MEMBER for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams has made a plea directly to the NSW government to purchase a 200 hectare swathe of land in Lake Innes to protect one of the east coast's most unique koala habitats.
The Port Macquarie property, one of the largest prime residential releases left in the region for redevelopment, is currently on the market and borders the Lake Innes Nature Reserve from St Columba Anglican School through to the Lake Innes ruins.
The land sale at 147 The Ruins Way is open to expressions of interest and is broken down into four blocks earmarked for potential residential living, university accommodation, eco-tourism resort development or biodiversity off-setting for development.
The parcel of land is flagged as one of the most unique koala habitats on the east coast of NSW.
It was significantly impacted in the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires.
The Lake Innes Nature Reserve, Innes Peninsula and the area towards Lake Innes Drive is known as a koala hub.
The region is commonly called the engine room and is where the genetic stock of the Port Macquarie, Lake Cathie, Bonny Hills, and to some extent, the Wauchope koalas came from.
The area has a genetically diverse source population of koalas. Genetic diversity is important when it comes to koala population health and resilience.
"We all know the devastating impact that fires had on our local koala population and the fight to save hundreds of koalas which attracted international headlines," Mrs Williams said.
"This is a prime opportunity for the government to protect an area of land that is considered to be one of the last significant koala breeding grounds in the Hastings.
"Port Macquarie has the reputation of being the koala capital of the world and I don't want to miss this chance to enhance preservation measures for this core koala habitat."
Mrs Williams said the state government is committed to securing the future of koala habitat with its NSW Koala Strategy.
"Protecting more habitat will demonstrate our determination to safeguard the species," Mrs Williams said.
"The upgrade of the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie and the development of the Cowarra State Forest Tourism Precinct which will include a wild koala breeding program are fantastic initiatives but there is still more work to do.
"I know our community loves koalas as does the thousands of visitors who flock to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital each year but our expanding urban landscape means we have to focus on protecting their nearby habitat."
Mrs Williams has written to the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Matt Kean requesting the NSW government work urgently to purchase the land.
"I urge the government and the local landowner to negotiate a good outcome for our koalas," Mrs Williams said.
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