Important KAG message regarding the Draft Koala Conservation Policy

By January 27, 2020Archive

Dear members and friends,

Please consider taking some time this week to send a submission to the draft Koala Conservation Strategy SEQKoalaStrategy@des.qld.gov.au with the closing date on Friday January 31st.

The main concerns for KAG and others are outlined below and key points that can be copied into your submission are attached.  Please feel free to add your own thoughts as there is no right or wrong comments.    

Community groups and individuals from across Qld share our concerns that the State Government’s draft Koala Conservation Strategy is seriously flawed and deficient in its understanding of koala ecology.
Urban koalas have been left completely unprotected as they appear to be in the too-hard basket and the notion that they should be moved to safer bushland areas is fraught with danger as demonstrated with the catastrophic fires occurring across Australia.

The koala mapping intended to protect habitat needs to be increased (and include movement corridors) not decreased.

Coastal areas in the Redlands (including Toondah Harbour precinct) where koala sightings are commonplace and known to have breeding koalas must also be given protection.

Strong legislation must be put in place to prevent loopholes being used to continue the ‘business as usual’ clearing of koala habitat which has been allowed to occur in the past and has led to the continuing decline of koalas.

Thank you for your ongoing support,

KAG

 

An example of a possible submission to the draft Koala Conservation Strategy to send to SEQKoalaStrategy@des.qld.gov.au

I wish to submit the following comments to the Draft South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy 2019-2024 (KCS):

  • The KCS appears to be a seriously flawed document and it is difficult to see how it can slow the catastrophic decline of koalas in SEQ.
  • To rely on so-called safe bushland areas to save the SEQ koala population is naïve and ill-informed and changes to legislation to relocate koalas from urban areas is not the answer, especially given the danger from fires in large bushland areas.
  • The KCS is deficient in its understanding of koala ecology and how koalas use habitat at a landscape scale.
  • This is demonstrated with the draft koala habitat mapping failing to protect areas and movement corridors where many of our koalas are living right now as evidenced by koala sightings recorded in the Atlas of Living Australia.
  • Land removed from the Government’s existing mapping of Koala Habitat ahead of the draft strategy being released (including at Shoreline and south west Victoria Point) should be reinstated.
  • The KCS mapping has largely removed protection along the coastal areas which is likely to become critical habitat with Climate Change making western areas less viable for koalas.
  • Areas of Redlands mapped previously as being of State Environmental Significance should be included as Koala Habitat, especially if ground-truthing evidence shows koala activity.
  • The proposal to let property owners have automatic rights to clear up to 500 m2 in Koala Habitat areas should be replaced with an impact assessment process.
  • The exemption allowing firebreaks to be developed and maintained in Koala Habitat areas is supported, provided that there are rules to prevent abuse.
  • It is imperative that strong planning laws to protect Koala Habitat are implemented as previous legislation has failed to protect koalas and their habitat due to ‘loop holes’ and lack of enforcement.
  • The targets to reduce koala mortality are too low and must be increased especially in areas such as the Redlands where populations have declined by at least 80%.
  • A moratorium on clearing koala trees in Koala Priority Areas should be implemented (with effective sanctions) until the Strategy and Koala Habitat mapping are finalised.
  • The use of financial offsets as a mechanism for property owners and developers to buy the right to destroy koala habitat is unacceptable.
  • Analysis of overall gain/loss of koala habitat in south east Queensland should recognize that areas close to the coast such as the Redlands can sustain more koalas per hectare than other areas further west where it’s hotter and drier.
  • Public consultation periods for Koala Habitat mapping (to 22 December 2019) and the draft Strategy (to 31 January 2020) are inadequate – both periods should be extended.
  • The Government should undertake extensive community consultation about its strategy and mapping in Redland City, including drop in sessions and speaking at a public meeting.

Yours sincerely,

Name and address