Berejiklian sacks Lib MP after koala vote

·2-min read

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has sacked one of her parliamentary secretaries after the Liberal MP voted against a compromise bill on koala protection.

Catherine Cusack on Thursday told the upper house she could not back the land management bill negotiated with the Nationals, who had threatened to split from the government over the koala policy.

The upper house MP instead moved an amendment to send the controversial changes to a committee for further scrutiny. The amendment was backed 19 votes to 18, effectively delaying a vote on the bill until next year.

Her stance puts in jeopardy a truce on koala protection policy, which had threatened to tear the NSW coalition government apart.

The premier immediately dumped Ms Cusack as a parliamentary secretary after the vote.

"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," a one-line statement from the premier said.

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann, who chairs the NSW Upper House Inquiry into Koalas, celebrated the vote.

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

In September NSW Nationals leader and deputy premier John Barilaro threatened to blow up the coalition government if concessions weren't made to rural property owners.

However, the Liberals and Nationals appeared to have reached agreement on koala policy last month.

"I always predicted we would get it to a very good outcome and I'm really happy with where we've landed," Ms Berejiklian said at the time.

In a statement issued late on Thursday night, Mr 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."