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Hawkesbury City Council urged to halt Koala habitat clearing

Jun 20, 2023

Environmental groups are calling for immediate action from the Hawkesbury City Council (HCC) to cease the clearance of vital koala habitats. Council will tonight discuss the formulation of a Koala Plan of Management, however environmental groups are stressing the need to protect the remaining habitat during this process.

The Total Environment Centre said unchecked clearing activities under the Rural Boundary Clearing Code are occurring threatening existing koala habitat. They want HCC to opt-out of the Code until a robust Koala Plan of Management is in place.

“The Council has a duty to protect Koala habitat under the Local Government Act and the Code anticipates the need for Koala protection.  There are over 1,000 Koalas in the area. We have provided extensive information to all Councillors and key staff about their responsibilities,’’ Director of the Centre, Jeff Angel said.

Koala Habitat Mapping Source: Biolink 2023

“The self-assessable nature of the Code has environmental protections for koalas reliant on Council provision of critical data. Also it does not overrule the federal Environmental Biodiversity Conservation Act (EBPCA). Without effective information and enforcement of the Code there is a serious risk that cumulative clearing with significant impact will occur,” he said.

Stephanie Carrick, Manager of the Sydney Basin Koala Network, criticized the council for neglecting community consultation and expert advice, while failing to address monitoring and compliance needs. She said the matter was now urgent due to the recent endangered listing of koalas in NSW.

In the time since, Koalas have been listed as endangered in NSW and the Hawkesbury Koala stronghold has become even more critical to their recovery. The issue is creating considerable community concern, and it is urgent that remaining Koala habitat is protected while this process takes place,” she said.

The council’s duty to protect koala habitat is highlighted under the Local Government Act. Environmentalists emphasize the importance of safeguarding the remaining habitat for the estimated 1,000 koalas in the area, she said.

 

 

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