14 February, 2020 –
We’re increasing protections for koalas in South East Queensland, with strict new planning regulations to protect koala habitats.
The Palaszczuk Government released the draft South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy last year for public consultation, with thousands of Queenslanders calling for stronger protections for koalas.
While the government continues to finalise the broader Strategy, we are acting swiftly by releasing new mapping and strong planning regulations, with more than 421,000 hectares now state protected koala habitat.
In South East Queensland, over 577,000 hectares is now identified as Koala Priority Area, which includes habitat and areas identified for rehabilitation.
Koala Priority Areas are large, connected areas that include koala habitat as well as areas that are suitable for habitat restoration.
Clearing of koala habitat areas within Koala Priority Areas is prohibited under the new regulations. Some exemptions to the clearing prohibitions will apply, including a once-off 500m2 allowance per premises, as well as an allowance for the removal of dangerous trees, and the creation or maintenance of firebreaks adjacent to infrastructure.
The new koala planning framework will deliver a more strategic and consistent approach to koala conservation across local government boundaries and give more certainty to the community and industry.
The new koala habitat mapping has been updated following a map validation process in December 2019, to remove any areas that had previously been developed.
More than 440 requests were made to validate mapping across that period, and many Queenslanders expressed a desire to ensure that their local areas of vegetation were protected.
During broader consultation on the draft Strategy (which closed on 31 January 2020), the Department of Environment and Science engaged with over 350 interested parties through engagement events and received around 3,000 submissions, emails and letters.
The Queensland Government is now analysing the feedback in order to inform the final Strategy, which is expected to be released later this year.
Further information regarding the new regulatory framework can be accessed via the Department of Environment and Science website at www.qld.gov.au/seqkoalas
Property-scale koala habitat maps can be accessed by requesting a free vegetation management report at www.qld.gov.au/environment/land/vegetation/maps/map-request
Koala habitat mapping is also available via the Queensland Globe www.qldglobe.information.qld.gov.au