More land secured for Coomera koalas
Published Tuesday, 02 August, 2022 at 09:25 AM
Premier and Minister for the Olympics
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
Minister for Transport and Main Roads
The Honourable Mark Bailey
Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs
The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon
Another 400 hectares has been secured to protect koalas in the Coomera Connector corridor.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Greenridge property at Pimpama, within the Gold Coast's Koala Priority Area, is one of the largest private, and suitable, land holdings close to stage one and future stages.
“Securing the land demonstrates our commitment to improving environmental outcomes of building the second M1,” the Premier said.
“Koalas found in the second M1 corridor are relocated to nearby habitat where appropriate, or the Pimpama River Conservation Area (PRCA).
“The additional 400 hectares is next to the PRCA, creating almost 900 hectares to protect the local koala population and improve their home range and connectivity well into the future.”
The Premier said the Pimpama land will complement another, almost 400-hectare property already secured in Tabooba, south of Beaudesert, where thermal drone and on-ground surveys have shown koalas present.
“Most of that land at Tabooba will be used to offset the environmental impacts of the 16-kilometre stage one of the Coomera Connector (Coomera-Nerang),” she said.
“So a larger part of the Pimpama property can be used to offset future stages.”
Significant funding is included in the Coomera Connector budget to improve the health of koalas in the corridor, including $500,000 to support university research studies and vaccination trials.
A best-practice policy for wildlife spotters and catchers has been developed, and opportunities explored to use salvaged tree forks in veterinary and rehabilitation care.
These, and a range of additional environmental improvements proposed for the Coomera Connector (Stage 1), will be outlined in more detail in the Public Environment Report to be released later this year.
Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King said the Australian and Queensland governments have committed $2.163 billion on a 50:50 basis to plan and build stage one of the Coomera Connector.
"Securing the Pimpama property is a critical step in protecting koala populations along the Coomera Connector corridor,” Ms King said.
"We all know the second M1 is desperately needed and, while there are unavoidable impacts, I am confident all measures will be taken to responsibly deliver this critical infrastructure.
"Federal environmental approvals are expected to set conditions on the Pimpama property that will see it protected for at least the next 20 years. We expect the koala habitat to significantly grow in that time."
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the second M1 is the largest single road project in Queensland, and our priority is to ensure as little impact to the environment as possible.
“Acquiring this 400-hectare property in Pimpama goes a long way to achieving that.” Mr Bailey said.
“This land will become home to koalas found in the Coomera Connector corridor, which is an exciting step in protecting Coomera’s koala population.
"Thermal drone surveys have found 68 koalas on the new property, highlighting its existing importance to the local population and confirming the significant opportunities this land holds.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to delivering the much-needed Coomera Connector for the people of the Gold Coast, as part of our over $5 billion investment in the region.
“Less time spent in traffic means you’re home sooner and safer, spending more time with friends and family.”
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said considerable work is being done to ensure the existing PRCA koala population is healthy, and the habitat is viable, before relocation.
“Queenslanders have made it clear: they want us to continue to act on the environment, and protect our great lifestyle and our native animals,” Ms Scanlon said.
“Pimpama’s Greenridge site offers a great opportunity to protect Koala populations now and into the future.
“It adds to our $24.6 million commitment in this year’s budget to restore koala habitat, reduce the threat to koalas in targeted hotspots and deliver innovative research.
“Koala tagging and tracking is an important tool to help us monitor the health of local populations.
"As part of the project, more than 700 hectares within the stage one corridor has been surveyed to monitor the area’s koala population.
"This has given us a solid understanding of the current conditions, koala numbers, their health and home habitats, and where they roam.
"There are currently 128 koalas in the program, and more than 600 health checks have been carried out.”
For more information on Coomera Connector (Stage 1), visit www.tmr.qld.gov.au/coomeraconnector.
Media contact: Joe Ogilvie 0434 575 237