Letter: Koalas on the brink

Going, going, gone. Port Macquarie koalas on the brink.

Those who love the bushland and wildlife of the Port Macquarie region should be appalled by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s support for the destruction of 100 hectares of koala habitat to expand the airport.

Port Macquarie’s koala population is collapsing and predicted to be extinct in just 50 years.

Supporters of this thoroughly bad idea might say biodiversity offsetting will compensate for the losses.

However, offsetting is just the latest form of greenwashing that lets developers and governments bulldoze habitat, regardless of the consequences for koalas and other threatened wildlife.

We published a report earlier this year that examined the performance of biodiversity offsetting in NSW. We found it had been an utter failure.

After more than a decade of these dodgy schemes, the number of plant and animal species threatened with extinction in NSW has climbed past 1000.

The community can have no faith the offsets planned to compensate for the bulldozing of prime and secondary koala habitat and an Endangered Ecological Community in the Port Macquarie region will save the species from local extinction.

If the councillors really care about the local environment, they still have a chance to do the right thing and reject this project, but time is running out.

Daisy Barham

Nature Conservation Council of NSW