The united voice of Wollondilly Council and residents has been heard loud and clear at Parliament House today.
And the message is – save our koalas.
Mayor Judith Hannan presented a petition with 13,158 signatures to Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell in Sydney.
The handover of the petition was the culmination of a concerted campaign from Wollondilly councillors, staff and community members to preserve the area’s unique disease-free koala population and protect their habitat from intrusive development.
The recent decision of the Department of Planning and Environment to rezone the South East Wilton precinct threatens to bisect the southern portion of the Allens Creek, a vital koala corridor.
The council, and the petition, has called on the state government to repeal this rezoning until a local koala protection strategy is in place and there is certainty the habitat will be protected into the future.
The petition is expected to be discussed in Parliament in September or October this year.
Mayor Judith Hannan said the government needed to take this issue seriously as the community had shown they felt very strongly about it.
“The support of people from right across NSW has helped us achieve our goal of well over the 10,000 signatures needed so the issue can be discussed in state Parliament,” she said.
“This amazing result, achieved in less than three months, shows just how committed people are to the future of the Wollondilly koala population.”
Cr Hannan said a community bus full of councillors, staff and residents travelled to Parliament House to meet with Mr Rowell, Campbelltown MP Greg Warren and Macquarie Fields MP Anoulack Chanthivong.
“We did a dance on the front steps of Parliament House, presented the petition to Mr Rowell and I logged it in with Parliament staff.
“We then came downstairs, had more photos and chatted. We also ate Caramello Koalas, had stuffed koalas and gum leaves.
“We got beeps from trucks. It was all good fun.”
Cr Hannan said she hoped the politicians would take the issue seriously and stop the rezoning.
“When the matter is debated, I expect the politicians will all say they want to protect koalas but I don’t know if anything will change,” she said. “I hope it does.”
This was the first petition presented to Parliament from the Wollondilly area.
Councillors, executive and staff thanked everyone who lent their support, got involved in the campaign and signed the petition.
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