Council Calls on CEO and Chairman of Port Stephens Koalas to Resign Amid Hospital Management Review | Port Stephens Examiner

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Councilors voted 5 to 3 to call on both the chief executive and the president of Port Stephens Koalas to step down while an investigation into the management of the hospital is undertaken.

The notice of resignation of Leah Anderson (CEO) and Ron Land (Chairman) was tabled by Cr Ken Jordan at his last meeting held on Tuesday, October 26.

Cr Jordan, who failed in his bid to win Port Stephens state seat as the Liberal Party candidate in 2015, will not contest the West Quarter in the Dec. 4 election.

Cr Jordan said he had received “about 20” allegations of intimidation against the president and they should be investigated.

He got the support of Councilors Jaimie Abbott, Glen Dunkley, Chris Doohan and Sarah Smith.

Councilors Giacomo Arnott, John Nell and Paul Le Mottee voted against the motion, while Mayor Ryan Palmer declared a conflict of interest. Steve Tucker was absent.

Earlier in the meeting, Ms Anderson and Labor MP Kate Washington had used public access to defend positions and label the motion a political coup.

A council spokesperson told the Examiner that the advisers had decided to call on the CEO and Chairman of Port Stephens Koalas to step down from their respective leadership and leadership roles “until the investigation into the allegations is finalized.”

“A letter has been sent to Port Stephens Koalas in accordance with the resolution,” the spokesperson said.

“Port Stephens Koalas has informed the board that an independent and confidential investigation into the allegations relating to the management of Port Stephens Koalas and the koala hospital will be undertaken, however, the board has not been informed of who will conduct the investigation. ‘inquiry or conditions. benchmark will still be. “

A report at the October 26 meeting said the council has partnered with Port Stephens Koalas as part of the development of the Koala Sanctuary which opened in September 2020.

“Port Stephens Koalas is a separate body that performs a number of functions related to koala conservation within the LGA of Port Stephens,” the report said.

“With respect to the council’s koala sanctuary, Port Stephens Koalas operates the hospital and associated care services for koalas, as well as a number of on-site koalas. The council has entered into a commercial services agreement for describe how the parties cooperate in the operation of this facility.

“As part of this Services Agreement, the Board provides ongoing annual funding to Port Stephens Koalas to provide an ongoing level of financial stability to help Port Stephens Koalas meet its obligations under the Services Agreement. This is a commercially binding agreement.

“This arrangement is a very cost effective way for the board to care for and display koalas at the Koala Sanctuary, which is critical to the continued success of this endeavor.”

Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary Manager Zahee Girjes, Sanctuary Team Leader Melinda Atkinson and Mayor Ryan Palmer cutting the first anniversary celebration cake on Friday, October 29. Photo: Supplied

Meanwhile, on October 29, the Port Stephens Council celebrated the first anniversary of the start of operations at the One Mile-based Koala Sanctuary.

The purpose-built eco-friendly facility includes Port Stephens Koala Hospital, Gateway, Fat Possum Cafe and glamping accommodations.

Despite closures and severe weather events, over the past 12 months, the shrine has welcomed more than 25,000 visitors per day and 2,848 overnight visitors.

With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the sanctuary has reopened daily, welcoming visitors between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Overnight accommodation is also back with bookings for the summer school vacations at nearly 80 percent occupancy.

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