NSW Koala Strategy

Warragamba Panorama

NSW Koala Strategy

Posted on: 07.05.2018

NSW Koala Strategy overlooks unique South-West Sydney population

Wollondilly Council is disappointed that the release of the NSW Koala Strategy by the State Government this week has failed to identify the significance of the state’s only disease free koala population spanning Wollondilly, Campbelltown and Liverpool local government areas in South Western Sydney.

Wollondilly Mayor, Cr Judith Hannan said, “The NSW Koala Strategy does not adequately address the importance of conserving the healthy koala population of South Western Sydney.”

“Wollondilly Council requests that the State Government prepare a conservation management plan to protect these koalas and their habitat corridors as a matter of urgency,” she said.

This unique koala population is estimated to number between 350 to 400 individuals, based on research carried out by Professor Rob Close from the University of Western Sydney and comprehensive survey work coordinated by the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage for the Wollondilly Koala Conservation Project and funded by the Saving Our Species Program.

Manager Environmental Outcomes, Alex Stengl said, “Appin Road and Picton Road have been identified as koala road kill hotspots that require protective fencing, as eight koalas have been killed on Appin Road in the last eight weeks and nine koalas were killed on these roads during the last two weeks of August 2017, yet the strategy does not call for fencing at these locations.”

Ms Stengl noted, “The Allens Creek area in Wilton has been identified as a critical corridor for breeding koalas and also a koala road kill hotspot.”

“Protective fencing in conjunction with existing fauna friendly culverts under Picton Road would provide safe passage for koalas and other fauna.”

Despite the recorded number of healthy koalas in this area and the high numbers of koalas being hurt or killed on State roads, there was also no funding assistance for the provision of koala care facilities in South Western Sydney nor any announcement for additional funding for scientific research in the area.

The recent decision by the Department of Planning and Environment to rezone South East Wilton threatens to bisect the southern portion of the vital Allens Creek koala corridor.

On 8 September 2017, the issue of protecting Sydney’s last unique koala colony was raised in state parliament by Greens MP David Shoebridge and the response from Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts was that “the Government is working towards a whole of Government Koala Strategy.”

By not addressing the presence of the only disease free koala colony in NSW in the Macarthur area in the published NSW Koala Strategy and allowing the recent re-zoning of land at Wilton, the State Government is disregarding the 2016 report of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineers by:

  • Not providing a Strategy with a whole of government approach to stabilise and increase koala numbers
  • Not improving koalas outcomes through changes in the planning system
  • Not guiding and encouraging best practice for development in areas of known koala population across tenures, industries and land users
  • Not identifying a priority area for conservation management and threat mitigation
  • Not facilitating the exchange of information across land managers, local government and the research community.