Peter Noble speaks.
Bluesfest director Peter Noble has today dismissed claims made by a scientist that the noise generated from his Byron Bay-based festival is stressing and potentially killing local koalas, by insisting that his company is passionate about the well-being of all koalas in the surrounding area.
Speaking to theMusic Noble described the allegations made by Dr Stephen Phillips from Biolink ecological consultants to The Guardian yesterday as "hysterical accusations".
"We are the only event site in Australia that has a primitive koala plan of management by the NSW Department of Planning," Noble said.
"We have met all the stringent conditions and unfortunately Dr Phillips does not like the fact that his previous submissions to the NSW Department of Planning were overruled. What you’ve got here is someone with an axe to grind. It is unfortunate and I know he cares for koalas, but it is not fair to attack the ongoing good works of people who actually also really care about koalas, which is my company."
Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter
Phillips yesterday alleged that a study he conducted in 2010 found 20 koalas living close by the northern NSW site, though none are live today. Noble however claims that the particular study conducted in 2010 was the very first conducted on that site.
"Obviously any sick or diseased koalas would have been discovered at that time and there were plenty," Noble said of the study.
"But since than we have implemented through the koala research centre at the University of Queensland headed up by Dr Bill Ellis, Australia’s pre-eminent koala researcher...photo cameras and motion cameras to detect wild dogs…and we've pretty much eradicated them from our property, we have not found one koala as a result of dog strike."
"We are doing world’s best practise and our study of our koalas on our site which is not about counting the numbers so that we can say it’s not so bad, is about improving the health and we have now gotten to a point where we are having minor losses."
Noble claims that Phillips' allegations are "fully refuted" by the University of Queensland's research centre.
"What we are doing is proving that on farmland which is divided by roads and other areas that you can develop a healthy stock which will then breed more healthy koalas."
Bluesfest 2016 will take place from 24-28 March and features an all-star line-up including Kendrick Lamar, The National, Tom Jones, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Brian Wilson, City & Colour and more.