'Dead and injured' koalas found daily prompts concern
A REQUEST to protect Ballina's koala and wildlife population has been made after "dead and injured koalas” have been "found almost daily”.
Greens MP Tamara Smith called on the NSW government to protect Ballina's wildlife as the RMS starts tree clearing work as part of the Pacific Highway upgrade at Meerschaum Vale.
"I have heard from residents in the area about the dead and injured koalas they have found almost daily,” Ms Smith said.
"The residents have also been told that contractors are not allowed to touch any injured animals they see.
"There seems to be no process in place for the RMS or its contractors to count the koalas or other wildlife that are dead or injured due to the increased truck traffic or tree clearance.”
She said the impact of the preparation for the highway upgrade on wildlife and residents was severe and the employment of animal rescue staff and a "proper process of wildlife monitoring” was needed.
Greens MP and Koala Protection spokesperson, Dawn Walker said after an inspection of the site last week the "environmental devastation” they came across "can only be described as 'ecocide'”.
Ms Walker recently met with Kevin Anderson, Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Roads, activist Sue Arnold and koala expert ecologist David Milledge to discuss koalas.
"This is a government that has an appalling record when it comes to protecting our koalas,” she said.
"Koalas (numbers) on the North Coast have almost halved over the last 20 years, it's vital that we started recognising and protecting each koala population especially as they become more fragmented by roads and have less opportunity to recover as their numbers decline.”