As if there wasn’t enough bad news around, Council has put on hold a greening strategy for our electorate unlike so many smarter councils, and our koalas are, it seems to the National Party, standing in the way of “progress” while our fearless leader is hell-bent on re-purposing federally funded agencies away from renewables to the fossil horrors, gas and coal.
The manipulation, collusion, pressure and behind the scenes flinging of dollars (“donations”) to achieve one’s ends if you’re part of the big end of town, leaves us small potatoes mourning the diminished forests due to logging and the suffering of wildlife as development moves apace, mowing down all before it.
National Party MP for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead has hit the front pages of the Sydney press by relaying concerns about the new SEP 44 Koala policy to Minister Rob Stokes on behalf of the Stack family who own significant parcels of land in the MidCoast electorate and have been generous donors to the National and Liberal Party at state and federal level.
Commented Mr Bromhead:
“I forwarded Mr Stack’s letter onto Minister Stokes office as he is the relevant minister and that is the protocol.
It was one of many letters that I received about the Koala SEPP and forwarded onto the minister.
Interestingly they chose not to release the correspondence I forwarded from farmers and timber mills which have also written to my office with concerns. I will always forward correspondence received on any topic onto the relevant minister unless my office can answer their query or it has come from a pedoephile or a drug dealer.
Myself and the Nationals are not against the protection of Koalas or even the Koala SEPP we simply want to see it amended to ensure it’s fair and reasonable to farmers, property owners, the forestry industry and everyone in regional NSW.”
Kate Washington, Shadow Minister for Environment and Member for Port Stephens commented :
“It looks like Stephen Bromhead is more concerned with looking after his mates rather than standing up for local koala populations, which we know in our part of the world are already endangered.”
“I don’t think Mr Bromhead is reflecting his community’s priorities by trying to remove koala habitat protections.”
Manufactured Housing Estates
Manufactured Housing Estates, like the proverbial cane toad, are leaching across our countryside. These cheaper, relocatable cheek by jowl homes aimed at the retirement community, are a step up from a caravan park but with a similar business plan returning maximum and significant profits to the operator.
However MHEs in NSW can be erected in all manner of locations not zoned as residential, therefore cheaper to build, yet are allowed in areas not fit to be zoned as permanent home sites, resulting in older residents finding themselves often isolated without transport, facilities and amenities close by.
We have previously discussed the value of building integrated communal living spaces with attractive and varied homes, some units, trees and green space, flat paths, and amenities where aged residents can mingle among young families, retirees and business people in an attractive landscaped setting.
One shudders to think how many koalas, let alone other wildlife and their environment, have been bulldozed over the decades in the so called “development” of our towns, villages and cities in this state. Significant stretches of the mid north coast have been known as koala habitat and home to many now threatened species of plant and animals.
There are better ways of marrying progress and conservation. And with the acceleration of global warming, better ideas and planning are needed.
As many other councils along our coast have concluded, a significant greening strategy is needed to protect us and our environment from the global changes approaching.
Such plans are needed in conjunction with business, government, private and public enterprise and community consultation, to progress positively with business enterprise while protecting our environment.
It is heartening to read of strategies being put in place by other councils. For example, the Central Coast are increasing the level of tree planting in the 18 priority suburbs with the greatest level of Urban Heat by commencing successional planting in Council passive open space reserves; ensuring that public trees that are removed are replaced by planting two new trees in the same suburb; and increasing the requirement of private developers to complete high quality landscaping in medium and high density development through future changes to Council’s Development Control Plan which protects the environment as well as business enterprise.
Other ideas to become a zero-emission, climate-ready city and region are – Create greener community spaces. Contribute to a circular economy by reducing waste. Protect, enhance and restore a region’s biodiversity. Achieve better integrated water management through planning and design.
It’s not rocket science. The biggest obstacle is – greed. Making a fast buck instead of aiming high for the better good of us all; people, animals, our environment, our future.
Frankly, our lives depend on it.