The way forward for koala conservation in Queensland was at the centre of discussion at today’s first meeting of the Queensland Koala Advisory Council.
Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch, who attended today’s meeting, said the group of leading experts were appointed three weeks ago and have already hit the ground running to help develop and implement the Koala Conservation Strategy.
“Today marks the first day on the job for the new Koala Advisory Council – Queensland’s first dedicated Council tasked with protecting the state’s koala population,” Ms Enoch said.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to protecting our koalas, and the appointment of the Council is one of many steps we are taking to further protect this iconic species.
“Led by RSPCA Queensland CEO Mark Townend, the Council is today discussing priorities such as koala habitat restoration and threat management, as they work towards delivering a new Koala Conservation Strategy.
“Our Government wants to get this right, which is why we have the best people on the job to provide advice to give koalas in South East Queensland the best chance of survival.”
Ms Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government’s approach to koala protection was multifaceted.
“We are combining the protection of critical koala habitat through the planning framework with actions to address other threats that are cumulatively driving declines in populations,” she said.
“We know the biggest threat to Queensland’s koala population is the loss of habitat – but dog attacks, vehicle strikes and disease are also responsible for koala deaths.
“This month the Queensland Government added an extra 190,000 hectares of koala habitat in South East Queensland to essential habitat mapping.
“The land was identified using improved modelling techniques to protect important koala habitat.”
Mark Townend, Chief Executive Officer, RSPCA Queensland and Chair of the Koala Advisory Council said the establishment of the Council was a positive move by government.
“The Council has a diverse group of expertise to shape the future of koala management in South East Queensland,” Mr Townend said.
“Evidence-based policy must help inform future decisions around koala management and we will work closely with the government to achieve the best possible outcome for koalas.
“Today’s meeting will give us the chance to discuss priorities and timeframes over the next 6 months in the lead up to the release of the Koala Conservation Strategy.”
Some of the Palaszczuk Government’s other koala conservation programs:
- $7.9 million has been allocated to 230 recipients since the inception of the Community Sustainability Actions Grants program in 2016-17 for environmental conservation activities, conservation of heritage listed places and koala research activities.
- $1.5 million annually to South East Queensland Wildlife Hospital Network, which treats, rehabilitates and releases sick, injured or orphaned native wildlife, including koalas. This was introduced by the Palaszczuk Government.
- $1.7 million in 2017-18 and another $1.7 million in 2018-19 for Moggill Koala Rehabilitation Centre and Daisy Hill Koala Centre as well as survey of koalas in western areas of South East Queensland.
- $3.3 million investment in infrastructure in upgrades at Daisy Hill Koala Sanctuary.
- Annual funding of about $458,000 for koala strategy oversight and evaluation team.
- Nearly $300,000 for completion of new koala habitat modelling and mapping.
- One third of $3.5 million jointly funded program to secure 2400 hectares of state forest in Noosa to protect koala habitat (more information available HERE).
- $500 million Land Restoration Fund will support projects that target restoration of koala habitat.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch