Chris Gulaptis

STATEMENT FROM NSW NATIONALS MEMBER FOR CLARENCE CHRIS GULAPTIS MP

I want to put on the record that I do not support the new Koala Habitat Protection State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) that was introduced by the NSW Government in March of this year.

I love koalas just like everybody else, but I can’t support a policy that targets rural industries and decimates regional communities without protecting koalas.

The new SEPP is ill-founded and essentially determines every part of NSW is koala habitat. It essentially sterilises all private land in regional NSW as koala habitat with the onus put on the landowner to undertake an ecological study to prove otherwise.

The irony is that we have koalas in the region because we have protected them for the past 200 years and now we have a policy developed in the city, where they have annihilated their koala colonies, dictating to us on how best to protect this iconic species.

I will not be a part of a Government that is responsible for destroying rural businesses, throwing country workers on the scrapheap and killing regional communities.

I am hopeful that a review of the Koala SEPP guidelines can reach a compromise whereby koalas can be protected without impacting on the rural businesses we need to sustain our regional communities.

In the event that no positive outcome is achieved, I am prepared to move to the crossbench. I will still be a member of the NSW Nationals but the NSW Government cannot rely on my vote for every piece of legislation introduced into the House.

This is such a significant issue for me electorate I have to draw a line in the sand. I won’t stand by and see regional communities and livelihoods decimated.

I was elected to Parliament to represent my community and I will always stand up for and put my community first.