A TWEED conservation group dedicated specifically to protecting the area's koalas is pleading with Tweed Shire Council to set aside funds in its budget for a plan to ensure more koala colonies are not wiped out.
Tweed Koala Incorporated spokeswoman Jenny Hayes said koalas have in recent years completely disappeared from Tweed Heads South, where they were once abundant, and from Chinderah.
But she feared Tweed councillors were not interested in setting aside funding to stop the decline.
“I believe funding is an issue. We need a complete koala plan of management,” said Ms Hayes.
“If not, I am extremely worried about the future of the koala in this area.”
Team Koala has prepared a submission on the Council's draft budget document, which does not set aside funds for such a plan. The submission pleads with the councillors for a change of heart.
Ms Hayes said she was desperately trying to find out which councillors would support a koala management plan, which was first suggested to the Council in 2007 but was shelved due to a lack of funding.
“Team Koala is putting in a submission for money to be put towards the koala plan of management,” she said.
“This should have been done 20 years ago when there were still koalas in South Tweed and Chinderah.
“Back in the '80s there were koalas everywhere in South Tweed. Now you will not see one. How far does the destruction have to go before we say 'let's do something about it'?
“The bottom line is the councillors now have to say we do want money put into the budget on this issue.”
Ms Hayes' group has organised a sign in Murwillumbah's Sunnyside Mall shopping centre, thanking 1500 those who made submissions to the NSW Department of Planning on the proposed Kings Forest township, south of Murwillumbah - many of whom raised concerns about the future of koalas there.
“Team Koala wants to save the koalas not just in Kings Forest but in the whole of the Tweed,” Ms Hayes said.