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Environment minister meets our koalas, but will he help protect them?

With massive growth on the way, getting the balance right between development and protection of the natural bushland and the wildlife around Campbelltown looms as a massive challenge.

There’s our koala colony to start with, stretching from Appin Road to Glenfield.

Pristine bushland east and south of Campbelltown will also come under pressure when new housing comes on board over the next 15 years which will almost double the current population.

That’s why Dr Mike Freelander, the federal member for Macarthur, says he has been keen to show environment ministers, state and federal, what’s at stake.

In August he asked the NSW environment minister, Matt Kean to come out for a look.

Dr Freelander says he was pleased Mr Kean was willing to accept his offer to go on an inspection tour of some of Campbelltown’s stand out bushland areas.

Eye opener: The Member for Macarthur, Dr Mike Freelander, right, with NSW environment minister Matt Kean and other MPs at Gilead Homestead last week.

“I sought to provide the minister with an insight into the challenges that our local environment faces in the wake of rampant development, as well as the challenges our unique local koala population face,” Dr Freelander said.

The pair participated in a tour with the Total Environment Centre, visiting Beulah, Gilead, Noorumba and Browns Bush to examine the local koala population and consider potential future development in the area.

They were joined by a number of their state parliamentary colleagues, including Greg Warren (Campbelltown), Nat Smith (Wollondilly), Peter Sidgreaves (Camden), Melanie Gibbons (Holsworthy) and One Nation upper house MP Mark Latham.

“In limited time we saw a female koala with a joey and a large black snake in the Beulah and Mt Gilead homesteads,’’ Dr Freelander said.

“Over a number of years I have tried to get state and federal environment ministers to come and see what a magnificent area we have around Appin and Campbelltown and at last we have a minister who has come and who understands the issues.

“I ask that no further development occurs until we have a koala and wildlife national park in the area and appropriate protection fencing and movement under or over passes on Appin Road.’’

With massive housing development about to start in Gilead, Appin Road will eventually become a four lane road and there are concerns that without over and underpasses more koalas will become road kill.

“I am firmly of the belief that we need to halt all development along this corridor until adequate protections are put in place,” Dr Freelander said.

“Our region’s flora, fauna and heritage desperately needs to be protected.

 “I welcome the minister’s willingness to work together on this issue.

“Local councillors, State MPs and Federal MPs must protect our environment for future generations,’’ Dr Freelander said.

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