PO Box A96, Sydney South NSW 1235 Ph: (02) 9233 4660 Fax: (02) 9233 4880

Media Release 10 February 1997

Wedderburn Koalas : Landmark Decision By Minister

The National Parks Association today welcomed the decision by the Minister for Planning, Craig Knowles, which rejects a rezoning proposal for rural residential development over a key koala area on the Wedderburn Plateau.

NPA’s Executive Officer Noel Plumb said "This is a landmark decision which gives a hopeful signal that other koala populations on the east coast can be protected from urban development. The Minister is to be congratulated on a decision which effectively says ‘no’ to development because of the risk to the koalas and other threatened wildlife on the plateau."

The prosed rezoning has been opposed by local environment groups, including the Macarthur Branch of the NPA and G.R.E.A.T (Georges River Environmental Action Team) since 1992 when Campbelltown City Council first exhibited the rezoning plan.

Ms Pat Durman, President of NPA Macarthur Branch said "The Minister has made a well informed decision based on expert advice from many quarters, including his own Department, the Department of Agriculture, the Australian Koala Foundation and expert fauna consultants."

"Credit must be given to those Campbelltown Councillors who consistently opposed the development of the Plateau, although unfortunately in the minority. This decision has vindicated them and the broad community opinion which has overwhelmingly supported protection of the koalas and the other significant environmental values of the Plateau."

Mr Plumb commented "The Wedderburn koalas are not yet ‘out of the woods’. Their core bushland habitat is not fully protected by a conservation reserve and the Howard Government’s proposal to site a second airport at Holsworthy would isolate them and reduce their ability to survive in the longer term. Nevertheless, this is an important decision and we congratulate the Minister."

For further comment : Noel Plumb 02 9233 4660 or 018 975 075 m, or Pat Durman 046 341 359