Green army – no help for fires, koalas or government spikes

Described as the cornerstone of the Abbott government’s environmental policies, the federally funded ”green army”, will soon be attempting to enlist 15,000 young people for ‘environmental work’. Exactly how this is to be organised isn’t clear but, the work is manual and includes things like clearing local creeks and waterways, fencing and tree planting.

The east Gippsland fires remain the big issue at a bio-regional scale, although the army won’t be helping to put them out, they have now burned 170,000+ hectares, on various fronts, extending some 600 kilo-metres. Smoke from the fires has filled the sky for several weeks and with luck the cooler weather will keep them under control, apart from the toxic open-cut coal mine fire at Morwell, that may burn for years.

On the NSW north coast, Roads and Maritime Services are planning another Princes Highway deviation through koala habitat. Koala ecologist Dr Steven Phillips was employed, but has recently quit the job surveying a ‘ linch pin’ colony near Ballina. Apparently, his contract was subject to a confidentiality agreement. Hence, talk to the media about how the locations of crossings were “poorly informed” and “a matter of convenience”, along with other negative impacts on the koalas, was not allowed. 


Locally, the silence on koala issues is becoming a little disconcerting, with no information forthcoming from any NSW Government agency. Of course there can be a downside with NSW government information, a bit like the White Stemmed Gum Moth (Chelepteryx collesi) cocoon in the snap above.

Having spun its cocoon, the particularly large one above is 15cm long, the caterpillar sheds its spines and pushes them through the cocoon, creating a pin cushion effect. The spines themselves are sharp and brittle, and carry a toxin that can be quite painful if they break off in skin.

While expecting some mention of what the Government is or will be doing in the future, I’d prefer the version without spikes.

1 comment
  1. Lesley said:

    That’s a huge cocoon and good on Dr Stephen, this confidentiality clause shit is ridiculous perhaps he should lead the green army to prevent further devastation by reluctant conscripts with little knowledge!

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