WILDLIFE: Roslyn Irwin at the opening of the FRiends of the Koala's new facilities in 2017.
WILDLIFE: Roslyn Irwin at the opening of the FRiends of the Koala's new facilities in 2017. Marc Stapelberg

Why former Lismore mayor supports this controversial group

FRIENDS of the Koala president, Roslyn Irwin, has supported non-violent socio-political movements such Extinction Rebellion on protesting against climate breakdown and biodiversity loss.

Friends of the Koala and the NSW Nature Conservation Council will co-host its Regional Conference for 2019 in Lismore this weekend, and some of the topics debated will be climate environment and justice, and social movement sparkled by environmental issues.

Mrs Irwin, who was the Northern Rivers' first female mayor when she became the mayor of Lismore in 1997, said she supported the actions of Extinction Rebellion, a global non-violent group focused on the risk of human extinction and ecological collapse.

Extinction Rebellion disrupted traffic in Melbourne last month and recently formed on the Northern Rivers.

"I think (groups like Extinction Rebellion) are the only hope for wildlife and the environment going forward, because... it's about encouraging individual residents to know that they can make a difference, and they can make a difference by taking action," she said.

"Of course, what we'll be taking about is non-violent action, we do not support any kind of political action that is violent, but as was demonstrated and grew out of Bentley, the marvel of non-violent direct action is one that, we know, works.

"That's the kind of action that we think needs to take place to remind our politicians, at all levels, if they don't already know it, that climate change is happening, it's affecting our wildlife in terrible ways and all of us need to do something, government and individuals, need to address this issue," she added.

Ms Irwin said local residents that are non members of Friends of the Koala can attend the two-day event, to be held at the Lismore Showgrounds.

Sunday's activities will include a tour of Friends of the Koala's hospital and a trip to to Protesters Falls in Nightcap National Park.

For details on the conference, visit the NCC's website.