Councillor Stellino was elected to Campbelltown City Council in 2022. Campbelltown is uniquely home to the last healthy population of koalas in NSW, whose lives are under threat from development. From the moment he made his debut in the chambers, Cr Stellino put this precious colony of koalas front and centre on the agenda, and has since passed multiple other motions to help local wildlife – many of which will have powerful repercussions in the fight for animals across the country.
Cr Stellino’s wins highlight the importance of having an Animal Justice Party voice at every level of government, in order to make direct representations on behalf of animals and their homes.
Cr Stellino’s Wins for Animals
- In his very first meeting, Cr Stellino passed a motion calling for a number of actions to commit Council to helping local koalas, including: a briefing for councillors on koala management within the LGA, a tour of Lendlease’s development site so they can see what is at stake when reviewing the next stage of applications, and a Q&A with the Chief Scientist for all councillors and executive team.
- Passed a motion banning the use of 1080 and Strychnine poisons on all Council lands. Council will also no longer recommend private landholders to use 1080 or Strychnine and it will be removed from all their messaging.
Additionally, had Council write to the state government asking them to observe Council’s new position on these poisons and apply it to state-managed lands (such as national parks) within the LGA as well.
1080 and Strychnine kill indiscriminately – not only targeted dingoes and introduced animals but native wildlife and beloved companion animals too. They are unjustifiably cruel: they kill slowly, putting animals in excruciating pain, and there is no antidote.
This is a huge win that will have repercussions across the state and even the nation. Cr Stellino and Animal Justice Party Sydney South West Leader and 1080 Campaign Manager Donna Wilson are now working to empower advocates in other LGAs with the resources and successful, tested strategies to get their Council to ban 1080.
- Passed a motion banning the use of bird-killing rat poisons, the notorious SGARs (second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides). SGARs have been called "the equivalent of napalming" and are the most widely used rat poison in Australia. Councillor Stellino called them “a scourge".
“SGARs inflict far more harm than people intend,” Cr Stellino said. “People purchase them off the shelf in Bunnings to kill mice and rats, but they are mislabelled as rat poison – what they are really selling you is owl poison, quoll poison, goanna poison, currawong poison.
“We have endangered powerful owls in our area to protect. A study by Birdlife Oz on Sydney's urban fringes last year found SGARs in the livers of nearly all the deceased powerful owls they analysed."
As a next step, Local Government NSW, the peak body of councils, will write to the NSW Government to ask that SGARs no longer be commercially available.
- Advocated successfully to move the tri-annual Campbelltown fireworks to a new location away from the Grey Headed Flying Fox camp. Council has also agreed to using fireworks with less gunpowder than regular fireworks, while Cr Stellino continues to advocate for drones, lasers and light shows as a better alternative.
- Passed a motion to investigate the feasibility of adding a reptile handler to Council's animal care capabilities to catch and release snakes from people's premises into bushland. This will prevent indiscriminate killing of snakes and reptiles and offer these animals the care and protection they deserve.
- Passed a motion to investigate adding bin-lid latches to domestic waste and recycling bins to stop them being unhealthy food sources for wildlife or spilling plastic waste into drains and waterways during high wind events.
Additionally, won a trial run of 1,000 free bin-lid latches for residents in the most affected suburbs. This will be rolled out in 2023.
This addresses a huge problem unique to Campbelltown, where innovative cockatoos, ibises and other clever local animals have learnt how to open bin lids in their foraging. Cr Stellino’s motion will protect both the animals and the natural environment, waterways and help keep the neighbourhood streets clean and attractive.
Additional Current Positions
- Commissioned and chaired Campbelltown’s 'Wildlife & Environment Advisory Committee'
- Appointed as Vice-Chair on the Georges River Keeper Committee, a joint council committee across Sydney looking at maintaining the health of the waterway and surrounding bushlands with delegates from each LGA the river passes through.
A Campbelltown local, Cr Stellino grew up in the area and returned there to live after serving in the Royal Australian Infantry. Prior to his election, Matt has been an active animal advocate for seven years.