Premier sacks Lib after koala law vote fails

 

Changes to planning rules designed to protect koala habitats - which almost ripped apart The Coalition government - will be dumped after Premier Gladys Berejiklian sacked Liberal Catherine Cusack as parliamentary secretary for voting against the government bill.

The situation exploded when Ms Cusack voted against the government to send the bill to a committee for further discussion, effectively delaying a vote on it until next year.

 

Catherine Cusack has been sacked as parliamentary secretary. Picture: Richard Dobson
Catherine Cusack has been sacked as parliamentary secretary. Picture: Richard Dobson

Ms Cusack's decision prompted threats of "war" from angry Nationals MPs.

Last night, Ms Berejiklian sacked Ms Cusack over her rogue decision.

"Following her decision today to move a non-government amendment to a government bill, I have made the decision to immediately remove Ms Catherine Cusack as a parliamentary secretary,'' the Premier said.

In a statement issued late on Thursday night, NSW Nationals leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Ms Berejiklian said they would revisit the koala policy next year.

"Our farmers deserve certainty and they do not deserve to be held to ransom by a Greens-controlled inquiry," they said.

"The Premier and the Deputy Premier have agreed the NSW government will revert to operations under the former SEPP 44 by the end of the month, and in the new year we will develop a policy to protect koalas and the interests of farmers."

 

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the koala protection policy would be revisited in 2021. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Jeremy Piper
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the koala protection policy would be revisited in 2021. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Jeremy Piper

Ms Cusack voted to send the bill to an upper house committee headed by Greens MP Cate Faehrmann because she said it did not do enough to protect koala habitat.

Introducing her amendment, Ms Cusack said her "faith" in government processes had been "shattered".

She said her position - to delay the bill by sending it to a committee - "inflicts enormous harm" on her relationships with cabinet friends.

"I cannot say how sad and sorry I am to be doing this. I apologise to the Premier, my party and our Coalition partners," she said.

Ms Faehrmann celebrated the vote. "Fair to say the Nats Koala-Killing bill has been killed! Woot!!" she posted on Twitter.

Koala protection rules - which Nationals say unfairly restrict rights of farmers - threatened to bring down the government when the Nationals declared they would "effectively" sit on the cross bench if their concerns were not addressed.

Ms Berejiklian threatened to sack Nationals from the ministry if they voted against the government.

Originally published as Premier sacks Lib after koala law vote fails


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