29th September is Save the Koala Day but what is there to celebrate about?
Since the beginning of the twentieth century we have placed koalas survival at risk. In Queensland there was several open hunting seasons, 1915, 1917 and 1919, with one million taken in 1919. In 1927 the Queensland government allowed 584,738 koalas to be taken for skins. By the 1930s the koala was extinct in South Australia and since then we have had tollways and now urban expansion, with the SEQ koala declining from Common to vulnerable.
But isn't the koala safe under new state planning laws setup to protect the koala, Nature Conservation (Koala) Conservation Plan 2006 and Management
Program 2006 - 2016?
Well! Since 1995 there has been many state planning policies setup allegedly to protect the koala.
State planning policy 1/95 : Conservation of koalas in the Koala Coast.
State planning policy 1/97 : Conservation of koalas in the Koala Coast.
State planning policy 1/05 : Conservation of koalas in Southeast QLD.
SEQ Regional Plan. Interim Guideline: Koalas and Development.
However, in the last seven years during the time of these plans and within the Redland Shire, the heart of the Koala Coast an area supporting one of Australia's most significant koala populations, the koala population has declined by 47% in urban areas and and total drop of 31% in the Koala Coast. During this time the SEQ koala has gone from common to vulnerable.
Will the Nature Conservation (Koala) Conservation Plan 2006 and Management Program 2006 - 2016 stop the decline of koalas?
Mr. Baltais spokesperson for the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland Bayside Branch said, "No, the Koala Plan will not stop clearing of koala habitat or the significant death toll of koalas due to cars and dogs."
"The new plan is almost silent on dog control. The new plan provides no evidence that effective safe wildlife crossings will be implemented but it appears standard 1.5 metre high dry culverts will be used, these are next to useless." said Mr. Baltais.
Mr. Baltais said, "In the Koala Conservation Area, the area with the alleged greatest protection, 100's of hectares of bushland will be lost to urban development, quarries and road upgrades. In one residential estate alone 168 hectares of koala habitat and Endangered Regional Ecosystem will be cleared for houses."
The Koala Plan says it will allow development though albeit sustainable and sensitive to koalas.
Mr. Baltais said, "We are in numerous court appeals trying to stop inappropriate development promoted as sustainable by developers and supported by the state government. These claims are far-fetched nonsense claiming development can enhance the natural environment."
Mr. Baltais said, "Will the Nature Conservation (Koala) Conservation Plan 2006 and Management Program 2006 - 2016 stop the decline of the koala? No it will not."
Wildlife Preservation Society of QLD Bayside Branch
Mb: 0412 075 334