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Labor must come clean on koala crisis

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Reports of dozens of dead, injured and dying koalas at a harvested blue gum plantation at Cape Bridgewater are extremely distressing.

Animal cruelty is never acceptable, and whoever is responsible for this atrocity must be held to account.

This is a tragedy that should not have happened in the first place. The Environment Minister says the Andrews Government has now seized the land and taken control of the former plantation, but the damage is done.

The Government must come clean: why wasn’t this site monitored? Had a koala management plan been prepared, and if there was, why didn’t the Andrews Labor Government make sure it was followed? Why did the Government allow a game fence to be constructed, trapping more than 100 koalas inside the cleared plantation?

It’s all very well for Labor’s Minister to say that her department will investigate, but that won’t bring back the koalas that have already died, and it won’t undo the suffering of those that have survived.

Only weeks ago Daniel Andrews dithered on providing aerial food drops for animals suffering starvation in the wake of the bushfires, and now many more have suffered because the Government has failed to enforce its own rules.

It’s clear that far from protecting our native wildlife the negligent actions of the Andrews Government are placing it at risk.