• Environmental Planning

New Koala Plan for Queensland

Nature Conservation (Koala) Conservation Plan 2006 and Management Program 2006-2016 (Koala Plan) will be superseded today, 1 September 2017 by the Nature Conservation (Koala) Conservation Plan 2017.

The main purposes of the Koala Plan have been revised to place emphasis on promoting the continued existence of viable koala populations in the wild and seeking to prevent the decline of koala habitats. Notwithstanding, the revised Koala plan is similar to its predecessor yet now reflects the structure of the Planning Act 2016 since the Koala State Planning Regulatory Provisions are now generally incorporated within the Planning Regulation 2017.

The practical intent of the Koala Plan remains generally unchanged which in our reading is to guide koala policy development/interpretation at Local and State levels within ‘Koala districts’. Matters that remain of focus to the Koala Plan relate to requirements for clearing of koala habitat, managing koalas through the clearing process, translocation of koalas and licencing requirements for interfering with koalas.

Some pertinent points from the revised Koala Plan are as follows:

  • The three (3) Koala Districts (A, B and C) are based on local government areas as per its predecessor. For example, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay and Sunshine Coast are among those within Koala District A. Koala Districts are shown on the Koala Conservation Plan Map and described by Schedule 1 of the Koala Plan.
  • The plan refers to the Planning Regulation 2017 for definitions of Koala Habitat Area (KHA) and Koala Habitat Tree (KHT). The definition of KHT is (a) a tree of the Corymbia, Melaleuca, Lophostemon or Eucalyptus genera that is edible by koalas; or (b) a tree of a type typically used by koalas for shelter, including, for example, a tree of the Angophora genus. The definition of KHA incorporates the habitat classifications as mapped by the Koala Habitat SPP map (Koala habitat values mapping in South East Queensland).
  • Sequential clearing as defined by Part 3 is required when koala habitat trees are being cleared in koala district A or B where the site is larger than 3 ha. In summary, for sites less than 6 ha; no more than 50% of the site’s area can be cleared in any one clearing stage and for sites greater than 6 ha; no more than 3 ha (or 3% of site’s area) (whatever is greater) can be cleared in any one clearing stage. At least 1 period of 12 hours (from 6pm to 6am) is required between each clearing stage.
  • A koala spotter is needed to supervise clearing in a koala habitat area where koala habitat trees have a diameter of 10 cm at 1.3 m above the ground. The Koala Plan defines the permits and experience to be held by a person for them to be considered a koala spotter.

Of note is that the Koala Plan is not intended to provide a State or Regional strategy around Koala conservation; we understand that this in preparation. Stay tuned…

AUTHOR

New Ground

All stories by: New Ground