It seems to us that the city-based news media give little consideration to fairly representing the views of regional Australia.
Last week, the NSW Nationals Members of Parliament took a stand and have firmly put the controversial State Environmental Planning Policy Koala Habitat Protection (SEPP 44) issue on the Premiers agenda, with an agreement that the issue will be considered by Cabinet in the coming weeks.
While media commentators in Sydney have spun this as a miscalculated back-down, this could not be further from the truth. The current SEPP is not workable and needs amendment. In fact, the Mudgee region falls squarely into area considered core koala habitat, alarmingly impacting property rights, traditional farming practices and the ability for landholders to conduct minor development changes without being swamped in layers of expensive green tape.
The satellite image supplied [see below] is taken from the NSW Government SEPP map identifying koala protected zones. As an example, we have zoomed in on the map to Mudgee Showground and surrounds. The pink shaded sections identify areas of koala protection. Any DA application put forward by a landholder in these areas will trigger a policy alert with a study to be conducted at considerable expense to the landholder that will potentially deflate land values. It is interesting to note that throughout the state, many areas identified in the koala protection map have not seen koalas in over a hundred years.
But let's get one thing straight. The current SEPP is little more than virtue signalling by inner city, latte sipping left greenie elites for whom country people have become a convenient scapegoat for all things environmental.
For the past six months, the NSW Nationals have sought to work collaboratively with the Liberal Party to ensure SEPP 44 does not take away farmers rights. They sought appropriate means to voice the concerns of their electorates. They were ridiculed and dismissed in spite of the coalition agreement, which is supposed to give voice to both urban and regional electorates.
So last week, the NSW Nationals Members of Parliament took a stand. They took a stand for us. They took a stand because, as partners in the coalition, they were not being considered. It was the right thing to do. They stood up for us.
As for the Premier, she would do well to bring to heel those Ministers in her cabinet who are insulting the intelligence of those of us living in regional NSW.
- David Miller Cooyal
- Lloyd Coleman Gulgong
- Grant Gjessing Mudgee
- David Swansson Botobolar
Editor's note: Letter signatory, Lloyd Coleman was a National Party member of the NSW Legislative Council from 1991 to 1995.
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