Council critical of South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy

Redland City Council has offered only conditional support for a State Government South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy claiming the current draft lacks detail.

Mayor Karen Williams said Council’s own koala strategy has supported and funded Redland koala conservation for over a decade as part of the Koala Coast.

“We recognise that Australia’s iconic koalas need protection and Council supports the adoption of a supporting State strategy,” she said.

“But this draft is little more than an expression of good intentions that fails to address critical details of funding, enabling legislation, research, mapping and collaboration.

“While the strategy identifies the importance of collaborative engagement, there has been none in the preparation of this Strategy.

“Importantly, Council wants to know how the State intends to recognise and respond to crucial local government programs like those in place the Redlands Coast or fund new initiatives where the burden inevitably falls on local government.”

Mayor Williams said the timing of the strategy consultation over the peak summer holiday period and its lack of detail means the community is being asked to take the strategy on trust.

“We need to know how the strategy will be implemented, legislated and funded,” she said.

“It discusses collaboration but fails to address exactly how the State will work with Councils and land managers to support existing programs or fund new initiatives.

“While setting a target for reduced koala deaths, the Strategy does not identify how populations will be measured or knowledge shared at the local level.

“It also ignores the Koala Expert Panel recommendation to ensure that locally significant koala habitat can still be protected through local government planning.

“The separate but linked State Koala Priority Area (KPA) mapping, released for brief consultation late last year, would remove almost half the essential Redlands koala habitat including the entire North Stradbroke island population area.

“Additionally, while stating the intention to prohibit clearing within 300,000ha of mapped KPA habitat, the strategy fails to detail how current exemptions or state planning legislation, codes, or offset policy would achieve this.

“Council’s submission to the State will highlight the need to address these issues before the community can be confident the new strategy will actually make a difference.”