February 28 2011

Brisbane is slowly returning to normal but there are a lot of things that still show us our city was very badly damaged. All the ferry terminals were washed away and the buses are fuller, the roads more clogged, and it is often difficult to get a car park in the city. Everyone’s routine has slightly changed and I imagine it is still just dreadful for those who have lost everything. The flooding occurred all over the country but community spirit continues to be high.

Our friends in Christchurch have just suffered an earthquake, and Cyclone Yasi did a lot of damage north of here. Although these events are now off the front pages, there continues to be enormous changes in people’s lives. It seems to be happening all over the planet. Egypt, Libya, New Zealand - all sorts of unrest, man-made and Mother Nature made.

This morning while listening to people talk about the earthquake I could hear the fear in their voices, and I realised that because we have suffered too, we are able to understand their suffering more. That has to be a good thing. I was so proud of our volunteers who got on planes to help out. They are becoming experts in disasters and were of great help to the New Zealanders.
On a more flippant note, Mr Darcy has to be left at home some days because he cannot come with me on the bus, but as I write he is lying in my office (we had a Board meeting today). I do hope you are enjoying reading his blog as much as he loves writing it. I have found people very encouraging about taking this approach to koalas and dogs. I hope Mr Darcy will inspire people to think about training their dogs and the protection of wildlife.

The Senate Inquiry is now in full swing and we are waiting to find out when the hearings will occur. There were 65 submissions online at present and ours is No. 25. I am slowly reading through all the submissions and some of them, particularly from the development industry, are just quite shocking. When I read the developers think things have to be 'more balanced', I honestly do not know how they can say that when half of the houses that flooded should not have been built on flood plains, should never have been approved, and worse still, were so badly built that they shouldn’t have been built at all.

I long for the opportunity for the Senators on this inquiry to ask questions. How did this happen?

It is very easy for me to draw comparisons between what has happened to our city and the death of thousands of koalas because it is inextricably linked. For the last 15 years developers, particularly here in South East Queensland, have been able to get exactly what they want. It has not been balanced at all. I have watched these guys come in, knock over trees, and build house after house with little or scant regard for the environment or for the people who will live in them. I have heard of houses that were built on flood plains having their slabs cracked - everyone had forgotten that Mother Nature comes and goes at her will.

The earthquake has been called a 'ruthless act of Mother Nature'. Nature isn’t ruthless, it just is, and I think our leaders now and in the past have not been honouring this enough. Perhaps now we will, even though I was listening to a great lecturer who said that it only takes one generation to forget what has come before. This brings to mind what I have learnt from aboriginal elders who told me that no decision can be taken unless you listen to the elders from seven generations past, and also listen to the elders of seven generations into the future. This is an incredible concept when you think about it. As I get older I wish I had spoken to my Mum and Dad a lot more about so many things. I think I have told you before, Mum and Dad saw the last Tasmanian Tiger, Ben, in the Hobart Zoo in 1936. And they always reminded me that extinction is forever.

More and more I see that our world is so linked. The koalas are affected by every decision our political leaders make. And this year 2011, I am determined, as I was in 2010, to show you more of what is happening in the bush.

The Senate document we wrote is the culmination of 25 years of long hard work and we are offering our supporters a chance to become part of koala history by sponsoring a page for $100. If you are able to do this, please click here to choose your page - it is a unique opportunity and we hope you will be able to support this great fundraising initiative by our wonderful Jill Richardson.

There is a lot going on in the next couple of weeks – I am going to Gunnedah to speak at the 'Taste of the Liverpool Plains', I will be meeting with farmers in the western part of Queensland, and hopefully I will be appearing before the Senate Inquiry. I will keep you informed as always.

Thank you so much for your continued support - it allows us to speak out for the koala and we could not do it without you.

Regards, Deborah