Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis is prepared to sit on the crossbench over new koala laws.
Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis is prepared to sit on the crossbench over new koala laws.

GULAPTIS TRIUMPHANT: Green koala tape stops at farm gate

CLARENCE MP Chris Gulaptis has relaxed his threat to move to the crossbench after the NSW Government arrived at a compromise on koala protection policy today.

Under a peace deal reached between the Liberals and Nationals, farmers and private forestry landholders are excluded from the regulations within the controversial SEPP.

Related Article: 'Koala war' comes to an end

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she ordered the controversial Koala SEPP to return to cabinet to "ensure that all issues would be resolved".

"The NSW Coalition has rested on a very balanced and fair approach which ensures the protection of endangered koalas, but also makes sure that farming communities and private property owners are not at risk," she said.

Mr Gulaptis said the "menacing attempt by the Sydney bureaucracy" to strangle farmers and timber producers in red tape had been defeated.

"The deal done today between the Liberals and Nationals in NSW Government exempts primary producers from the complex new rules but still enforces them on Sydney suburban development, which is the reason the new State Environment Planning Policy was changed in the first place," Mr Gulaptis said.

"I was ready to walk out of the Coalition over this issue - that is how important it is. But, like all successful families, we were able to sit down at the table and reach a sensible solution.

"I particularly thank Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Nationals Leader John Barilaro and Acting Nationals Leader Paul Toole for listening to, and acting on the concerns I relayed to them in person from my constituents."

Mr Gulaptis said farmers were only just beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel after a lengthy drought, the worst bushfires in a generation and the coronavirus recession.

"The last thing they needed was an army of Sydney bureaucrats micromanaging their properties," Mr Gulaptis said.

"This new balanced approach will protect koalas, protect their habitat, and protect farmers' and family timber firms' property rights across the Clarence and Richmond Valleys.

"There are existing protections in the land management framework, which include harsh penalties for individuals or corporations who harm a threatened species. These provisions and protections are also unchanged."

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