Wollondilly Council and Walker Corporation sign historic agreement to ensure koala protection

Warragamba Panorama

Wollondilly Council and Walker Corporation sign historic agreement to ensure koala protection

Posted on: 12.09.2018

Wollondilly Shire Council and Walker Corporation have entered into an historic Deed of Agreement that will ensure ongoing protections are in place for Macarthur’s important koala colony.

The Deed of Agreement outlines a number of actions that will support sustainable development at South East Wilton and provide a positive impact on the koalas living in nearby bushland. It sets a benchmark for koala protections that Walker will follow across all development in the region.

Wollondilly Shire Council Mayor Judith Hannan said the agreement was the result of widespread community support along with months of negotiation and hard work by the Council and Walker Corporation.

 “Our intention from the outset has been to secure the future of the koalas. This agreement sets in place a wide range of measures that will make sure any development that takes place near koala habitats will have no negative impact on the colony,” Cr Hannan said.

“The community and Council have fought hard for the koala colony through a vigorous campaign and we are pleased to be putting these protections in place today. This agreement between Council and Walker shows what the community and developers can achieve when they work collaboratively together.”

“I would like to thank the community and advocates from right across NSW for getting behind this issue wholeheartedly. The enormous support for the Save Our Koalas campaign in the last three months has shown just how committed people are to the future of the Wollondilly koala population,” she said.

Walker Corporation’s executive planner Gerry Beasley said the agreement put Walker’s commitments to the koala colony in writing and sets a major milestone for other developers in the region.

“The Macarthur koala colony is critically important to both the community and Walker and we will do everything we possibly can to make sure we are supporting the koalas into the future,” Mr Beasley said.

“We will work closely with the Council, the NSW Government, agencies like WIRES and our ecological experts to get the best outcomes for the colony.”

The Deed of Agreement includes Walker developing a comprehensive koala plan of management for the entire Allens Creek corridor which will include:

  • A koala habitat restoration plan
  • Fencing around koala habitat areas to keep koalas off Picton Road and out of developed areas
  • Significant upgrades to culverts to allow safe koala crossings under roads
  • Clear signage of all habitat areas
  • A koala monitoring program
  • Information brochures for residents
  • Permanent koala warning signs on Picton Road

Walker has previously committed to retaining all vegetation on the South East Wilton development site, which covers 40 per cent of the landholding.

“Our focus for Wilton South East for the families who will one day call it home is creating a healthy, connected, well-serviced and sustainable community on a unique bushland fringe site. We know the koalas are a big part of what makes this area so special and we want to preserve that,” Mr Beasley said.

“We believe with careful consideration and investment, we can deliver this community and improve outcomes for the koala colony. We want to set a benchmark for koala friendly development that we can continue for future development in this region.”

Walker Corporation recently engaged EMM Consulting’s Dr Steve Ward, an eminent ecologist with a long connection to the Macarthur region to support work Walker is doing to secure the koala colony.

“It is important that the local koala colony maintains good connections to allow animals to move and find breeding partners,” Dr Ward said.

“A serious issue facing the colony is road crossings. This agreement introduces significant, positive mitigations to help the colony move through the region safely.”

Media: Stacy Farrar 0428 085 150 (Walker Corporation)

Belinda Fleming 02 4677 9715 (Wollondilly Shire Council)