Former Newcastle mayor and property developer Jeff McCloy (left) (Image: AAP/Dan Himbrechts)

Who exactly was pushing NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro to try and blow up the government over koala protection policy? Turns out, it wasn’t concerned citizens or rogue farmers pushing the Nats to defend their right to kill koalas.

Instead, as The Sydney Morning Herald revealed today, the only stakeholder to raise an objection to the koala protections was property developer Jeff McCloy. Of course McCloy is just a footnote to the great koala war, but he is a fascinating character in his own right. 

The real McCloy

Before being elected Newcastle’s lord mayor in 2012, Jeff McCloy built a name for himself around the Hunter as a blustering property developer with many fingers in many pies -- a kind of Novocastrian Buddy Garrity, the fictional pushy fundraiser in the American football series Friday Night Lights.