Brisbane Olympics must protect koalas in Toohey Forest, SEQ

Conservationists are concerned new plans to redevelop QSAC for the Olympics could lead to clearing of important koala habitat at Toohey Forest, urging the government to commit to a 'koala-positive' Olympic Games.

The recent Quirk Review of possible venues for Brisbane's 2032 Olympic Games found the option to redevelop the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre may require local bushland to be cleared and the pathway between QSAC and Griffith university to be widened.

The woodlands at risk are a key habitat for over 400 native wildlife and plant species, including a significant population of endangered koalas, as well as glossy black cockatoos, powerful owls and tusked frogs.

Queensland Conservation Council Director Dave Copeman said:

We need to make sure Brisbane’s Olympic dream is a positive one for our endangered koalas.

Right now, koalas in South East Queensland are suffering a death by a thousand cuts, and we can’t afford to lose one more hectare of habitat to bulldozers.

Toohey Forest is a known koala hotspot. This could be a real positive, with visitors getting a first hand experience of our incredible nature, but that’s only possible if the proposed QSAC redevelopment doesn’t result in loss of koala habitat.

Local bushland is already under threat on a number of fronts. A huge chunk of nearby bushland was recently bulldozed for a hospital car park, and sections of Toohey Forest are owned by Economic Development Queensland and at risk of development.

There are parcels of land on the outskirts of Toohey Forest on the market now that the Queensland Government could buy to expand these eucalypt woodlands, while committing to protecting the area it already owns via Economic Development Queensland.

These Olympics must protect koalas, not destroy their habitat. We are already seeing strong opposition to the proposed Whitewater Facility at Birkdale, which abuts core koala habitat, and is well known to locals as a safe haven for koalas and other wildlife.

We are calling on the State Government to commit to making the Olympic Games a net positive for our iconic endangered species, ensuring we have a safe and thriving population of koalas when the international community visits in 2032.