Politics

The NSW Government Is Falling Apart Thanks To A Huge Fight Over… Killing Koalas

"Our demands are simple: Gladys must kill a koala on camera."

koala

The NSW government is in big trouble — and it’s all because of the koalas.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian is effectively facing a minority government, after the Nationals announced they would no longer guarantee support for legislation or attend joint partyroom meetings.

It’s a huge escalation in an ongoing fight between the Liberals and the Nationals over a piece of legislation aimed at protecting koalas.

Today Nationals leader (and NSW’s Deputy Premier) John Barilaro said his party would abstain from voting on government bills (unless they affect regional NSW), attend joint partyroom meetings, or attend leadership meetings.

All Nationals MPs will be moving to the crossbench, where minor parties and independents sit in parliament. However, their seven ministers won’t be surrendering their portfolios.

While this isn’t a definitive split in the coalition, without the Nationals’ support the government is going to find it very hard to get things done.

In the Lower House the Liberals have 35 MPs while the Nats have 13 and Labor has 36. In the Upper House the Liberals have 11, the Nats have six and Labor have 14.

What’s The Go With This Legislation?

The Koala Habitat Protection State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) came into effect in March this year.

It attempts to protect koala populations by making it easier for “core koala habitat” to be identified and protected, and restricts land clearing by increasing the number of protected tree species from 10 to up to 65.

The policy was introduced after scientists warned koalas could be extinct in NSW by 2050.

Barilaro has been criticised for “bullying” the premier to try and get the policy overturned.

The Deputy Premier has denied he’s anti-koala — he says the legislation hurts farmers who need to be able to develop their land, and is a “blunt instrument” that is just designed to make “city-centric law makers feel good about themselves”.

“We think a SEPP like this is somehow a way to sanitise the regions, attack the property rights of landholders and do absolutely nothing to support koalas,” he said.

On Tuesday they will introduce a bill to repeal the legislation.