LATEST NEWS - edit 8th June 2018
The Mayor has announced that Council will spend $10 million on purchasing land suitable for koala conservation. The location has not been revealed as this might affect the bargaining. The cost will be paid for with an additional levy on ratepayers of $3.00 per household, even though ratepayers already pay $42 p.a for the Opes Space Preservation Levy (OSPL) which is intended for just such purchases. Regrettably no land for either conservation or recreation has been bought with the OSPL since Mayor Tate was elected in 2012 and the money has been used for other purposes.
Koalas are in Crisis - written by Lois Levy
Our furry friends are in trouble. Despite Borobi koala being chosen as the icon for the Commonwealth Games this year, the real koalas on the Gold Coast are in dire straits. The population continues to decline regardless of measures taken to date to “save” them and experts such as Dr Steven Phillips predict they will be extinct in the wild within 5-10 years unless further immediate action is taken.
You can be part of the solutions.
Why are Koalas Dying?
The main reasons for their decline are loss of habitat due to clearing for development, vehicle strikes, dog attacks and disease.
These factors have been confirmed by an Expert Koala Panel report released in May 2018.
These problems are clearly seen in the Coomera, Pimpama and Willowvale areas in the north of the Gold Coast where development is rapid and koalas are being squeezed into smaller and smaller areas. Other reasonably sized populations are found in the Elanora/ Tallebudgera/ Burleigh areas of the southern Gold Coast and various places in the Hinterland, but are also subjected to the same threats.
What can you do to help?
Report any sick or injured koalas to the Wildcare Volunteer Hotline on 07 5527 2444.
You can donate to Wildcare to support their work
Support the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital so they can continue to provide medical care for sick or injured koalas.
Join the Koala Friends Program to be part of community days and tree planting opportunities
Report a Koala sighting 1300 GOLDCOAST (1300 465 326),
These FAQ’s are also useful if you want to help local koalas.
Gecko Campaign Team
Gecko’s Campaigns Team continues to advocate strongly for koala protection and rapid implementation of the 6 recommendations to improve the situation made by the Expert Koala Panel (see 6 Solutions below).
Submissions on development applications and government environment departments, publicity about this dire situation, donations to wildlife carers and support and collaboration with other conservation groups such as Coomera Conservation Group and Wildlife Queensland are all actions taken by Gecko.
Vulnerable to Extinction
In 2015 the koala was listed as vulnerable to extinction across its full range in Queensland under the Commonwealth EnvironmentProtection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) in 2012 and under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NC Act)
Previous Efforts to Protect Koalas have included:
- The State Planning Policy (p 3 Biodiversity ;
- The Koala Conservation Plan .
- The South East Queensland Regional Plan, title Shaping SEQ, (p 21, 80, 82, 89, and
- The Gold Coast Koala Conservation Plan
- More generally the Planning Act 2016 and the Planning Regulations 2017 address the issues of conservation and green-field development in koala habitat areas
The Expert Panel Report clearly identifies that planning legislation which currently enables clearing of koala habitat is the prime cause of koala population decline.
To fix this means vital changes to planning legislation and all levels of government being proactive in implementing these.
The Panel report has six (6) essential recommendations to reverse the decline:-
- Objective Recommendation
A Strategic and Coordinated Approach to Koala Conservation
Develop a mechanism for implementing a strategic action plan for koalas that ensures coordination across multiple levels of government, community, NGOs and industry to achieve the long-term recovery and persistence of koalas in SEQ.
- Koala Habitat is protected.
Simplify and strengthen the planning framework to ensure the effective and consistent long-term protection of koala habitat across SEQ and resource incentive and partnership mechanisms to protect koala habitat on private land.
- Strategic and Landscape scale-Koala Habitat Restoration. Develop and adequately resource regulatory, incentive and partnership mechanisms to achieve strategic koala habitat restoration at landscape scales in SEQ, particularly in identified priority areas.
- Coordinated Threat Reduction and Koala Population Management
Resource and implement a new coordinated threat reduction and koala population management strategy that complements habitat protection and restoration activities, particularly in identified priority areas.
- Strong Community Partnerships and Engagement
Develop and implement a strategy for partnership development and engagement with the broader community, utilising an approach that is sensitive to the nature and views of local communities.
- Targeted Mapping, Monitoring, Research, and Reporting
Develop targeted and high quality koala habitat mapping, threat mapping, monitoring and research programs that aim to:
- identify key koala ecological values and threats,
- measure changes in koala ecological values and threats over time, as well as understand the drivers of those changes,
- inform policy and management decision-making, and
- communicate trends.