In 2015 a review of the status of the Koala in coastal South East Queensland was undertaken. This review found that, despite protections, Koala populations had declined by 50 to 80% in the 20 years leading up to the review (Rhodes et al 2015).
These findings led to the development of a Koala expert panel to review protections for this species and make recommendations regarding improving protections for Koalas and their habitat.
Following the release of the Draft SEQ Koala Conservation Strategy in December 2019, the submission period has now closed and regulatory amendments to the planning framework have now been made to address the key threat to Koalas – habitat loss.
These changes are in effect as of 7 February 2020. The Nature Conservation and Other Legislation (Koala Protection) Amendment Regulation 2020 is now in place.
Exemptions from the new regulations and maps include the following scenarios:
- Development applications lodged and approved prior to 7 February 2020
- Variations lodged and approved prior to 7 February 2020
- Developments within a Priority Development Area or State Development Area
Property maps are now available and show Koala habitat overlays as ‘Koala habitat area (core)’, ‘Koala habitat area (locally refined)’, and ‘Koala priority area’. Amendments to affiliated legislation have also been made including the Environmental Offsets Regulation 2014, Nature Conservation (Koala) Conservation Plan 2017, Planning Regulation 2017 and Vegetation Management Regulation 2012.
In summary, under the new regulations:
- Development that interferes with Koala habitat is considered to be prohibited development in areas that are mapped as both ‘Koala priority areas’ and ‘Koala habitat areas’ (unless otherwise exempt – refer to act).
- Development interfering with Koala habitat within ‘Koala habitat areas’ but outside of ‘Koala priority areas’ is assessable development (unless otherwise exempt – refer to act).
- In certain circumstances, changes to the mapping may be made via application to State Government with information to support the mapping change request.
Further information is available here: https://environment.des.qld.gov.au/wildlife/animals/living-with/koalas/mapping/legislation-policy
Natura Pacific can assist you with your enquiries relating to these changes. We offer experienced services to conduct habitat assessments or assist with development applications for your property.
Call us on 1300 318 720 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Koala image – www.pixabay.com