Lennox Head resident and NSW MLC Catherine Cusack.
Lennox Head resident and NSW MLC Catherine Cusack.

North Coast politician sinks bill, reignites ‘koala wars’

NORTH Coast based MLC Catherine Cusack has single-handedly re ignited the ‘koala wars’ after scuppering the Local Land Services Bill and being sacked from her parliamentary secretary position for stepping out of line.

However, she is being widely lauded for her conscience stance on koalas, with left leaning politicians and environmentalists applauding her actions.

Ms Cusack’s decision on Thursday night to divert the Land Services Bill to an upper house committee for further review has no doubt rattled the cage of the Nationals, who threatened to split the Coalition over this Bill just months ago.

She crossed the floor and voted with Labor, the Greens, the Animal Justice Party and independent Justin Field in favour of the inquiry.

Her vote was crucial in blocking the bill, which went down 18-19.

The Lennox Head-based MLC gave an emotional speech in the upper house and at times her voice wavered.

She pointed out that it sold out future generations and said the Bill was not what many “thought and intended”

Given Ms Cusack was the shadow Minister the Environment for two years, her stance on koalas should hardly come as a surprise.

After the vote, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian released a statement saying she had removed Ms Cusack as the parliamentary secretary for the cost of living.

He demotion means she takes a pay cut of tens of thousands of dollars.

She has gone to ground today refusing The Northern Star’s request for an interview.

But her actions have been widely supported by politicians from the left and environmentalists.

“Congratulations and thank you to Liberal MLC Catherine Cusack for risking so much to protect koalas,” NSW Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.

“Ms Cusack’s principled stand displayed rare integrity and courage and has come at some personal cost.

“It is far better to go back to the drawing board on koala laws than to accept the Nationals’ koala-killing bill.”

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