This week in committees, we provide updates on site visits from a committee seeking to identify ways to protect at-risk koala populations, and site visits to schools for the inquiry into measurement and outcome-based funding for schools. As always, you can find more information on these and many other inquiries on our website.

 Identifying ways to protect at-risk koala populations

Portfolio Committee No. 7 has been on the road in recent weeks for the inquiry into the protection of koala populations in New South Wales. On Friday 18 October, the committee travelled to Ballina for a public hearing and took evidence from representatives of Ballina, Tweed and Lismore councils, Dr Stephen Phillips of Biolink and Mr David Milledge, as well as key environmental organisations, including the Australian Koala Foundation.

On Friday 25 October, the committee then travelled to Campbelltown where it met with representatives of the Total Environment Centre and Lendlease for a site visit of a residential development planned for land along Appin Road. The committee then held a public hearing at Campbelltown Arts Centre, where it heard from Campbelltown and Wollondilly councils, Lendlease, key environmental organisations such as the Total Environment Centre, Wilton Action Group, Help Save the Wildlife and Bushlands in Campbelltown, Save Mt. Gilead and the Macarthur branch of the National Parks Association, and Dr Stephen Phillips of Biolink.

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The inquiry is looking into the current status of koala populations and their habitat and focusing on the impacts and effectiveness of existing policies relating to land management reform, forestry and the environment. Further hearings are planned for December 2019 and early 2020 – dates and locations will be posted on the website once they become available.

Inquiry tests the case for measurement and outcome-based funding for schools

On 25 October 2019, Portfolio Committee No. 3 – Education visited three schools in Western Sydney identified as best practice schools.

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During the visit, passionate educators shared with the Committee how they help students develop their full potential. They highlighted different aspects that made their school’s unique and how they strive for excellence. Examples include, adopting strategies from experienced global educators to drive a culture of continuous improvement in the quality of teaching; a focus on harmony in a culturally diverse school that extends beyond school hours and supports students’ families; and an emphasis on discipline and evidence based teaching techniques to prepare students for their individual career path.

Yesterday, the committee undertook another visit to schools around Sydney to learn how current education programs prepare our students for the future. On that note, to all the students currently undertaking the High School Certification Exam (from Thursday 17 October to Monday 11 November) and their parents, good luck, while we are doing our bit to study how you study!

3 thoughts on “In Committees – Spotlight on site visits

  1. Koalas are one of the most iconic species in Australia yet we continue to allow their habitat to be devastated for farming and urban sprawl. As a consequence they are in very real danger of becoming extinct on much of their former range. Governments keep talking about striking a balance between conservation and development but in my experience it is all one way. The developer gets what they want and our irreplaceable natural heritage loses. According to the EPA’s latest report only 9% of NSW has natural vegetation in “close to natural condition”. Think about that for a moment, just 9%. And that is only close to natural condition. All the rest is cleared or degraded. It is glaringly apparent that the balance has swung far towards the interests of development and exploitation rather the preservation of our environment. We have reached a situation where every piece of remnant old growth forest and wildlife corridor is critically important and must be preserved. The interests of short term profit have had too much say for too long and need to be moderated to include longer term social values where the needs of future generations are considered. Once habitat is lost it takes decades or centuries to regrow. It is far better to preserve what exists now rather than talking about planting replacement trees that won’t be useful in our lifetimes. Koalas need protection now.

  2. So sad that our councils and state government only looks at the money side of development? We need to preserve our wildlife and protect all our flora. Why can’t we have a green belt? These animals are so delicate and sensitive. We have to stop development in their corridors. Before it’s too late. Help keep our beautiful wildlife safe.

  3. With the current state of fires in NSW Port Macquarie region and the extinction event of our koalas there it would be criminal to proceed with the planned decimation of the Campbelltown Koala population.
    At this early stage 60% of Port Macquaries Koalas are DEAD.
    Do not destroy Campbelltowns.

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