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Crossing to the crossbench for local communities

Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis is threatening to move to the crossbench to support the regional communities he represents.

The announcement comes after Mr Gulaptis made it clear he does not support the new Koala Habitat Protection State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP), that was introduced by the NSW Government in March.

Describing the SEPP as “ill-founded”, Mr Gulaptis said he “will not be part of a Government that is responsible for destroying rural businesses, throwing country workers on the scrapheap and killing regional communities”.

“The SEPP essentially determines every part of the state as koala habitat,” he said.

“It sterilises all private land in regional NSW as koala habitat, with the onus put on the landowner to undertake an ecological study to prove otherwise.

“The irony is that we have koalas in the region because we have protected them for the past 200 years and now we have a policy developed in the city, where they have annihilated their koala colonies, dictating how best to protect this iconic species.

“I love koalas just like everybody else, but I can’t support a policy that targets rural industries and decimates regional communities without protecting koalas.”

Mr Gulaptis is hopeful a review of the SEPP guidelines can reach a compromise where koalas can be protected without impacting on the rural businesses needed to sustain regional communities.

If no positive outcome is achieved, Mr Gulaptis is prepared to move to the crossbench.

“I will still be a member of the NSW Nationals, but the NSW Government cannot rely on my vote for every piece of legislation introduced into the House,” he said.

“I won’t stand by and see regional communities and livelihoods decimated.

“I was elected to Parliament to represent my community and I will always stand up for and put my community first.”

Chris Gulaptis MP and the Nationals declare war on koalas: