‘Lucky’ koala rescued from South Eastern Freeway amid traffic chaos


A koala has made a lucky escape after a dash across Adelaide’s South Eastern Freeway, but SA Police has warned drivers not to rescue animals on busy roads.

Nadia Tugwell told ABC Radio Adelaide the furry creature ended up travelling in her car after several cars collided on the South Eastern Freeway this morning.

Ms Tugwell said she was driving down the freeway when she noticed cars were slowing down, and was about three cars back from the collision.

“I was minding my own business and next minute I see a little koala between the cars and the concrete barrier, right near me,” Ms Tugwell told ABC Radio Adelaide’s Sonya Feldhoff.

“Then I saw a lady running after it with a blanket trying to catch it.”

The two women managed to corner the koala before wrapping it in a jacket and putting it in the back of Ms Tugwell’s 4WD.

Ms Tugwell said she arranged to meet a volunteer from Adelaide Koala Rescue at the service station at the bottom of the freeway.

When she arrived at the service station she checked to see how the koala was doing.

“I was sitting in the driver’s seat waiting for the rescuer to come, and then someone started tapping me on the shoulder.

“That was the koala trying to get between the headrest and the window onto my seat.”

The koala then made itself comfortable clinging onto the steering wheel.

Six cars were involved in the crash and one person was taken to hospital with minor injuries.(ABC News)

Koala escaped injury during the ordeal

Koala Rescue Adelaide volunteer Ann Bigham said the koala came out of the ordeal “scot-free”.

“The koala was in really good condition, it was lucky it hadn’t been hit at all and thanks to the rescuers it was kept safe,” she said.

The koala was set free at a release site about a kilometre away from the freeway.

Inspector Damien Eichner from SA Police said one person was taken to hospital with a sore neck from the impact of crash.

He advised against drivers stopping on the freeway to try and rescue animals themselves.

“Whilst the safety of the animal is important to us, the safety of the people is more important.”

Mr Eichner said that the best course of action if a driver spotted an animal on the freeway was to call the police assistance phone number on 131 444.

He said from there police could check the cameras along the freeway to ascertain the exact location of the animal and manage the traffic accordingly.

At least six cars were believed to be involved in this morning’s collision.

Thank you for dropping by My Local Pages and reading this story on the latest SA news items named “‘Lucky’ koala rescued from South Eastern Freeway amid traffic chaos”. This news update was posted by MyLocalPages as part of our national news services.

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Cuddly Encounter As An Unannounced Guest Is Seen Hanging On A Christmas Tree

Koala

Amanda McCormick, a Coromandel homeowner, told media she was “shocked” to discover a koala sitting in the plastic tree. It was after they returned to their home after a short outing.

Upon entering, they saw a koala perched on the Christmas tree in their lounge room, surrounded by baubles, stars and snowflakes.

“I got home from work and the dog made a beeline for the Christmas tree and I noticed all the decorations on the floor,” Ms McCormick said.

She added “It was interested in something further up and I looked and straight in my face was this beautiful, little gorgeous koala bear. I could not believe it, I was in shock. It was right in my face.”

After a few speculations about how the koala made its way inside, they found out that Ms McCormick’s daughter had left the door open. They revealed that it is unusual for them to leave the door open unless they do it in order to let the dog in and out of the house. 

Ms McCormick called in wildlife rescuers to assist in removing the koala from the Christmas tree but said they initially believed the phone call was a hoax.

“I know what koalas can be like, so I thought, ‘I’ll leave that one to the professionals and get them round. But they didn’t believe me when I rang; they thought it was a prank call’. She spoke.

The koala did not want to leave actually, the family was trying to get her off the tree but they thought she was quite comfortable.

Shortly after, the koala was relocated outside to a nearby tree and has since moved on. Yet, the homeowner believes it may not be their last cuddly encounter. She joked that the koala still might try to get back.

Adelaide family returns home to find koala perched on Christmas tree in lounge room


An Adelaide Hills family has returned to their home after a short outing to find a koala perched on the Christmas tree in their lounge room.

Coromandel Valley home owner Amanda McCormick told ABC Radio Adelaide she was “shocked” to discover the animal sitting in the plastic tree, surrounded by baubles, stars and snowflakes.

“I got home from work and the dog made a beeline for the Christmas tree and I noticed all of the decorations on the floor,” she said.

“I could not believe it, I was in shock. It was right in my face.”

The koala had made its way inside after Ms McCormick’s daughter left the house door open.

“Normally we do [lock the door] but … we left it open just for the dog to go in an out,” she said.

“She went out for a couple of hours and we all came home together and there it was.”

Ms McCormick was “shocked” to find the koala inside her home.(Supplied: Amanda McCormick)

Ms McCormick called in wildlife rescuers to assist in removing the koala from the Christmas tree, but said they initially believed the phone call was a hoax.

“I know what [koalas] can get like so I thought, ‘I’ll leave that one to the professionals and get them round’,” she said.

“She didn’t want to leave actually, they had a bit of a fight trying to get her off the tree. I think she was quite comfortable.”

The koala was relocated outside to a nearby tree and has since moved on.

But Ms McCormick said it may not be the last she sees of the cuddly intruder.

“It’s probably trying to get back, inside to be honest,” she joked.



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Koala makes itself at home in woman’s Christmas tree after ‘wandering in’


There are still 23 days until Christmas, but one koala couldn’t wait — finding a way into a woman’s home in South Australia and making itself comfortable in her Christmas tree.
The Adelaide and Hills Koala Rescue charity shared photos of the animal in its festive new perch this evening.

An Adelaide woman had found the koala nestled among her frosted baubles and snowflake decorations, and called the rescue service for assistance.

This koala ‘wandered’ into a woman’s home in South Australia and made itself comfortable in her Christmas tree. (Facebook)

“But no, a koala desperate to get in the Christmas spirit had wandered into Amanda’s house and decided it wanted to be the fairy on the Christmas tree.”

In comments on the post, rescuers confirmed the koala was a female —who appeared to be quite at home amidst the green (albeit artificial) foliage.

“Koalas are very curious creatures and if the opportunity presents itself, they will investigate,” the team told 9News.com.au.

“We have rescued koalas in chicken coops, bathrooms, open inspections, children’s prams, bicycles, brooms, toy cars … but a Christmas tree is a first for us.”

The best thing to do if you find a koala in your own home, they said, is to call your local koala rescue right away.

The koala appeared quite at home, nestled in the artificial foliage. (Facebook)

The charity, also known as 1300KOALAZ, runs a 24-hour hotline on the same number — rescuing and rehabilitating, and ultimately releasing koalas who’ve found themselves in strife. They explain on their Facebook page that they are volunteer-run, with workers caring for animals in their own homes to avoid extra bills and overheads.

“We also believe in protecting koala habitat and regenerating habitat lost through deforestation or bushfire,” their description adds.

Koala populations across the country were decimated by the nightmare bushfire season.



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Sussan Ley’s latest koala plan is a national disaster


A new plan announced by Sussan Ley indicates the Morrison Government’s refusal to protect koalas and drive them to extinction, writes Sue Arnold.

WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT of her latest plan to “save koalas”, Federal Minister Sussan Ley has confirmed she lives in a different reality. One that is focused on ensuring the only koalas people see, in the looming future, will be in zoos.

In fact, the plan is so deficient that it can only be described as a national disaster. Doling out more taxpayer dollars, Ley announced an $18 million policy — $2 million for a census to establish “baseline” population data, $2 million for koala health research and $14 million for habitat restoration. 

Ms Ley declared:

“This is a line in the sand, we’re ruling a line under where we are on koalas right now. We are doing this because it needs to happen. I’ve been so frustrated that no one could give me the data I needed… it’s just not there — only in patches.”

Unfortunately, the Minister is not alone in her frustration. Ley’s complete and abject failure to take any emergency action to protect a rapidly disappearing beloved species should be grounds to sack the Minister. Except, in reality, she’s just doing Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s bidding.

You know, the PM who famously said at the G20 meeting that world leaders must safeguard the planet for the generations to come.

How much spin can the public stand?

Ley went further with the latest effort:

Launching the initiative at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, Minister Ley said the koala audit would help direct Commonwealth, state and private funding to where it will achieve the most good for the species.

 

“For all our focus on koalas, scientists are telling us that there is a serious lack of data about where populations actually are, how they are faring and the best ways to help them recover after the devastating bushfires,” Minister Ley said.

 

“$2 million from this package will be devoted to filling those gaps, identifying where koala habitat areas can be expanded and establishing an annual monitoring program.

 

“Taronga Zoo is a shining example of what can be achieved, where staff are utilising Australian Government funding to identify emerging risks following the fires, develop captive breeding programs and build future bushfire response capacity from animal collection to the upskilling of veterinary teams.”

In April, Ley provided Australia’s zoos and aquariums with a $94.6 million support package:

While COVID-19 may be keeping visitors away, zookeepers, aquarium owners and veterinarians continue to play a lead role in wildlife recovery after the bushfires, from treatment and rehabilitation to the development of insurance populations.

 

At the same time, they are caring for millions of animals who live permanently within their network and this is critical funding to support the welfare of those animals along with the vital ongoing role zoos play in conserving our environment and protecting native species.

Imagine how much habitat $94.6 million would have acquired.

Sussan Ley's approval of quarry development set to destroy koala habitat

 But let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

No information has been provided on where any $2 million census will be carried out. Given that koalas are found in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia, $2 million will not cut the mustard. Nor do we know who will be in charge or how such a census would be undertaken.

$2 million for koala research? Millions and millions of dollars have been granted to various scientists and institutions to find a cure for chlamydia, a disease caused by stress, resulting in a diminished immune system and high mortality.

No cure has been found. The cause is clear — the destruction of habitat.

$18 million for habitat restoration? Where? Is this a tree-planting exercise? Koala tree seedlings take seven years to be suitable for feed and shelter needs.

If the $18 million is to acquire habitat, the amount is insignificant.

What’s happened to the National Koala Recovery Plan which was required after NSW, Queensland and A.C.T. koalas were designated as vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act in 2012.

The Recovery Plan is now eight years overdue.

Ley doesn’t have the data to inform the location of koalas, yet every state government with koalas has mapping, extensive studies pre and post the catastrophic bushfires.

A quick check of her approvals given to development projects which destroy koala habitat would provide excellent baseline data.

Sussan Ley's largesse: Koalas failed to make the grade

Ley could review the various roundtable meetings she set up post the bushfires which provided exquisite detail of where the worst damage occurred.

Climate change impacts have, as usual, been ignored in spite of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature designating the koala as one of ten global species most vulnerable to climate change.

In NSW, unburned forests which are the remaining koala hubs (identified by the NSW Government) are being bulldozed. Perhaps Ley has forgotten that under the Regional Forest Agreements, no legal challenges are permitted so koalas and wildlife just keeping dying.

Has the Minister not been advised that developers can self refer their projects to the Federal Government? Or that the federal koala referral guidelines are not mandatory?

Has the amendment legislation to the EPBC Act – soon to be voted on in the Senate – handing over approval for major projects to the states slipped her mind?

What about the Common Assessment Method which prohibits any regional protection of listed wildlife species?

Can she explain why the wildlife and habitat bushfire recovery program grants of $12 million were not allocated to koala conservation?

How about an explanation as to why a scientific submission currently being assessed by the Threatened Species Scientific Committee to upgrade koalas to endangered status in NSW, Queensland and A.C.T. will not be decided until October 2021?

How about the recommendations by the interim report on the independent review of the EPBC Act by Professor Graeme Samuel? Can Ley explain why the recommendations have been completely ignored?

Berejiklian Government backs koala extinction plan for Campbelltown

Of course, it would be nice to know how Ley managed to approve the Brandy Hill Quarry extension, which will see 52 hectares of koala habitat eradicated, a couple of weeks before her koala plan announcement.

And to top it all off, the Chair of the Threatened Species Scientific Committee, Professor Helene Marsh, is reported in the press saying:

‘…there are “lots of places where koalas occur where we know very, very little” about the species and the census was a “very significant move by the Minister”.’

Actually, the scientific community, conservation organisations, wildlife shelters and governments know exactly where koalas are located. Baseline data is also available on the Federal Government’s Species Profile and Threats Database.

There is a number of reports available which detail the extent of damage to koalas and their habitats provided by the independent expert panel on bushfire recovery convened by Ley in January. The reports stress the importance of emergency action.

Unfortunately, there are no emergency provisions in the EPBC Act or any state legislation.  

Sussan Ley’s koala plan is a sick joke. The plan is an indication of the Morrison Government’s ongoing refusal to protect Australia’s iconic, irreplaceable species.

By far the worst outcome of this latest propaganda is an obvious conclusion.

There’s no end to this obscene game plan other than extinction.

Sue Arnold is an IA columnist and freelance investigative journalist. You can follow Sue on Twitter @koalacrisis.

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KOALA WARS: Everybody claims victory in frantic final day


AS ANOTHER stunning chapter in the Koala SEPP tale is written, landholders can now go back to developing like it is 1995.

On Thursday night, Liberal MP Catherine Cusack crossed the floor to seal defeat for the Coalition’s own land management bill, paving the way for Premier Gladys Berejiklian to announce the NSW Government would revert to an expired koala protection bill written 25 years ago.

The State Environment Planning Policy 44, was replaced in March by the Koala Habitat Protection SEPP, prompting a National Party revolt led by Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis and Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh.

Concerned over the impact the new planning laws would have on the agriculture and forestry sector, the Nationals secured a compromise which some politicians and conservation groups said went much further than simply modifying the SEPP.

Lennox Head resident and NSW MLC Catherine Cusack.

In a speech to parliament, Ms Cusack said the Bill was an attempt to “patch up a political disagreement” that was “too costly if it came at the expense of koalas” – a view not shared by Mr Singh nor Mr Gulaptis.

“I think it’s probably a good result for farmers and not a good result for koala protection because we are seeing protections in the new SEPP now no longer going ahead – and they were protections we were happy with,” Mr Singh said.

“I don’t begrudge (Ms Cusack) having a position on this and voting with what she feels, that is the right of every elected parliamentarian.”

Despite threatening to move to the crossbench over his government’s own policy in September, Mr Singh laid the blame for the policy failure squarely at the feet of Labor and the Greens who, together with Ms Cusack, voted to have the LLS Bill referred to a committee for inquiry – a committee which Mr Singh said was “partisan”.

Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh.

Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh.

“Last night’s result is not a good thing for koalas and I hope the Greens are able to reflect on what they have done,” he said.

“We were at a position that protected threatened species on private land that we were happy with … and all of those concessions now will be lost.

“Next year we will need to have policies that protect koalas but that also protect the rights of farmers to continue farming without being impeded by onerous laws like the original koala SEPP was proposing.”

Greens MP and committee chair Cate Faehrmann said the bill was a “gross overreach” by the National Party which resembled “the forestry and big agriculture industry’s wish list come true”.

“What has become increasingly clear is that this bill isn’t about the koala SEPP,” she said.

“The National Party seemed to have concocted the crisis around the koala SEPP in order to progress their agenda to remove the government’s regulatory oversight of environmental protections on rural land – period.

“Sending this bill off to an inquiry is the best outcome and what better committee to examine this bill than the one that just wrapped up its landmark inquiry into koala populations.”

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann.

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann.

North East Forest Alliance’s Dailan Pugh agreed, and said the alliance “sincerely thanks Liberal Catherine Cusack for coming to the rescue of koalas”.

“While Premier Gladys Berejiklian claimed to stand strong, she effectively capitulated to the Nationals’ demands by narrowing the definition of core koala habitat in the koala SEPP to make it harder to identify core koala habitat, and then gave the Nationals free reign to make dramatic changes to the Local Land Services Act,” he said.

“Catherine Cusack has shown she has enough integrity to stand up against National Party bullying for the survival of koalas by moving to refer this bill back to the koala committee.

“She is the saviour for the 67 per cent of koalas that live on private lands.”

As the first MP to publicly state his intention to move to the crossbench in September, Mr Gulaptis rejected claims of overreach and said their failed bill was “as good an outcome as you could expect from adopting a poor policy in the first instance”.

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian with NSW RFS volunteers. Photo: Bill North / The Daily Examiner

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian with NSW RFS volunteers. Photo: Bill North / The Daily Examiner

Mr Gulaptis said sections of the farming and forestry industry were unfairly targeted as “koala killers” when it had been bushfires contributing to so much of the species’ decline.

“It is certainly a good result for the farmers but, quite frankly, it is not going to be too deleterious to the koalas because at the end of the day we saw what happened when we had the hot bushfires,” he said.

“When we are destroying 30-40 per cent of our koalas in a hot bushfire shouldn’t we be preventing hot bushfires?

“(The koala SEPP) was a clumsy instrument and it was never going do what it intended to do.

“Now we have a chance to prepare an instrument that does protect koalas without imposing unfair restrictions on other industries.”





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Gladys Berejiklian sacks parliamentary secretary after she voted against revised NSW koala bill

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has sacked one of her own party’s parliamentary secretaries after the Liberal MP voted against a compromise bill on koala protection.

Catherine Cusack on Thursday told the upper house she could not back the land management bill negotiated with the Nationals, who had threatened to split from the government over the koala policy.

The upper house MP instead moved an amendment to send the controversial changes to a committee for further scrutiny. The amendment was backed 19 votes to 18, effectively delaying a vote on the bill until next year.

Her stance puts in jeopardy a truce on koala protection policy, which had threatened to tear the NSW coalition government apart.

The premier immediately sacked Ms Cusack as a parliamentary secretary after the vote.

“Following her decision today to move a non-government amendment to a government bill, I have made the decision to immediately remove Ms Catherine Cusack as a parliamentary secretary,” a one-line statement from the premier said.

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann, who chairs the NSW upper house Inquiry into koalas, celebrated the vote.

“Fair to say the Nats Koala-Killing bill has been killed! Woot!!” she posted on Twitter.

In September, NSW Nationals leader and deputy premier John Barilaro threatened to blow up the coalition government if concessions weren’t made to rural property owners.

However, the Liberals and Nationals appeared to have reached agreement on koala policy last month.

“I always predicted we would get it to a very good outcome and I’m really happy with where we’ve landed,” Ms Berejiklian said at the time.

In a statement issued late on Thursday night, Mr Barilaro and Ms Berejiklian said they would revisit the koala policy next year.

“Our farmers deserve certainty and they do not deserve to be held to ransom by a Greens-controlled inquiry,” they said.

“The Premier and the Deputy Premier have agreed the NSW Government will revert to operations under the former SEPP 44 by the end of the month and in the new year we will develop a policy to protect koalas and the interests of farmers.”



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NSW koala bill dumped after Liberal MP Catherine Cusack votes against Government


The controversial koala bill that previously threatened to split the NSW Coalition has been scrapped.

Just months ago, the policy jeopardised the unity of the Coalition when Nationals Leader John Barilaro threatened to move to the crossbench, claiming the new protections went “too far” in favour of koalas.

Rather than have the bill examined by a parliamentary inquiry, the Government made the snap decision tonight to dump the legislation altogether.

This follows more than six months of negotiations between Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Mr Barilaro to find a balance between koala protection and land rights.

During debate in the Upper House, a vote was put forward to refer the koala bill to a committee which triggers a parliamentary inquiry.

Liberal MP Catherine Cusack crossed the floor and voted with Labor, the Greens, the Animal Justice Party and Independent Justin Field in favour of the inquiry.

Ms Cusack’s vote was the decider, leaving the Liberals, Nationals, Fred Nile and One Nation one vote short.

The ABC understands Ms Berejiklian personally tried to persuade Ms Cusack from voting against the Government, but ultimately failed.

Ms Cusack was subsequently sacked as parliamentary secretary.

“Following her decision today to move a non-Government amendment to a Government bill, I have made the decision to immediately remove Ms Catherine Cusack as a Parliamentary Secretary,” Ms Berejiklian said in a statement.

Gladys Berejiklian (L) sacked Catherine Cusack (R) as parliamentary secretary.(Supplied)

Just months ago, Ms Cusack was a vocal supporter of the Premier when Mr Barilaro publicly declared he would not support Government legislation if the koala bill proceeded.

Ms Cusack accused Mr Barilaro of treating Ms Berejiklian with “extreme contempt” and said his “whole strategy is 100 per cent bullying”.

The Nationals leader eventually backed down when Ms Berejiklian offered an ultimatum — remain in the Government, or give up your ministerial portfolios to sit on the crossbench.

With the bill now dead in the water, the Government will revert to its former policy on land management under the State Environmental Planning Policy despite the fact it has already expired.

“In the new year we will develop a policy to protect koalas and the interests of farmers,” the Premier said.

It’s understood there is now tension between the Premier and Planning Minister Rob Stokes, who had carriage of the now failed bill.

He said the old rules were “rudimentary” and needed modernising.

The NSW Government will now end 2020 back at square one on an issue that threatened to tear it apart just months ago.



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Koala bill block by dissident Liberal prompts NSW Nationals meeting


It is the second time Ms Cusack has lost her role as parliamentary secretary. She resigned as parliamentary secretary for education and the Hunter in 2017 after sending Ms Berejklian a nine-page letter criticising members of her cabinet.

The koala planning policy issue threatened to split the Coalition in September, with National MPs arguing the changes went too far and limited how farmers could use their land. A compromise was reached in October, but Ms Cusack’s decision to vote against the bill threatens those concessions for landowners.

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The plan to amend the Local Land Services Act had already stirred dissent within the Berejiklian government after Planning Minister Rob Stokes, a Liberal, objected to changes inserted by Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall that he deemed to be beyond what had been authorised by cabinet last month.

The office of Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro confirmed the party room was planning to meet this evening at 6.30 pm.

In an emotional speech to parliament, Ms Cusack said there had been a steady “stripping” of environmental controls from the planning and environment portfolios –typically held by Liberals – that had been transferred to the Nationals’ control.

“My faith in the processes has been shattered,” Ms Cusack said, adding her lower house counterparts had voted on a bill that was “not what you thought and intended”.

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann, who chairs a koala inquiry that included Ms Cusack as a member, said it was likely that those support the bill being sent to the committee had the numbers.

The Herald reported on Wednesday, tensions over koala policy threatened to flare up again between the Liberals and the Nationals before Mr Barilaro intervened in support of Mr Stokes’s concern about unsanctioned provisions being added to the bill that Liberals voted on before they realised their impact.

In particular, Mr Stokes is understood to have objected to additional “allowables” that would have removed the need for farmers to gain planning consent for their activities even if they involved destroying endangered ecological communities.

“What has become increasingly clear is that this bill isn’t about the koala [state environmental planning policy or SEPP],” Ms Faehrmann said. “The National Party seemed to have concocted the crisis around the koala SEPP in order to progress their agenda to remove the government’s regulatory oversight of environmental protections on rural land – period.

Ms Cusack had come under intense pressure to reverse course and support the bill. She said she received a flood of support for koala protections and had “not had one person” support it.

“I apologise to the Premier, my party and our coalition partners” for opting to break ranks, Ms Cusack said in her speech.

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