Pacific Highway to roll-out despite koala habitat concerns

NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay has once again been forced to defend the State Government's intention to continue with much-needed upgrades of the Pacific Hwy in a North Coast stretch that is not only popular with motorists but also, koalas.

Since the proposed route between Woodburn and Ballina was listed for public comment in late 2012, many locals raised concerns about the impact the upgrade could have on native animals.

Bringing the issue back before the NSW Upper House this week, Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqui called on Mr Gay to consider the "devastating impact" the proposed route would apparently have on the koala population and to "commit to choosing an alternative route".

Mr Gay insisted the government had already struck a balance between ensuring the safety of drivers along with the future of the koala population.

He said the community was encouraged to examine the submission for the preferred route and the changes that were aimed at "further reducing the impact of the project on native animals and plants".