Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Hand Up to Give Council a Hand Out

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Hand Up to Give Council a Hand Out

Article excerpt

I AM the woman who said 'yes' to the special rate variation at the Wyrallah forum (NS 13/3).

I am also the woman who volunteers a conservative 60 hours weekly in my well-earned retirement working for koala conservation across the Northern Rivers, as president of Friends of the Koala, and for broader environmental outcomes in several other positions.

My reason for saying 'yes' to the variation proposal is because I have waited a long time for a council that is concerned about Lismore's natural environment and has the capacity to put forward a change management program which will improve its ecological values.

The environmental component of the variation is $200,000, but only half will be spent on biodiversity and this $100,000 won't go far towards developing and implementing a conservation strategy which will achieve a full survey of the local government area's fauna and flora, a LGA-wide comprehensive koala plan of management, and maintenance and restoration of native vegetation to enhance wildlife corridors and connectivity.

The present environmental protection budget is reportedly $10,000 of the total budget of $107m.

For any work to be done at all depends on successful grant applications to external funding bodies.

Staff dedicated to environmental, including climate change, issues has doubled (or will have when the recent appointments are in place).

More grant applications, plus additional funds in council's own budget, will result in higher amounts being leveraged out of the State and the Feds for local environmental projects.

Friends of the Koala is a voluntary community group with a very long history of working with local government.

Plenty of our volunteers put in extraordinarily long hours to hang on to Lismore's koalas for future generations.

They, and others like them, who willingly give their time and expertise, whether or not they personally stand up to be counted, are the citizens who are looking for council's leadership and guidance in protecting, conserving and enhancing Lismore's natural environment. …

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