Mayor calls for Koala Hospital
Posted on: 02.12.2019
Mayor Matthew Deeth has called for the establishment of a koala hospital in the Wollondilly Shire to further protect the unique local koala population in the event of bushfires or other natural disasters.
Wollondilly Council has been championing the cause of one of the last chlamydia-free koala populations in the state with its #SaveOurKoalas campaign, which has achieved a number of significant outcomes so far.
The establishment of a hospital would add a vital component in the overall strategy to protect the koala colony and ensure its longevity.
Mayor Matthew Deeth said, “After seeing the many koala deaths and the devastation of their habitat up north during the recent bushfires, I think we really need to be ready to look after our precious koala population.”
“We just need one fire in the catchment to wipe out the entire population, so we need to be prepared. Council is working closely with the RFS to manage the fire risk, but we don’t have a local facility to cope with an emergency should it arise.”
“Apart from the bushfire threat, our koalas are already at risk from development, roads and disease. We need to make sure processes are in place to ensure the survival of this iconic species,” he said.
Council is currently providing support to the Wollondilly koala population in a number of ways, including working with developers and other agencies to address the threats they face.
- This week Council will place an Expression of Interest on exhibition for a Comprehensive Shire Wide Koala Plan of Management. This plan will assess and determine broader landscape corridors and core areas for protection within our local government area.
- Council is finalising the Allen’s Creek Koala Plan of Management with Walkers Corporation, as agreed upon last year. This Plan of Management identifies ways to enhance the existing vegetation corridors for koalas in the South East of Wilton and actions to improve connectivity along the Allen’s Creek Corridor.
- Council continues to manage the Koala phone hotline, assisting in taking deceased koalas to the Sydney University facility at Cobbitty for assessment as well as investigating and logging sightings.
- A WIRES Koala Rehabilitation Shelter at Appin has the full support of Council, and will provide an important facility for the rehabilitation of injured koalas prior to being released into their natural habitat.
- Council was represented at a recent Public Hearing held as part of the Legislative Council Inquiry regarding koalas, also providing a wide range of information on Council resolutions and reports requested by members of the Committee.
- The Environment, Energy and Science Branch, (formerly known as Office of Environment and Heritage) is undertaking ongoing monitoring of the movement of koalas across Wollondilly using tracing collars. This is part of the Koala Project funded under the Save our Species Program. Additional monitoring in the vicinity of Avon Dam and in the Wingecarribee Local Government Area by took place during September 2019.
Aside from these initiatives, Council continues to work with relevant Government Agencies to achieve controls that will protect koala habitat and corridors from development and planning proposals. Council is committed to the protection of our koalas and sees the establishment of a koala hospital in the shire as an important step in this process.