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Highway provisos to reduce koala toll

IN THE ROAD: The Woolgoolga-Ballina section of the Pacific Hwy has been approved.
IN THE ROAD: The Woolgoolga-Ballina section of the Pacific Hwy has been approved. Chris Ison

FEDERAL Environment Minister Greg Hunt has approved the Woolgoolga to Ballina section of the Pacific Highway, with 26 conditions.

"There has been a high level of public interest in the project, particularly in relation to impacts on the important koala population near Ballina," Mr Hunt said.

"The conditions that I have applied require the NSW Roads and Maritime Services to demonstrate that impacts to the Ballina Koala population will be acceptable, before section 10 of the highway can be undertaken."

Friends of the Koala president Lorraine Vass said there was enough information for the minister to insist the route be moved.

"He didn't choose to do that, but there is an implication that if RMS can't demonstrate in the new plan that impacts on koalas are acceptable, that the minister will do something further.

"At the end of the day we expect the full protection of the EPBC (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation) Act.

Otherwise, what is the point of the federal legislation if it isn't going to protect the survival of this nationally significant population?"



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