Palaszczuk Government taking action to protect koalas
Published Friday, 04 May, 2018 at 12:45 PM
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch
The Palaszczuk Government is delivering on its commitment to address the decline in koala populations in South East Queensland, with the new vegetation management laws, and today’s release of the Koala Expert Panel’s final report and Government Response.
Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said the passing of the Palaszczuk Government’s land clearing laws yesterday was a great win for Queensland’s precious endangered species, including koalas, and today we are taking a further step in protecting their habitat.
On the Gold Coast today, Ms Enoch also announced the Palaszczuk Government had accepted all six of the panel’s recommendations in the report, titled Queensland Koala Expert Panel: A new direction for the conservation of koalas in Queensland.
“This report sets the agenda for a comprehensive and cohesive approach to the management of our valuable koalas,” Ms Enoch said.
“The recommendations provide a thorough and innovative template to balance urban growth with the need to address the decline of koalas in South East Queensland from the many pressures the population faces, including development, car strike, dog attack and diseases.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to delivering a new South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy in consultation with stakeholders.
“Our Strategy will deliver a multifaceted approach that combines the protection of koala habitat through the planning framework, together with actions to address the impact of other threats that are cumulatively driving declines in many populations.
“The Government will also establish a Koala Advisory Council, made up of representatives from state and local government, the community, NGOs and industry, to ensure coordination of the implementation of the Strategy.
“The Palaszczuk Government has also now delivered on its election commitment to implement sensible vegetation management laws and end broadscale tree clearing, which will protect the native habitats for our endangered koalas and other native species.”
Ms Enoch thanked the Koala Expert Panel, led by Associate Professor Jonathan Rhodes from the University of Queensland, for the hundreds of hours of work and deliberation which had gone into the report.
“The Koala Expert Panel’s excellent report heralds a new direction for the conservation of koalas in Queensland,” Ms Enoch said.
“The Panel’s report sets the agenda for a thorough and cohesive approach to the management of this threatened species.
“Fundamental to the Panel’s recommendations is the development of a strategic and coordinated approach to koala conservation.
“It’s clear that koala conservation is not just the responsibility of one level of government. This is why we will work closely with stakeholders to implement the Panel’s recommendations, a key component of which will be enhanced partnerships with local governments to achieve koala conservation.”
Chair of the Koala Expert Panel Associate Professor Jonathan Rhodes said: “I am confident that the Panel have provided a set of recommendations that set a new direction for both policy and management approaches to koala conservation in Queensland”.
“I would like to thank the Queensland Government and a wide range of other important stakeholders for being part of this inclusive process.”
Dreamworld Life Sciences Manager, Al Mucci said it had been a privilege to be part of the Queensland Koala Expert Panel and help provide recommendations to ensure the survival of koalas in South East Queensland.
“There is an urgent need for us to find every way possible to protect one of Australia’s most iconic species, which is suffering due to a number of reasons, particularly habitat loss,” he said.
“Here at Dreamworld we are instrumental in ensuring the survival of koalas in the wild with a number initiatives including a koala breeding program which aims to restore the populations of koalas and securing their future in South East Queensland.”
The Panel’s report and government response can be viewed on the Department of Environment and Science’s website at: https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/koalas/review-conservation-measures.html
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