A study found that bulldozing for the construction of the upgraded Pacific Highway will destroy half of the koalas' food sources. Koalas are already all too frequently hit by cars on the roads in the area. A four-lane highway could only increasingly imperil the population.
But the government conducted its own study and found that the Ballina koala population would decline over the next 50 years regardless of the highway, because of disease, predators and deaths on other roads. So, the government's argument goes, since the koalas are doomed anyway, why not build a highway, despite public outcry, that could only accelerate their destruction?