The Koala Action Group has received disturbing reports of the government’s weakening of the proposed Koala State Planning Policy at the behest of developer interests. We are also concerned at the delay in the SPP’s taking regulatory effect. As you are aware, koalas are in a perilous position in the Koala Coast and their survival requires immediate government action to protect their habitat.
KAG was extremely gratified at the State Government’s removal of the 900 hectares from the urban footprint in the Redlands. This will be a wonderful opportunity to secure existing habitat and increase habitat for the future. We hope the government will not be swayed by the small number of landowners who were hoping to sell at huge windfall profits. Those who care about the Eprapah Creek Catchment, including some of our members who are landowners in the area are very pleased that the land will be protected.
However, it is disturbing that the DERM Director-General has been reported as stating that the State Planning Regulatory Provisions habitat retention requirements will not apply in structure plan areas that have already been through the State interest process. The South East Thornlands structure plan area has never had detailed on-ground studies on the koala habitat values as was promised in the structure plan process. It appears that no consideration will be given to koala habitat in an area critical to koalas, adjacent to both a creek corridor and land recently removed from the urban footprint. Our group strongly believes that this is completely unacceptable and there should not be any trees removed in the South East Thornlands structure plan area when there is so much land already cleared.
It is also worrying when the Director-General intimates that the 30% habitat retention requirement under the SPRP is only a “probable solution” and ways may be found around such a requirement. This is also not acceptable! Our group would like immediate refutation of the above two points if the government is to retain any credibility in its efforts to protect the koala population of South East Queensland.
Lynn Roberts BSc (KAG Policy Advisor)
Cc Hon. Kate Jones Minister for DERM; Hon Stirling Hinchcliffe Minister for DIP; Michael Choi MLA