‘They don’t care’: Protesters stand up for threatened wildlife
DOZENS of protesters gathered outside the town hall yesterday morning to fight for the future of endangered wildlife they believe are under threat from development.
Cheered on by the honks of drivers passing by, dozens of protesters from ANARRA and Gympie Koala Action Group waved signs in support of their cause as Gympie councillors met indoors to discuss the fate of controversial environment laws.
ANARRA president Paula Rowlands said they were hoping to stop the council from pushing the decision through without consulting with the community.
"They've done it under the Christmas holidays, they're just slipping it through - thinking we're not going to notice," Ms Rowlands said.
"The bad thing about it is that they've snuck it in, it shouldn't have been done this way.
"We knew as soon as this Mayor came in, this is what would happen."
Ms Rowlands said she invited Mayor Glen Hartwig to her house so he could see her life's work of wildlife rescue.
"They don't pick the koalas off the road," she said.
"They don't care."
The notion was supported by an online petition to stop Gympie council from repealing the region's environment laws; as of yesterday afternoon the petition had more than 600 signatures.
Volunteer Lisa Hopp, who brought a baby possum to the protest, said Ms Rowlands has dedicated her whole life to protecting and saving wildlife.
"Her home is full of animals and they just decide in one sitting to take (the land protection) down," Ms Hopp said.
"We've got about 40 joeys at the moment that we feed.
"It's tough, it's a lot of work."
Ms Hopp said the decision to allow development of these previously protected areas would create an influx of homeless koalas, making the situation "worse".
"We keep getting them, this doesn't help," she said.
Lesley Swift, who is currently feeding eight joeys by bottle said they are normally found when their mums are hit by a car.
"They're reliant on their months for 18 months to 2 years," Ms Swift said.
"And I've released a lot."
In response to the plans of development, Ms Rowlands said Gympie doesn't have the infrastructure for dozens of new houses to be built.
"There will be two cars in every house, there's something like 60 houses they want to go out there," she said.