OPINION: Letters to the editor of the Western Advocate

THREATENED: Is enough being done to protect the koalas that live in the Pyramul region north of Bathurst?

THREATENED: Is enough being done to protect the koalas that live in the Pyramul region north of Bathurst?

Close the loophole or get ready to lose the koalas

KOALAS are rapidly vanishing as a species. Where once there were millions, there are now merely thousands.

When I was in primary school they were everywhere and much loved by all children.

Now on television, charities must ask for donations to help preserve our disappearing koalas.

Visiting VIPs still get their photos taken with our cuddly Australian animal ambassador.

Laws were passed in April 2012 to make koalas a “threatened species” and their habitat an “endangered ecological community”, yet developments are still proceeding, reducing an even more endangered koala population some five years after they were granted protection under federal legislation.

It was common knowledge among developers and planners that this legislation was coming into effect at least two months in advance, so there was a major push to lodge development documents before the legislation was in effect, so as not to be caught under those restrictions.

Five years on, these developments are still in play and the koala population is even further reduced than it was back in April 2012.

We need to further enable this legislation with a sunset clause – namely that after, say, three years, a development lodged prior to the legislation must be considered under that legislation regardless.

This is the only way we can seriously protect our koalas and other unique native fauna and environments.

I live outside Pyramul, where koalas thrive and breed in remnant White Box, Yellow Box and Blakely’s Red Gum woodland – an endangered ecological community of which only three per cent remains in NSW from its original extent.

We have a development proposal waiting for federal approval to remove over 100 hectares of forest from here, including koala habitat.

The Crudine Ridge Windfarm proposal was lodged in February 2012, yet did not put in its environmental report until September 2012.

These ecological reports take surveys in both spring and autumn, but this one, to my reading, did not.

How can a proposal be lodged saying there was no koala habitat of consequence in February when the pertinent report was not lodged until over six months later, unless it was to avoid that legislation of April 2012?

Please close this loophole and save our koalas and other threatened species,

Otherwise they will go the way of the extinct Tasmanian Tiger and we will only be able to see them on grainy film or stuffed in museums.

Ingrid Saywell,

Pyramul

Motorists will pay price for abrupt end to upgrade

I NOTICE that there has been considerable discussion regarding the change from four lanes into two at the “new” Great Western Highway upgrade at the bottom of Raglan Hill.

I can very clearly recall speaking with one of the engineers from the NSW Department of Transport, Roads and Marine Services at the time when the upgrade plans were open for public comment and discussion in Bathurst.

I raised this issue with him.

He ruefully replied that the advice his department gave to the government minister was to continue with the four lanes up to the overtaking lanes at Yetholme. 

The estimated cost for the "relatively straightforward job" (his words) was between $10 million and $15 million. 

The advice was ignored.

Road users will pay the penalty for a ministerial lack of foresight in congestion, delays and probably accidents at or before this unfortunately placed road merger.

Geoff Lewis,

Raglan

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