KOALAS NEED OUR HELP
I'm very concerned with the NSW Coalition government's new State Environment Planning Policy (Bill 2021).
This new Koala SEPP 2021 announced March 2021 by the Deputy Premier John Barilaro and the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Robert Stokes is a catastrophic setback for koalas in NSW, which were already on track for extinction by 2050!
They have just announced that farming and forestry zones will be excluded from the Koala protection policy, even though these are the most important areas of koala habitat under threat!
This means zero protection for 67 per cent of NSW's koalas who live on private land zoned for farming or forestry. I'm also very concerned that it removed councils' ability to regulate logging on private land. This policy has to be changed.
Koalas are not "tree rats"! Koalas are your native icon, they are the emblem of Australia all over the world and they are heritage of the whole world.
Imagine an Australia without koalas in the wild, but unless habitat clearing is stopped, koalas go extinct!
We in the whole world love your iconic koalas! When pandemic is over thousand and thousand of tourists from all over the world will come to Australia bringing much money to see your iconic koalas in the wild.
Extinction of koalas is now not by 2050. Koala lives matter. Koala deserve better. The world is watching.
Maria Paola Torti, Castelnuovo Scrivia, Italy
FLOODPLAIN CAPS SHOULD BE ENFORCED
There has been a lot of recent commentary around the Darling/Baaka River, its health and the impact of floodplain harvesting in the Northern Basin on the indisputable environmental challenges it has been facing.
Unfortunately, and incorrectly, food and fibre producers in the Southern Basin have at times been depicted as the 'bad guys' in this debate. We understand that there are large corporate farming operations that would have their prosperity threatened if the legislated 1994 cap on floodplain harvesting diversions was enforced, instead of the current diversions which are up to 2.5 times this amount.
And remember, even NSW Government bureaucrats have questioned the legality of allowing quantities of this level to be taken from the river.
However, let's be clear about other facts around this issue.
There is absolutely no doubt that the water flowing into Menindee Lakes and making a contribution to legislated South Australian flows has been reduced significantly. As a consequence, more water has to be provided from the Murray River system for Menindee and SA.
So increased extraction and reduced end of system flow targets in the Northern Basin is: (a) Causing untold environmental damage to the Darling/Baaka; (b) Causing acknowledged environmental damage to the Murray River and its environs from increased and environmentally unsustainable flows.
And yes, at the same time it is reducing the water available to general security licence holders in NSW and northern Victoria, to the detriment of these farmers, the communities which rely on their prosperity and national food security.
In the NSW Murray, where every drop of water is accounted for, allocation reliability has dropped from 84 per cent to 52 per cent since the turn of the century.
In a nation where a 'fair go' is held in high esteem, would you expect Southern Basin food and fibre producers to sit back and meekly accept the injustice of present water management regimes, under which our future is threatened while those in the north get valuable political favours, to the detriment of virtually every other part of the basin?
We do not want to be see one basin pitted against the other, but we are not prepared to accept the existing inequities without a fight. We don't have the deep pockets or the political persuasion, but that will not stop us calling out what is fundamentally wrong and doing out utmost to have a fair playing filed developed.
Lachlan Marshall, Speak Up Campaign chairman
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