The Member for Richmond has again demonstrated her total ignorance of land management and her lack of support for this region’s farmers. I was pleased to vote on legislation that will not only protect our farmers but will also continue to protect koalas and biodiversity on agricultural holdings.

The legislation passed last night simply decoupled the State Environmental Planning Policy (Koala Habitat Protection) from the Local Land Services Act 2013. This Act already provides a strong framework for land management with robust protection of native fauna, and harsh penalties for individuals or corporations who harm a threatened species, including koalas. 

Linking this Act to the SEPP did not provide additional protections for our native fauna but could place additional burdens on primary producers who would have to work under two land management systems. The legislative change I voted for last night means primary producers will continue to be regulated by the Land Services framework rather than by the planning system.

This means that farmers and primary producers can continue to carry out traditional farming practices without added layers of red and green tape. It strikes a balance between protecting core koala habitat and preventing landholders’ property rights being overridden by a planning instrument. This decision will ensure that NSW farmers have the certainty and confidence to make long-term investments, both in their farming endeavours and to ensure improved biodiversity outcomes.

I have worked very hard to secure positive outcomes and a better future for koalas, particularly in this area. In the Tweed we recently added another 89 hectares to expand the koala habitat and corridors, allocated $370,000 to construct a holding facility for the rehabilitation of injured koalas as well as isolation pens for koalas infected with chlamydia, and have planted 1000s of koala food trees.

The Member for Richmond continues to spread lies to distract people from her own failed advocacy for koalas – they don’t even rate a mention in her “hot topics” list and she has failed to secure a single cent of money towards their protection.

Without farmers, we would all go hungry but it seems attention grabbing, hysterical headlines are more important to the Labor Member than ensuring we have effective land management systems.