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B2N - Queensland’s koala protections will not save koalas


Conservationists are urging the Queensland Government to hit the brakes on the destruction of vital koala habitat, following an analysis which shows new protection rules will only ensure we watch koalas die out a little slower.


The Miles Government has released its findings and recommendations following a review into koala habitat protection regulations in South East Queensland, which were introduced in 2020 to better protect our iconic koala population and the habitat they call home (statements.qld.gov.au/statements/100351).


Queensland Conservation Council Urban Sustainability Strategist Jen Basham said: “By themselves the new regulations will not reverse the trajectory of habitat loss in time to save the koala. That’s why we need a strong, independent EPA for Queensland with the power to monitor and reject projects that will destroy habitat. 


“The mission to save koalas is tied up in too many loopholes. Exemptions continue to prioritise development over the protection of koala habitat,” Jen shared.


“Logging native forests on private land is exempt, meaning there could literally be a koala in a tree that is logged without any monitoring.”


This is upsetting and frustrating to hear, and Jen continued, “The state also continues to give itself exemptions on a raft of urban, infrastructure and transport-related development, with far less rigour and transparency around preserving habitat. 


“The state gave itself a ‘free pass’ for destruction when they brought in the bulldozers to mow down koala habitat next to QEII hospital for a car park.


“We know we need housing, but we need to build up and densify, not out with more ‘greenfields’ development.”


Rebecca Larkin, retired wildlife vet and member of the Ipswich Koala Protection Society and Save Woogaroo Forest said: “After 20 years of what was basically palliative care of koalas for a preventable disease - us destroying their forests - I had to euthanise so many sick and horribly injured koalas I couldn't do it any more.


“A forest is like a huge, complex organism; you can't just keep chopping bits off. These mature, functional forests that support koalas and other threatened species are nearly impossible for us to recreate. Why don't we value them? They're priceless.


“We need koalas because if we have koalas we have forests and everything that lives in them, but also there’s just something about koalas. We relate to them, on a personal level. Seeing them in the wild, sleeping in the trees, they just get into your heart somehow.


“We have to pull our weight. The rest of the world would be horrified to know we’re destroying koala forests. We’ve got plenty of other places we can build our houses on.


“There is no ‘elsewhere’ for koalas, there is no moving them onto somewhere else. Here in SEQ, when we clear the forests the koalas die. It's as simple as that. We need to change things, now, and not keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

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