Obstacles have hampered the development of a key document to help protect our coastal koala population.
Significant legislative changes had a knock-on effect when it came to Port Macquarie-Hastings Council's draft Coastal Koala Plan of Management.
Deputy mayor Lisa Intemann said there were difficulties regarding the hierarchy of legislation and also the change to the koala SEPP (State Environmental Planning Policy).
Therefore, the council will not proceed to the finalisation of the draft Coastal Koala Plan of Management in its current form.
"We will need to change that form in order to conform with these other amendments that have come through from higher legislation," Cr Intemann said.
The council will review its adopted Koala Recovery Strategy, and in due course, consider a recommended work plan which will include the development of a koala plan of management.
The Coastal Koala Plan of Management, when adopted, will address land management and development in coastal koala habitat areas.
The regulatory tool will be used in development assessment.
The council's general manager will write to Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams, in turn asking her to write to Environment Minister Matthew Kean in support of the parliamentary inquiry into NSW koala populations and habitat findings, and in particular, a key finding.
That finding stated "given the scale of loss to koala populations across NSW as a result of the 2019-2020 bushfires, and without urgent government intervention to protect habitat and address all other threats, the koala will become extinct in NSW before 2050".
Cr Intemann said the council must continue to gird its loins and do what it could for this much-beloved species and all of the species that benefited from protecting the koala habitat.
She said councils could only do so much, and if we were serious about saving our koalas, the state government must take take strong, proactive and coordinated action and hopefully keep councils in the loop.
Mayor Peta Pinson said the community looked to council to protect the environment they loved and the species living in that environment.
"It is about finding the balance," she said.
"I don't know what the answer to that is because I find this situation is a bit of a seesaw. It moves in one direction and then comes back in the other.
"I think that really council is piggy-in-the-middle here."
Cr Peter Alley said the council had run into quite a few obstacles with the draft plan, some of which weren't its making, and even as it neared resolving them, the NSW government changed the laws, and he suspected for the better.
The council noted the report information about the hierarchy of legislation which has a direct impact on the draft Coastal Koala Plan of Management, as well as information about the new Koala Habitat Protection SEPP and its implications for the draft plan.
It also noted the information provided in the management of koala populations options paper.
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