Saturday 25 February 2012


The NSW Roads and Maritime Services (former RTA) is considering a request by recently elected Clarence Member of Parliament, Chris Gulaptis, to increase the speed limit on the Iluka Road from 80 kph to 100 kph.  The Gulaptis request has been made in support of a commitment made by his predecessor, Steve Cansdell.

In 2005 the speed limit along this road was changed from 100 kph to 80 kph following concerns about the threat to wildlife in Bundjalung National Park and other bushland areas through which the road passes.

For some years there have been fears that the Iluka koala population has either been extinct or close to extinction.  However, there have been an encouraging number of sightings recently.  Given that koalas are under so much pressure from development, dog attack, disease and traffic in the Clarence (as in many other places), it is very important that as much as possible is done to ensure that this species is able to build up its numbers around Iluka.

Commenting on Mr Gulaptis'  belief that the road was suitable for a 100 kph speed limit, wildlife carer Patricia Edwards has said, " It seems pretty clear that Mr Gulaptis' imagination does not stretch so far as visualising himself hitting a young female koala with a joey on her back, and having to watch the joey fly off and be killed on impact on the tar. I can assure him from other people's experience that the resulting horror, trauma and guilt does not go away in a hurry."

What you can do:
If you are concerned about this threat to Iluka koalas please write to one (or all) of the following requesting that the speed limit be kept at 80 kph:

The local office of the RMS:
The Regional Manager
Roads and Maritime Service
PO Box 576

Duncan Gay, MLC, the NSW Minister for Roads and Ports
Email address:
Postal address:
Hon Duncan Gay
Minister for Roads and Ports
Level 35 Governor Macquarie Tower
1 Farrar Place

Chris Gulaptis, Member for Clarence
Postal address:
Mr Christopher Gulaptis, MP
11 Prince Street

Sunday 19 February 2012


On 16th February federal Environment Minister Tony Burke announced that he was delaying his decision on whether to add the koala to the list of nationally threatened species.  The Minister was originally scheduled to make his decision public on 17th February.  His decision will now be made by 30th April 2012.

The reason Minister Burke gave for deferring his decision was the need for more information from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee. 

His Media Release stated:

"There is a strong case that a nationally threatened species listing is required for koalas in areas where numbers have been under greatest threat.

"But I can't provide a blanket threatened species listing across Australia when there are many places where koala numbers remain high.

"That means any listing would need to apply only to specific parts of Australia.

"The advice I've received from the Threatened Species Scientific Committee suggests that I could generalise these areas to state boundaries.

"I agree with the Committee's findings about the need to treat populations differently in different parts of Australia but am seeking further advice on whether there are more precise habitat boundaries than simply adopting state boundaries."

It's a pity the Minister did not identify the need for more information earlier.  Perhaps he is reluctant to make a decision which, while it might assist in saving many koalas from the impacts of habitat loss, disease and other causes of mortality, will irritate those who are anxious to promote development in areas of prime koala habitat.

Those anxious to see our national icon given greater protection can be sure of one thing.  Minister Burke will be under considerable pressure from developer interests and the state governments who are concerned that development should not be impeded in any way.  

Obviously those who want to see the koala protected should continue to put their views to the Minister and to their local federal members.

There have already been three unsuccessful attempts to list the koalas as a threatened species under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity  Conservation Act (EPBC Act).  Will it be a case of fourth time lucky ?

Wednesday 8 February 2012


The Clarence Environment Centre (CEC) is appealing for people to urge Tony Burke, the federal Minister for the Environment to list the koala as a nationally threatened species under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Minister Burke is due to announce whether he will do so on February 17th.


"There are now less than 80,000 Koalas. There used to be millions. Between 1900 and 1930 hundreds of thousands of koalas were slaughtered. The Australian public became so outraged that politicians were forced to intervene.

"Tony Burke has heard the opinions of the Developer and Logging interests. It's now time to hear the views of the other 99%.

"Independent scientific evidence proves that the koala is experiencing population decline, local and regional extinction. The main threats to the koala are the destruction and fragmentation of its habitat, disease, dogs and cars.

"Listing the Koala is an important first step. Once the Koala is listed more needs to be done."

It is important that as many people as possible contact Minister Burke urging him to list the koala as a threatened species under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Contact details:      
Tel: (02) 6277 7640  Fax: (02) 6273 6101