The State Government has been developing a koala conservation strategy for several years in response to the alarming decline in koala numbers over past decades. This is mainly due to loss of habitat, 74% since 1967, vehicle strikes, dog attacks and disease.
An Expert Panel examined the situation and provided the Government with a number of recommendations to respond to this situation . The Government has accepted all of the recommendations and the Strategy and mapping is the first of several actions to address the situation.
We hope that the measures will stop the decline in koala population, which now, has also been decimated by the terrible bush fires.
Public consultation on the Strategy has now closed and you can read Gecko’s submission here.
The conservation sector is now waiting on the expected changes to the planning regulations which will prohibit clearing of koala habitat in Koala Protected Areas (KPA) and reduce clearing for development in other areas of lesser habitat.
The development industry is also waiting on these changes which they are concerned about, chiefly because of the potential impact on development opportunities.
You can read the joint submission from the Urban Development Institute of Australia and the Property Council of Australia here.
This is in stark contrast to the many submissions from the community, environment groups and land care bodies. The submission from SEQ Catchments Management Board reminds decision-makers of the visions and targets enshrined in Queensland’s Natural Resource Management and SEQ Regional Plan documents. These documents were intended to offer a foundation for sustainable use of natural resources and protection of biodiversity values. A snapshot of where we are at today suggests successive governments have strayed very far from delivering this vision.
At this time we don’t know when the planning regulations will be made public. There will also be changes to the Offsets legislation which has been a dismal failure in ensuring cleared habitat was compensated for by purchase of similar habitat elsewhere in South East Queensland. These changes will occur before the State election in October 2020.
One bright spark in all this is the change to the koala location policy. Soon wildlife carers will be able to go on to a property and rescue homeless koalas and then relocate them to other habitat that is unlikely to be bulldozed. Prior to this wildlife carers had to wait, sometimes for hours, for the koala to move out of their home area onto roads before they could rescue them. You can read the new policy for relocation here.