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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability
    The Honourable Kate Jones


    Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability
    The Honourable Kate Jones

    Thursday, December 03, 2009


    The Bligh Government will provide an additional $400,000 to further study diseases in koalas.

    Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones said today the investment followed a major package of new planning powers and funding in October to protect koala habitat in south east Queensland

    “The $400,000 in funding will complement the expenditure we’re already making on koala research and welfare,” Ms Jones said.

    “This year, we commissioned a $1 million mapping project which for the first time details koala habitat in south east Queensland.

    “This year, we’re also spending $343,000 on the Daisy Hill Koala Centre for community education and $440,000 on the Moggill Koala Hospital for sick and injured koalas.

    “This new funding is an additional measure in the Government’s ongoing koala response strategy.

    “In October, I detailed a very comprehensive package of measures to target the number priority the expert Koala Taskforce had outlined - habitat protection and expansion.

    “Now we’re turning out attention to another serious problem threatening the koala population.

    “Disease, along with habitat loss and deaths caused by dogs and cars, is a contributing factor in the decline in koala populations in south east Queensland.

    “The stress caused by habitat loss, dogs and cars can make koalas susceptible to a variety of diseases such as Chlamydia.”

    Ms Jones said the Department of Environment and Resource Management will call for expressions of interest through a tendering process in January from universities and other organisations to carry out research which will lead to better on-ground management of koalas in SEQ.

    “From records kept by animal hospitals over the past 12 years, we lose an average of more than 250 koalas per year just from disease,” she said.

    “The biggest killer is Chlamydia. This is a disease which also causes infertility and the eye infection conjunctivitis which, in turn, can lead to blindness and death.”

    Ms Jones said the research funding followed a number of measures in October including:

    • $15 million focused on buying new habitat and rehabilitating existing habitat;

    • compulsory acquisition powers for koala habitat outside the urban footprint;

    • new planning laws for councils to minimise koala impacts when assessing development applications in key koala areas;

    • new controls for councils to ban dogs in new developments in koala habitat; and

    • and new planning laws to allow land swaps in and outside the urban footprint for strategic koala habitat corridors.

    “We’ve demonstrated our strong commitment to habitat already and this additional funding into koala disease research will go further to provide the greatest protection of koalas ever seen in south east Queensland,” she said.

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