Queensland Conservation Council is deeply concerned about the plight of the koala in the southeast part of Queensland, recognising the species has experienced a dramatic collapse in population in recent years, and likely faces eventual extinction in the wild in the region.
The Queensland Government has established the Koala Expert Panel to provide advice on “the protection of the vulnerable koala in southeast Queensland”. Whilst we would much rather see the emphasis placed on positive action and addressing the fundamental underlying issues with the decline of koalas, rather than yet more research, we do recognise the importance of proper evaluation of existing interventions and of further highlighting what should be done to better protect the koala in southeast Queensland. Not that we see these as being hard to pinpoint: loss of habitat, loss of safe space in which to move, and the stress this places on the species.
The Queensland Conservation Council believes there are some fundamental reforms and actions necessary to help protect the koala in southeast Queensland, including:
1. Mapping remaining koala habitat and updating koala statistics.
2. Stopping the clearing of koala habitat under the Vegetation Management Act.
3. Fixing current legislation which acts to facilitate destructive development in koala habitat areas (eg roads and transport laws, planning law, state development laws, offsets laws).
4. Stopping road kill with ‘Green Fauna Infrastructure’, changing road speeds, and so on.
5. Reducing the escalation of koala euthanasia rates, and releasing official statistics on this.
6. Managing dogs in koala habitat areas.
7. Implementing Bushland Buyback and joining up wildlife and nature corridors.
8. Creating/expanding specific koala reserves and protection zones.
9. The Queensland government adopting a transparent, strong policy statement about prioritising koala and koala habitat protection.
Regrettably, we also believe it is time for the koala in Southeast Queensland to be formally declared ‘Endangered’ under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992.