The Palaszczuk Government has brought in strict new planning regulations to protect koala habitat in South East Queensland, said Chris Whiting MP.
Over 577,000 hectares in South East Queensland is now identified as Koala Priority Areas and clearing of koala habitat areas within Koala Priority Areas is prohibited with exemptions for a once off 500m2 allowance per premises.
“The Palaszczuk Government released the draft South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy last year for public consultation with thousands of Queenslanders calling for stronger protections for koalas,” said Chris Whiting.
“While we finalise the broader Strategy, we are acting swiftly by releasing new mapping and strong planning regulations such as the one that prohibits clearing of koala habitat area.
“Under these regulations landowners will be allowed to remove dangerous trees and create or maintain firebreaks next to infrastructure.
“Koala Priority Areas are large, connected areas that include koala habitat as well as areas that are suitable for habitat restoration.
“The new koala habitat mapping has been updated following a map validation process in December 2019, to remove any areas that had previously been developed.
“The koala mapping is the best possible mapping available, but it depends on the quality of local council koala mapping.
“There will still need to be on-ground verification in some cases, and the mapping will be updated continuously.
“More than 440 requests were made to validate mapping across that period, and many Queenslanders expressed a desire to ensure that their local areas of vegetation were protected,” said Chris Whiting.
Further information regarding the new regulatory framework can be accessed via the Department of Environment and Science website at www.qld.gov.au/seqkoalas.
Property-scale koala habitat maps can be accessed by requesting a free vegetation management report at www.qld.gov.au/environment/land/vegetation/maps/map-request.
Koala habitat mapping is also available via the Queensland Globe (www.qldglobe.information.qld.gov.au).