Cr Alan Brown
Cr Alan Brown

Farmers against council koala plan

NSW Farmers Association has expressed concerns about Ballina Shire Council's moves to develop a koala plan of management.

Speaking on behalf of the association at yesterday's council meeting, Kath Robb said some farmers would bulldoze eucalypt trees that are feeding trees for koalas if the council agreed to a koala plan.

"There is concern about ever-increasing regulatory processes," she said.

"This (a koala plan) can severely impact on other people's lives and businesses."

Mayor Phillip Silver agreed, saying a koala plan of management for the Ballina Shire was not necessary.

"I believe it's counter-productive... it will do more harm than good," he said.

The Office of Environment and Heritage has identified the shire as a "priority area" for koala conservation.

Up to $50,000 will be provided to the council for koala population surveys and habitat mapping this financial year, with an extra $30,000 next year to work towards a comprehensive koala plan of management.

Cr Peter Moore said a plan was a great idea.

"Whatever we can do to look after and care for these guys is a good thing," he said.

And Cr Alan Brown, who said he was "not a tree hugger", approved of developing a plan to protect koalas.

"This is a very iconic animal that we are talking about," he said.

"I would like to think that we do to our utmost to protect them."

Little is known about koalas living the Ballina Shire, and it is hoped that the plan of management would lead to a broader biodiversity study.

In May, Lismore City Council narrowly approved its own koala plan of management and it has now been forwarded to the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure for approval.

But the process was long and arduous, with more than 900 submissions made during the public exhibition period and heated debates at council meetings and within the community.

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