Here is a report from KoalaTracker headquarters about the terrible situation for koalas in Queensland. The Queensland government is reclearing land only recently regained for the environment. Wildlife activists are having to fight for the poorest secondary growth land because nothing else is available for koalas to live on. Humane Society International is of the opinion that a new Queensland Bill exposes hundreds of thousands of hectares of currently protected regrowth and remnant vegetation to clearing. The situation is urgent and shocking ...
By the way - Entries are now open for the KoalaTracker T-Shirt Design Competition. Please tap your creativity and help to come up with some t-shirt designs. You have just 3 weeks! If you are on Facebook, please 'like' and share www.facebook.com/KoalaTracker with your friends.
Moreton Bay Koala Rescue needs our help. The organisation is in dire need of a secretary and other volunteers to assist with admin. Please contact Anika on 0401 685 483.
A disturbing picture is coming together of koala plight
Alex Harris asks KoalaTracker afficionados to please keep spreading the word, and mapping those koala sightings. He says that the picture that is coming together is disturbing, but highly useful to further research, to council and state government risk mitigation, and more importantly, federal intervention if required. He adds that federal intervention is looking more and more likely as states go feral!
We can’t save them - or count them - if we don’t know where they are!
Queensland Department of Environment & Heritage Protection (DEHP) is conducting koala surveys in seven local government areas in South East Queensland over five years, to provide an update on the numbers, distribution and health of koalas in these regions.
It has recently started surveying throughout what we know to be the old Noosa shire (yes that includes the headland National Park), spending one week each month for most of the year, on public and private lands. DEHP intends to survey Maroochydore and Caloundra next year.
KoalaTracker is an important reference point for areas in which surveys should be undertaken that may not be recorded as high value habitat, so keep mapping your sightings, deaths and injuries for the public record.
Queensland rolling back environmental protection
One is inclined to pity the staff of DEHP charged with managing wildlife, ecosystems and sustainability, for the conflict the Queensland government has now established in policy with the Mines Minister announcing changes to the Vegetation Management Framework. In the name of ‘greentape reduction’, significant land will be open to wide scale clearing of regrowth and remnant vegetation.
In a 2002 landmark study by the Brisbane Institute, Professor Peter Spearritt laid out the value of greenspace to urban environments, its necessity to biodiversity and sustainability, the rapid rate of removal of greenspace already in Queensland, and the danger of a single city stretching 200 kilometres from the NSW border through to Noosa - a notion that has made quick progress to fruition.
Subsequently, Professor Spearritt and Dr John Nightingale made a submission on behalf of The Brisbane Institute to an Australian Parliament House Committee Sustainable Cities Inquiry. Governance of land, they note, is a critical issue.
Remarkably, Sydney is relatively well served, if we include the national parks and state forests that ring the city from south to west to north. Brisbane, on the other hand, is not so well served. While the area covered by the Brisbane City Council has a respectable proportion of greenspace, much of the remaining area of the so-called ‘200 kilometre city’ – Noosa to the Tweed and beyond down towards Byron Bay – is grossly deficient. Read their submission here: "Sustainable Cities".
Things have only gotten worse, and the threat to koalas from this state government is real. Some of our most important koala habitat is 20-50-year-old regrowth; some of the most stunning ‘Land for Wildlife’ properties are regrowth or remnant vegetation, and where we are seeing koalas alive, are in areas marked as low value habitat or not suitable habitat - often because they were cleared - but the regrowth is now proving to be the only habitat available.
Queensland Lib Nat Gov engaged in barbarous reclearing of habitat
The Vegetation Management Framework Amendment Bill, 2013, introduced to Parliament on the 20th of March by the Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, represents one of the largest environmental rollbacks in Australian history. While the government’s rhetoric claims an objective of maintaining protection and management of our native vegetation resources, the governments actions contradict those claims time and again.
Humane Society International is of the view that the Bill exposes hundreds of thousands of hectares of currently protected regrowth and remnant vegetation to clearing.
It is a clear breach of an election promise made by Premier Campbell Newman that “The LNP will retain the current level of statutory vegetation protection.” Just over one year on, his government has announced these proposals to remove regrowth regulations on freehold and indigenous land, and Humane Society International is strictly opposed to its fast-tracking.
The Vegetation Management Act, 1999, has played a critical role in protecting remnant vegetation and the clearing of high value regrowth and regrowth around certain watercourses in Queensland, and the proposed Bill will result in a significant weakening of associated laws. The integrity of the legislative scheme is underpinned by the application of detailed regulations and a robust methodology for the assessment of environmental outcomes, and in its current form the Vegetation Management Framework Amendment Bill undermines that integrity.
Urgent: Take action before May 12th
Click here to send a form letter prepared by HSI (please feel free to add your own comments), or write directly using the following contact details:
The Honourable Campbell Newman MP
PO Box 15185
City East QLD 4002
An incredible wildlife oasis in the near south west of Brisbane, Berrinba has a wonderful history of conservation. A member of the Wildlife Land Trust, Berrinba covers 90 hectares of pristine native bushland with a diversity of native species resident, including northern brown bandicoots, red-necked wallabies, swamp wallabies, powerful owls, scaly-breasted lorikeets, sacred kingfishers, eastern whipbirds, sugar gliders, the ornate burrowing frog, naked tree frog, copper-backed brood frog, and koala.
In the past few months alone, 91 koala sightings have been recorded. Representative of what Greater Brisbane used to look like and hold in wildlife, Berrinba is a special place within the Logan City Council area.
Koalas have been identified and named, and are now being mapped on KoalaTracker with some beautiful photographs. If you or your children have never seen koalas in the wild and you live in Brisbane, make sure you attend at least one of their Koala Spotting afternoons. Held the last Saturday of each month, 1:30pm for 2pm start of a guided walk - the next one is May 25th. Berrinba Sanctuary is at 292 Browns Plains Road (west of the Wetlands), Berrinba. Call 3806 8868 for more information.
Interesting Fact: Two politicians are involved in reporting koala sightings to KoalaTracker
Do you know that for all the rhetoric about saving the koala, there are only two politicians who are members of KoalaTracker, and who are reporting sightings? And you would never guess who...Warren Truss, federal member for Wide Bay and Tony Wellington, Councillor at Sunshine Coast Regional Council. Thank you both for being a part of KoalaTracker. Please urge your colleagues to join!
There is a lot more Koala Tracker news
Although this article is mostly about Queensland problems, KoalaTracker is a national project. Just this month, the communication of issues in Queensland is urgent, and rather than write a very long article, information about other state predicaments has been reserved for the next article.
Don’t forget, KoalaTracker will feature on the television show Totally Wild, Channel Ten, Tuesday 14th of May. And if you haven't visited the KoalaTracker blog recently, please do! There are articles with videos and photos about koalas eating apples, cows killing koalas, and the wonderful documentary, Wild koalas: slow life in the fast lane. You can see the full documentary here. It will air on National Geographic channel later in the year.
Please support KoalaTracker.com.au. Monthly fees across two platforms jump from $70 to $82 in July, and this project is self-funded, without government or corporate support.
In the meantime, Alex Harris, who heads this project, looks forward to seeing your design entries! Competition closes May 30th, 2013. Winners announced June 10th. Alex may be contacted at
0412 635 274