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Queensland Government announces new plans to protect koalas
With their aim to protect koalas in South East Queensland, the Queensland Government has announced new plans to increase the protection of more than half a million hectares of land through a landmark new koala strategy.
At Currumbin Wildlife Hospital today, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk advised Queenslanders are able to have their say on the draft South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy 2019-24, which paves the way toward greater protection.
“Today we are releasing a landmark draft strategy and draft mapping that outline strong measures to protect koala habitat and address the threats impacting South East Queensland’s koala population.
“New mapping 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.
“We are proposing to implement stronger regulations to limit clearing in these large interconnected areas of high-quality habitat.
“Ensuring the protection of these large corridors of land will address one of the main causes of a declining koala population, which is the destruction of habitat.”
The Premier noted today’s release of the draft strategy outlines existing and future actions to deliver on an election commitment to implement the Koala Expert Panel’s six recommendations for protecting koalas.
“We have a once in a generation chance to ensure their survival in the South East and that is why we are asking every Queenslander to get involved.
“Particularly as recent bushfires have had a devastating effect on the koala population with animals killed or badly injured, it’s never been a more pertinent time to act.”
People will have until 31st January 2020 to provide feedback on the draft strategy.
Premier Palaszczuk also today announced the Government was providing $50,000 for koala care infrastructure.
The State 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 priority areas through partnerships with landholders and local governments.
Queensland Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said the strategy was based on the best available science to protect habitat and give koalas the best chance of survival.
“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.”
Minister Enoch said koala habitat areas in the strategy were identified using internationally recognised, state-of-the-art modelling, including two decades of koala sighting records, scientific research and existing mapping by local councils.
The strategy has been developed in consultation with a dedicated Koala Advisory Council, which includes members of both conservation and development sectors as well as koala experts, First Nations representatives and local government.
Minister Enoch thanked the Koala Advisory Council for its hard work over the past year and its commitment to striking a balance between conservation and the needs of a growing population.
Koala Advisory Council Chair Mark Townend noted the strategy was comprehensive and addressed multiple factors that threaten koalas.
“I would like to thank each and every member of the Council for pushing hard to represent their stakeholders and helping to achieve a forward-thinking and realistic strategy that will protect the koala population in our state.
“The strategy addresses all threats impacting on koala populations including habitat loss, disease management, vehicle strikes and dog attacks.
“Queenslanders can be confident the koala will be in and around our backyards long into the future.”
The strategy builds on the Queensland Government’s work to protect koalas including annual funding of $1.5 million to the South East Queensland Wildlife Hospital Network and the $1.4 million Community Sustainability Action Grants program.
The new Strategy and mapping can be accessed by visiting www.qld.gov.au/seqkoalas.
Consultation on the mapping closes on 22nd December 2019 and consultation on the strategy closes on 31st January 2020
16th November 2019 - Taronga Conservation calls for urgent funding to address emerging koala crisis
26th February 2019 - NSW Government to boost Koala population and improve national park access
11th December 2018 - Improved mapping leads to better outcomes for koala habitat
7th September 2018 - Land clearance to cause Koala extinction in NSW by 2050
18th July 2018 - Gold Coast City Council looks to boost local koala habitat
12th June 2017 - $3.3 million revamp for Brisbane’s Daisy Hill Koala Centre
14th February 2017 - Dreamworld backs koala conservation with new breeding program
26th June 2015 - NSW koala conservation area threatened with logging
29th November 2014 - WildEndurance event to raise funds for koala protection
1st August 2011 - Dreamworld highlights perilous state of koala colonies
28th September 2011 - Koala inquiry calls for vulnerable status
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