THE Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley's decision to approve the expansion of Brandy Hill quarry, allowing the destruction of 53 hectares of koala habitat, has caused outrage among environmental campaigners.
The decision has drawn indignation from the local community, celebrities and koala conservation advocates across the country, many using social media to vent their fury.
Ms Ley's Twitter account was trending in Australia on Tuesday alongside the #koalakiller as celebrities joined the online pile-on.
Music legend Jimmy Barnes tweeted an expletive before asking the government to "leave the koalas what little they have left".
- Sussan Ley responds: Brandy Hill decision was based on science, not emotion
High-profile commentator Peter FitzSimons criticised Premier Gladys Berejiklian for attending a press event at a koala hospital in Port Macquarie on the same day Ms Ley made the quarry announcement.
"Premier, PLEASE. You weakened native vegetation laws = land clearing up by 60%. Yr Dep. Premier calls Koalas "tree rats."
"This week announced that 20 hectares of Koala habitat at Appin, 52 hectares at Port Stephens to be cleared.
"But you care for Koalas?"
Comedian Celeste Barber, who had joined the campaign to save the koala habitat earlier in the year, simply retweeted a scathing attack against the minister which read: "Disgraceful, shameful, traitorous...this is a despicable decision at an AUSTRALIAN level."
Colin Hay from band Men At Work had only publicly released a video imploring the refusal of the expansion on Tuesday. He wrote "koalas in New South Wales are on trajectory towards extinction by 2050 unless their habitat is preserved and protected". Within hours of the video going live news of the expansion approval was publicly released.
He was one of many celebrities who joined the video and social media campaign to stop quarry.
Save Port Stephens Koalas campaign manager Victoria Jack said on the group's facebook page that the "grassroots campaign had achieved more than we ever thought possible".
"Sussan Ley's office has been "inundated" with calls and emails.
"Our campaign has been featured in newspapers, radio and television news stories more than 200 times. We crowdfunded an expert report by University of Newcastle scientists, which provided evidence of the presence of breeding koalas near the quarry and the quality of the habitat."
Despite all of the hard work the campaign was unsuccessful in stopping the quarry expansion.
"For now, we want to thank each and every one of you again for the time and effort you've put into supporting this campaign," a statement released on Tuesday said.
"We have not secured the outcome we wanted, but we have shone a spotlight on the need to protect Port Stephens koalas and habitat at a time when koalas are facing extinction in NSW."
- Dive deeper: Port Stephens koalas and the Brandy Hill Quarry expansion:
- Brandy Hill Quarry expansion plans will destroy 50 hectares of koala habitat(January 15, 2020)
- Brandy Hill residents fear for koala population if quarry expands(June 30, 2020)
- Resident bid to save koalas from Brandy Hill Quarry expansion(August 21, 2020)
- Koala experts from University of Newcastle urge government to consider impact on habitat in expansion approval(September 3, 2020)
- Federal government under pressure to reject Brandy Hill quarry expansion(September 6, 2020)
- Brandy Hill Quarry expansion plan delayed, Brandy Hill and Seaham Action Group say proposal could disrupt koala habitat(September 7, 2020)
- Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley visits Brandy Hill and scene of koala controversy(September 30, 2020)
- Save Port Stephens Koalas vows to keep pressure on as Federal Environment Minister delays Brandy Hill quarry decision(October 8, 2020)
- Save Port Stephens Koalas campaign rolls on with Brandy Hill Hanson quarry decision delay(October 8, 2020)