I want to put on the record my condemnation of the abhorrent act of cruelty that lead to a number of koala deaths at Cape Bridgewater in my electorate. Animal cruelty is not acceptable in any instance, and those responsible must face the full brunt of the law. I am pleased that an investigation has been launched, and I want to assure those people who have contacted me as the local member that I will not stop pursuing this matter until those people responsible have been dealt with appropriately.
I also want to take this opportunity to call for better management of koala populations in plantation areas and for better management of private plantations that have been harvested and the land has been handed back to the owner. An issue was flagged with me by a Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning official some 18 months ago that as the harvest progressed the growing koala populations would be forced to move into smaller areas of habitat and may indeed face a shortage of suitable food sources.
I call on the minister to urgently address this situation, to better manage koala populations in plantation areas and to ensure that harvested private plantations then continue to be monitored and regulated in some way. This should never have happened. The eyes of the world are on my electorate for all the wrong reasons—reasons that are abhorrent—because a national emblem has been treated cruelly. I and, I am sure, every member of this place and every member of my community agree that this can never happen again.