Queensland failing on koalas, NSW in a similar stream

The Queensland government has recently released two reports titled ‘South East Queensland Koala Population Modelling Study‘ and a ‘Koala Expert Panel Interim Report’.
The former is a comprehensive work that required collating koala survey data from 1996 up to 2014.  The outcome confirms a rapid and increasing rate of decline in koala numbers, particularly on the Koala coast and the Pine rivers area. Insufficient data was available to determine whether the decline is consistent across south east Qld.

If koalas haven’t declined in other areas, the report recommends ” Identifying these areas with a carefully designed monitoring program would appear to be a priority.”

The latter report is, to put it mildly, a generally scathing indictment of koala management through out the state. In essence it found none of the planning instruments worked for the benefit of koalas, indeed the reverse is usually the case. The report indicates the failures are around a lack of a strategic regional vision, an over-reliance on the planning legislation and inadequate resourcing.

So called ‘environmental offsets’ were also criticised on the basis of ” . . .the ability of local governments to offset matters of state significance, a lack of resources for monitoring and enforcement, the inability to offset outside local government areas where the impact occurs, lack of additionality deriving from offset actions, and potential perverse outcomes.”

Back in NSW, there is the ‘Saving Our Species’ program and its various streams, including the Iconic species program, where koalas have been lumped. However if one were looking for recent official and credible information on koalas, the chances of finding it are quite low.

In that regard, the map above provides koala records, available on the Atlas of NSW Wildlife, from 1 January 2013 to now.

Curiously, the single record is suggested to be a koala sighting, attributed to the Forestry Corporation, after the Flora reserves were announced. Clearly any conclusion from this information represents a poor outcome.

Regrettably, Long-nosed Potoroos could be in a similar position, as indicated by records since 1 January 2011, in the map below. A few years before there are records of Long-nosed potoroos in this area.  Under the NSW government’s approach, LNPs are a ‘land-scape managed’ species. The land-scape in this case begins south of Merimbula and extends to the Victorian border.

It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that the ‘streams’ approach may not be ideal, but on the positive side, there is considerable scope for improvement.

  1. The problems exist with existing Qld Government Koala Policy , the gutted Vegetation Management Act and Planning Legislation etc etc. as well as the Interim Koala Panel Findings. The are several Koala Industries in Qld: The Grant Industries for Koala Habitat and Climate Change modelling, Offset and Consultancy industry, Koala Labs and Land clearing and Land Development . There is a change as the Koalas go locally extinct and endanged by Local Authority that Zoos are looking for Trade, Tourist and Export Koalas and Genetic Material .
    The existing Qld DEHP Koala Policy although not adequately documented does not apparently deal with,
    Vegetation Clearing,
    Wild Dogs,
    Very High Euthanasia Rates at 4 Labs in SEQ,at 85% plus
    Road Kills and Green Fauna Infrastructure implementation (SEE DTMR retrofit wetcells for Bruce Highway
    Substantial Land buy back
    Planting landscape wide Corridors like Doraghys Corridor North Queensland
    Declaration of SEQ Koalas as Endangered with a Recovery Plan
    Delivery of about 6 types of Koala Mapping
    Release of Koala Observation , incident and mortality data and maps.
    Review of Vet. Rules etc. on Euthanasia
    Land use/clearing /roadkill and mortality study
    Tipping Point Koala Population Surveys

    There are other trends in the Interim Panel Report in unfortunate Koala Habitat Modelling and an elicit koala policy determination process which is unaccountable The scrutiny of all Governmenta..

    • Hi Ted, Good to hear from you, although the news isn’t too good. So I trust you agree, when it comes to koalas and the approach state governments are taking, there is room for improvement.

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