Coffs Harbour are wholly dependent on the Nymboida River to provide drinking water.


Threats to the quality of that supply include climate change, through increased evaporation and possible longer droughts and mining accidents spilling toxic waste into the system, potentially making it undrinkable.  Other major threats are clear-felling of pine plantations and increased logging intensity causing erosion and increased turbidity as well as the current expansion of intensive horticulture where dam building is already reducing river flows.


Ash from wildfires also threatened to poison our water, but not one of these threats are mentioned in Council's plans. Why? It's a state government problem they say, not ours.


Now however, with a mining exploration licence application being lodged, to drill in an area between the Nymboida and Little Nymboida Rivers, which together supply all the region's water, that problem may be something Council can no longer afford to ignore.


            -John Edwards

This article was originally published in the VOICES FOR THE EARTH column in The Daily Examiner on October 12 ,  2020.