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Tuesday, 8 May 2018
Page: 3252


Dr FREELANDER (Macarthur) (13:36): I rise to speak on an issue of great significance to my electorate of Macarthur: the preservation and protection of our koala population. This government can waste billions of dollars giving handouts to big business, and the Berejiklian state government can waste billions of dollars on unnecessary refurbishments and replacements of stadiums, but they can give nothing to the iconic koala population of Macarthur. Given the rapid growth in development in the area, our koala population is at risk.

It may surprise you to know, Deputy Speaker Mitchell, that we have one of the largest disease-free—that is, chlamydia-free—koala populations in Australia, and it is essential that they are protected. I have written to both the state and federal environment ministers but have had no response from them about protecting our iconic koalas. It is just absolutely shameful. Like they've done with infrastructure in south-west Sydney, they give lip service to wanting to do something but actually do nothing in practice. It's not going to be very long before our koala population will disappear because of the rapid and unfettered development without any protections. I urge the state and federal governments to urgently act upon this evolving environmental disaster as soon as possible.