KOALAS are definitely the hot topic of conversation at the moment with the Greens wanting to stop highway construction for them and now the Nationals weighing in with new hot spot signs.
New flashing signs on the Pacific Highway at Wardell south of Ballina will alert drivers to koala 'hot spots' in the area.
Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said 13 of the new signs had been permanently installed to make sure motorists slow down and watch out for koalas on the highway.
"The upgrade is already cutting travel times and freight costs, and saving the lives of drivers - and these signs will help protect the lives of koalas as well," he said.
New South Wales Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said the signs were a key part of Roads and Maritime Services' Koala Management Plan, which aims to eliminate koala deaths on the Pacific Highway.
"Six of the signs, which are activated by approaching vehicles, have amber flashing lights in the top corners as well as 'slow down' in white lights at the bottom," Mrs Pavey said.
New South Wales Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin said about 110 hectares, equating to 80,000 koala food trees, had so far been planted and there were plans to plant another 20 hectares as part of the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade.
"About 16 kilometres of the new highway is also being fully fenced between Richmond River and Coolgardie Road," Mr Franklin said.
The project team will install 26 wildlife crossings in the area, which equates to about one crossing every 500 metres. More information and updates about the Koala Management Plan are available on the Roads and Maritime Services website at rms.nsw.gov.au/W2B.