Qld govt is failing to save koalas: LGAQ

The Queensland Government has been accused of failing to protect Australia’s “in crisis” koala population, following widespread bushfires across the country.

Feb 10, 2020, updated Feb 10, 2020
The threat of a new El Nino weather pattern could lead to more bushfires.  (Photo: David Mariuz/AAP PHOTOS)

The threat of a new El Nino weather pattern could lead to more bushfires. (Photo: David Mariuz/AAP PHOTOS)

The Local Government Association of Queensland has slammed the state’s new conservation regulations, claiming it excluded thousands of hectares of known koala habitats.

More than 15,000ha of land in the Moreton Bay council area is now unprotected, as is an estimated 7500ha hectares in the Redlands district.

LGAQ president and Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said voters expected the Government to do more to protect the much-loved marsupial.

“The country’s koala population is in crisis following the recent devastating bushfires,” he said.

“Now is not the time to allow thousands of hectares of known local koala habitat to go unprotected.”

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the Government’s South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy had increased koala protections through the implementation of strict new planning rules.

“More than 690,000ha has now been mapped as koala habitat under these new regulations,” she said.

“Over 577,000ha in southeast Queensland is now identified as Koala Priority Area, which includes habitat and areas identified for rehabilitation – that’s an area twice the size of ACT.”

But Jamieson said the Government had bungled the process and not listened to its local counterparts.

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“They have shifted policy at the eleventh hour and continually failed to consult properly,” he said.

“They have ignored the views of councils and they have legislated inferior mapping as a result, in what local governments see as a failure of governance.”

The draft strategy was released for consultation on December 8 and closed on January 31.

“This is inexcusable,” Jamieson said.

The LGAQ has called on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to withdraw the new rules and consult further with local stakeholders to ensure more is done to protect the state’s koala habitats.


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