Inquiry is first step in saving koalas: Greens
WHEN Greens MP Cate Faehrmann toured wildlife organisation Friends of the Koala's East Lismore facilities on Monday, she credited the important work the not-for-profit carried out to protect the local koala population.
The visit coincided with Ms Faehrmann's announcement of the upcoming Parliamentary Inquiry Hearing to Save the Koala.
Ms Faehrmann, who is also Chair of the Parliamentary Inquiry, said there will be a hearing held in Ballina next month in order to have the chance to hear from locals.
"It's incredibly important that people in the Northern Rivers are able to talk to the Inquiry and tell them exactly what needs to be done to save the koalas," she said.
"At the hearing we'll hear from the community, and I urge the community to come to the hearing and have their say."
Ms Faehrmann said the inquiry will investigate land clearing and forestry laws as well as other threats to koalas, such as roads, dogs and disease.
She said the Northern Rivers was selected as a hearing location due to the high koala population across the region.
"The North Coast is a koala hotspot," she said.
"I've been around Ballina, I've been into a state forest and I've seen koalas pretty much everywhere I've been when I've looked for them.
"That's why it is so important that the committee hears from local experts about the devastating decline of the koala population across the Northern Rivers."
The hearing will take place in Ballina on October 18, with the location to be announced at a later date, and local residents and organisations are encouraged to speak at the hearing.
Ms Faehrmann said she hopes the inquiry "brings to light the crises that koala populations are facing".
"We need a whole-of-government approach to save the koala in NSW, not the piecemeal approach that is failing them now," she said.
"You cannot give with one hand and take with the other. Throwing a few million into the NSW Koala Strategy won't make up for the destruction of their habitat."
"To save the koala for future generations we must save the trees and forests they depend on.
"With increasing bushfires and extreme weather, every tree counts."
The inquiry was established in June to report on koala populations and habitat in NSW.
Ballina is the first scheduled hearing, followed by a hearing in Campbelltown on October 25.