Greens Senator’s ‘Batty’ Plan to Bulldoze Trees for Financial Gain

Native species face axe in luxury housing estate plan

Wed 12 Jul 23


In a hypocritical grab-for-profit decision, Greens Deputy Leader Mehreen Faruqi plans to bulldoze up to 30 native trees, including a species that provides crucial wildlife habitat, to develop her Port Macquarie investment property.

The Green’s ‘Save the Trees’ campaigner intends to build three luxury townhouses after she removes the trees and sub-divides the property, documents show.

Plans approved by the Port Macquarie Hastings Council in May show an existing four-bedroom home on the 134 sq m block will also be demolished as part of the $1.5 million development project.

“Up to 20 native trees and shrubs will require removal,” says the council.

Among those for the axe are a hollow-bearing tree, which provides habitat for animals such as microbats.

Senator Faruqi and her husband bought the home in 2001 for $250,000, which was rented.

The Greens deputy leader and her husband will knock down 20 trees at her investment property (pictured) and subdivide it

Mainstream media last week revealed Greens MPs and senators who blocked a government plan to build 30,000 social houses own 27 properties between just 15 of them.

Port Macquarie boasts one of NSW’s biggest populations of koalas – about 2000 of them live there – and hosts one of Australia’s best-known koala hospitals. 

Footage courtesy of @koalahospitalportmacquarie7670.

Land clearing is one of the key reasons why the endangered marsupial is under threat, with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment saying they are on target to be extinct in the wild by 2050. 

An ecological assessment for Ms Faruqi’s development application found no koala food trees on the site.

However, several ‘reasonably fresh’ koala droppings were found on the property’s boundary.

The study found the development is ‘unlikely to have any significant adverse impacts on the local population’ but noted the greater area ‘contains a potential foraging resource’.

The Faruqi investment property near Lighthouse Beach is more upmarket, where houses near the water typically sell at prices in the seven figures. 

Ms Faruqi has previously been critical of past state governments allowing native forests to be logged and koala habitats to be cleared.

As a state upper house MP in 2016, she opposed the duplication of the Pacific Highway on the NSW north coast because a koala habitat would have been cleared.

She insisted the then NSW Coalition government headed by Mike Baird consider alternate options for the highway route.

‘Koala populations around the state are in decline, with NSW koala numbers plummeting by a third since 1990,’ she said. 

“We have to be smarter than this and not make lazy decisions that jeopardise their future.”

Only a month ago, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) instructed the Forestry Corporation to stop work, “which was a temporary victory,” said forest defenders.

The EPA was carrying out its investigation into breaches that have since been upheld.

Greens MP and spokesperson for the environment Sue Higginson said, ‘It is time we finally bring these conflicts to a close and end logging our public native forests.

“The ongoing resources being poured into logging, EPA investigations, courts and legal resources used to prosecute protestors and the fines that Forestry Corporation regularly pays out of the public purse is getting ridiculous.”


  • Jim Bowden

    Jim Bowden, senior editor and co-publisher of Wood Central. Jim brings 50-plus years’ experience in agriculture and timber journalism. Since he founded Australian Timberman in 1977, he has been devoted to the forest industry – with a passion.


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