10 December, 2019 –
The Palaszczuk Government is moving to protect koalas in South East Queensland with new plans to increase the protection of more than half a million hectares of land through a landmark new Koala Strategy.
Sadly, science has shown that koala populations have decreased by 50-80% in South East Queensland habitat areas over about 20 years and nearly three quarters of essential koala habitat has already been destroyed. Koalas are an iconic species of state, national and international importance and Queenslanders want to see them protected.
The Palaszczuk Government has released a draft strategy and draft mapping that outlines strong measures to protect koala habitat and address all threats impacting on koala populations including habitat loss, disease management, vehicle strikes and dog attacks.
New mapping has also been released that identifies more than 570,000 hectares of land to be declared koala priority areas – an area that is twice the size of the ACT – of which more than 300,000 hectares is core habitat. This mapping will support stronger regulations to limit clearing in these large interconnected areas of high-quality habitat.
The Queensland Government is encouraging landholders to validate mapping on their property to ensure any developed areas are identified and removed from the map prior to planning reforms commencing. The State’s new mapping will be updated annually, to ensure that the Queensland Government is protecting the best koala habitat.
The Strategy builds on the Palaszczuk Government’s work to protect koalas, including $6 million to the South East Queensland Wildlife Hospital Network over the last four years; and the $1.4 million Community Sustainability Action Grants program. The Government is also investing $2 million into establishing a five-year partnership with the Queensland Trust for Nature to deliver on-ground koala habitat restoration in koala priority areas.
We have a once in a generation chance to ensure the koala will be in and around our backyards long into the future and that is why we are asking every Queenslander to get involved.
The new Strategy and mapping can be accessed by visiting https://environment.des.qld.gov.au/wildlife/animals/living-with/koalas/conservation/draft-seq-koala-strategy
Consultation on the mapping closes on 22 December 2019 and consultation on the Strategy closes on 31 January 2020.