Though regulations for koala habitat have started

By Juliano Oliveira

After a period of public consultation, the Queensland Government has announced its new plan to enhance the koala’s habitats protection.

The regional administration has been pressured to present initiatives aiming to prevent further habitat loss due to the prolonged drought and recent bushfires.

The state’s project contemplates a new mapping identifying more than 570,000 hectares of land to be declared koala priority areas.

Science has shown koala populations have declined by 50-80% in South-East Queensland. In the past 20 years, about 75% of the animal habitat has been destroyed.

“In December 2019, we released the draft South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy for public consultation,” Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said.

“Throughout that consultation period, we have heard from thousands of Queenslanders who are calling for stronger protections for koalas in South East Queensland.”

“The Queensland Government is now analysing the feedback in order to inform the final Strategy, which I expect to release later this year.”

Ms Enoch affirmed that over 690,000 hectares have now been mapped as koala habitat under these new regulations. “That is an increase of more than 421,000 hectares on what existed previously for state-protected koala habitat.”

Ms Enoch said 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.

Further information regarding the new regulatory framework can be accessed via the Department of Environment and Science website at www.qld.gov.au/seqkoalas.