Nats say Pacific Hwy upgrade won't endanger koala colonys
THE Nationals are standing by their promise upgrades to the Pacific Hwy will not harm a koala colony in Ballina - but details of how damage will be avoided remain scant.
Labor MP Penny Sharpe told parliament the highway's construction would endanger the dwindling koala population, following reports the route would separate three known areas of koala activity and require widespread clearing of habitat.
The Federal Government has already imposed conditions on the highway's construction, including revegetation measures and installing barriers along the road to stop the animals from crossing.
Ms Sharpe called on the Baird Government to make public its response to the conditions once a final report has been completed for "public and scientific comment".
Roads Minister Duncan Gay assured the Opposition that was the plan all along.
"Not only are we doing those things, we are way on top of this issue," he said.
"We have put an expert committee in place to oversee this work. Some of the finest intellectual minds in this country are watching over it.
"There are no tougher rules anywhere in the country than there are on this section of the Pacific Hwy.
"We will be doing everything we can to protect the koalas and enhance their ability to survive."