Seeking information: Koala advocate Jenny Hayes yesterday lodged her own information request.
Seeking information: Koala advocate Jenny Hayes yesterday lodged her own information request. Blainey Woodham

Tweed koala body in spotlight

CAMPAIGNERS for the protection of koalas on the Tweed fear they have been caught up in an information war after being targeted by a mysterious person, or company, using freedom of information laws.

Several residents who applied to join Tweed Shire Council’s koala advisory committee, which is considering the future of koalas at development sites, particularly Kings Forest, say they were targeted in an application made under “government information” legislation, the new title for NSW freedom of information laws which were repealed in July.

They say they were given five days to say why personal information contained in their applications would not be revealed to a mysterious person they fear may be acting for a developer.

One applicant, Tweed’s Team Koala spokeswoman Jenny Hayes, has moved to lodge her own information request to find out who lodged the initial request, after indications it was a firm of solicitors. She hopes to get that information over the Christmas/New Year period.

Ms Hayes said she had been overseas when a council letter arrived giving her five days to object to her application and personal details being released.

She said other people who had applied to be on the committee were upset and are looking to her to find out who wanted their details.

“I urged people to apply for the position and this has been sprung on us. I feel responsible,” Ms Hayes said. “I got back from overseas and was taken aback that my personal, confidential information was released.

“I’m a simple person. You will find my name and number in the book, but still it’s pretty uncomfortable.

“It was not just me. It was everyone who put in an application. Someone out there requested all the information written about us in our submissions.”

Ms Hayes said she understood that once her own request was received the council would give the person five days to respond as to why their information should not be released.

A council spokeswoman confirmed a request had been made for information about the formation of the koala advisory group and said now that the information had been disclosed anyone could request to see it.



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