Advocates and councillors push for better koala protections

Wildlife activists and Wollondilly councillors have a clear message for the state government – save our koalas.

Ricardo Lonza, admin of the popular Facebook page ‘Help Save the Wildlife and Bushlands in Campbelltown', is an animal rescuer and has organised a peaceful rally next weekend.

Wollondilly councillors will attend the rally to strengthen their ongoing campaign urging politicians to better protect the region’s disease-free koalas.

A council petition is being circulated around the shire calling for koala corridors to be preserved and it has already been signed by hundreds of locals.

A council-organised koala forum will also be held later this year to bring together experts and representative from state government departments and agencies to start planning for a koala policy in the region.

“I praise Wollondilly Council for what it is doing,” Mr Lonza said.

“I wish Campbelltown and Liverpool councils would make noise like Wollondilly.

“Wollondilly Council has stood up to the government to protect the disease-free koala colonies.”

Wollondilly Council slammed the Department of Planning and Environment’s decision to rezone land at Wilton South East Precinct.

Councillors are concerned the koala population will be “decimated” because the development is proposed to cut through Allen’s Creek Corridor at Wilton, which is a significant corridor for Wollondilly’s koala population.

Mr Lonza said the rally was another chance for locals to have their voices heard.

He said everyone should come to the rally armed with signs and placards to be a “voice for the voiceless”.

“Between 2015 and 2018, 21 koalas have been killed by cars on Appin Road,” Mr Lonza said.

“Appin Road needs wildlife fences on both sides, it needs overpasses and underpasses and wildlife corridors where the koalas live to be protected from development.

“I want people to come out and voice their opinions and concerns.”

Mr Lonza said social media had helped spread advocates’ message, and koala deaths had been well publicised on Facebook.

“There was a beautiful healthy male found in Appin this week and an hour and half later he had been killed on Appin Road,” he said.

“After a photo was taken, WIRES volunteers came out to find him 10 metres up in a tree. There was no way of getting him.

“The koala then obviously came down when no one was there and was hit.

“The community are unhappy the government does not care about protecting the koalas.”

Mr Lonza said Animal Justice Party NSW MP Mark Pearson would speak at the rally, as would National Parks Association member Pat Durman. Local koala advocate Nea Makowski and others will speak at the event. 

Cranky Koala will be there dressed in a koala suit.

“Parents should make signs and kids should bring toy koalas,” Mr Lonza said.

There will also be a coffee van and sausage sizzle.

The rally is sponsored by Sports Magic.

The rally on Sunday, June 3 will be held at Oswald Reserve, Rosemeadow from 10.30am.