Koala experts, rescuers, veterinarians and politicians will come together for a special forum addressing the future care of Macarthur’s disease-free koala colony following last night’s council meeting.
The councillors voted in favour of establishing the Greater Macarthur Koala Partnership Forum to investigate ‘future-proofing’ koala habitat and the potential establishment of a koala hospital and rehabilitation sanctuary.
The decision came after councillor Karen Hunt requested, at the previous meeting, that the council consider holding such a forum.
Cr Hunt told the Advertiser she was glad the forum was well-supported.
“Nobody on the council was against the proposal because we all thought it was a no-brainer,” she said.
“I was really pleased to see the item come before the council so quickly, especially in light of the recent Labor Party election promise that a koala national park and hospital would be coming to Campbelltown.
“I would like to see this organised and up and running as soon as possible.”
Cr Hunt said she hoped the forum would be held before the end of the year.
“If not the before the year’s out, then early next year would be the next best thing,” she said.
“We need to get these people together to come up with a clear plan and strategy of the treatment we need available for our injured koalas.”
The council will invite Wollondilly Council representatives (who recently held their own Save Out Koalas summit), WIRES representatives, local rescue groups, local vets, state and federal agencies, interested Macarthur residents and all local MPs to the forum.
The council report stated the “Greater Macarthur Growth Area was facing considerable urban development challenges that will result in significant future growth for the region, infrastructure upgrades and construction of new transport corridors [and] the future viability of the Campbelltown koala population will rely heavily on designing and implementing effective land use planning in development areas”.
“Consistent with the council’s long-term position and in keeping with its resolution of September 2018 to organise a forum, it is recommended that the council support the creation of a [forum] to further investigate opportunities to support, protect and promote the region’s unique koala population,” it said.
Cr Hunt said she was eagerly awaiting an announcement of the forum date and location.
“We’ll have to watch this space and see what happens.”