Koalas are one of Australia's most iconic species, but tragically are in decline. The 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires burnt across vast swathes of eastern Australia and devastated a significant area of koala habitat. The consequences of this were a primary reason for the species being uplisted from vulnerable to endangered at both the NSW and national level.
The Campbelltown koala population is critically important because it is one of the few NSW koala populations that appears to be growing. Despite being the only population in the Sydney basin that escaped the impact of the Black Summer bushfires, this population is now facing another serious and potentially irreversible threat – a massive housing development and a series of associated road upgrade activities along Appin Road.
Expert koala ecologists have provided reports and representations to government to advise that the proposed developments will have a significant impact on the koala. The impacts include habitat fragmentation and isolation, impediments to safe movement and increased likelihood and risk of vehicle strike. The same ecologists have advised government of specific measures that could be taken to reduce impacts to a level below significant. Despite these measures being achievable, and NGOs and the local community advocating strongly for them since 2019, these calls have fallen on deaf ears.
Time is running out for this population of iconic koalas! Please help by adding your voice and calling on the federal Environment Minister, The Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP to exercise her powers within Australia's environment laws and ensure the preventative measures are part of the conditions placed on this development approval.
Thank you for adding your voice to help save this critical koala population!
Re: Commonwealth part-funding Appin road upgrade and impact on Campbelltown koalas
I write to express my deep concern that proposed road upgrades along Appin Road, which I understand the Commonwealth government is part-funding, are likely to have a significant impact on the endangered koala population in the region.
If the proposed activities are constructed as planned, there is a very real risk of extinction of a critically important koala population and devastating impact on the species. Commonwealth funded infrastructure should not contribute to the further decline of the koala.
You have an opportunity to make a course correction by simply ensuring the proposed upgrades and associated activities do not proceed without the suite of ameliorative measures set out in the expert reports that have been provided to both federal and state governments on a number of occasions.
I respectfully request that you exercise your power under s 70 of the EPBC Act to request Transport for NSW refer the proposed activities for assessment.
The Commonwealth government, through its Investment Road and Rail Program, is providing $72million of funding for the activities and therefore has the opportunity to require, as a condition of that funding, the suite of ameliorative measures that expert koala ecologists have advised are necessary to prevent the activities from having a significant impact on the koala.
We ask that you share these concerns with the Hon Catherine King MP who has responsibility for these projects, and request the Commonwealth ensures its funding is contingent on the ameliorative measures recommended.
Your government has made bold declarations that you will halt species extinctions and "turn around the Titanic". This is your opportunity to ensure the right course of action is set for the Campbelltown koala population.
Thank you in advance!
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