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FEATURED AUSTRALIA NSW REPORT: Independent MP Judy Hannan Says Gilead Development Threatening Koala Habitat


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Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: June.08: 2023:

#AceNewsDesk – Independent Wollondilly MP Judy Hannan has used one of her first speeches in New South Wales parliament to call out “aggressive” land development threatening endangered koala habitat.

Split image of a woman talking in parliament and koala in tree.
Judy Hannan has urged the state government to stop putting profits ahead of koalas.(Supplied: NSW Parliament/Bill Ellis)none

During Ms Hannan’s campaign for the seat on the south-western fringe of Sydney, she promised to pressure the government to protect the “chlamydia-free and largest recovering koala population in the Sydney basin”.

In parliament on Wednesday night, the MP used a private member’s statement to criticise plans by developer Lendlease at Gilead, in the electorate to her north, Campbelltown.

“The aggressive stance of Lendlease, which is intent on pushing a home into every inch of my electorate, is destroying any hope of preserving these koalas,” Ms Hannan said.

Lendlease has already started work on stage one of the Gilead development, promising 3,300 new homes on land opened up by the former Coalition government for the Greater Macarthur Growth Area.

“Gilead is a beautiful and idyllic area and has been home to koalas that populate the Dharawal lands in my electorate,” Ms Hannan said.

“Unfortunately, these koalas have chosen some trees that are in the way of some profits — at least that is how the developers view them.”Ms Hannan wants stage two of the development to come to a halt.(ABC Illawarra: Justin Huntsdale)none

She said she shared the concerns of the NSW government’s Environment and Heritage Group, “who have stated that the Gilead proposal is inconsistent with the advice of the Office of the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer”.

“It is the right of Lendlease to ask for the area to be concreted for its profits, but it is also our right to fight back against this and say enough is enough,” Ms Hannan said.

She also applauded Australian Ethical Super for its decision to divest any funds in the Lendlease Group.

Ms Hannan called on the Labor government to cease stage two of the Gilead development and review stage one.

In 2018, she presented a petition signed by 13,000 people to state parliament to protect the koala population.

Brendan O’Brien, Lendlease’s NSW head of communities, provided the ABC with the following statement:

Split image of a woman talking in parliament and koala in tree.
Judy Hannan has urged the state government to stop putting profits ahead of koalas.(Supplied: NSW Parliament/Bill Ellis)none

“Stages one and two of our master-planned community in Campbelltown will help to address a critical shortage of new and affordable homes in Sydney while delivering important conservation measures for the local koala population.

“This includes koala corridors that have been assessed as meeting the recommendations of the Chief Scientist in terms of width and connectivity; proposed underpasses and safety upgrades at Appin Road; and plans to increase core koala habitat by 70 hectares over the lifetime of the project — 30 per cent more than what’s there today.

“Every conservation measure we have proposed is fully funded and follows, and often exceeds, the advice of the Chief Scientist’s recommendations — to suggest otherwise is incorrect.”

The NSW Planning and Environment ministers have been contacted for comment.

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