Revised Koala Regulations and how they will affect you...

    Friday, February 14, 2020

    On the 7th February 2020, the South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy was adopted. This Strategy has included the adoption of widespread Koala Habitat Areas, which is based on Remnant and Regrowth Vegetation listed as Essential Habitat for the koala. The second and more significant category that has been introduced is the Koala Priority Areas which includes more than 500,000ha of koala bushland and potential habitat areas in SEQ. These areas include the former ‘Koala Assessable Development Areas’ and ‘Priority Koala Assessable Development Areas’, as well as additional land considered to be high priority for koala conservation.

    The clearing of Koala Habitat Areas for development within Koala Priority Areas is prohibited under the new Strategy. Where development is located within a Koala Priority Area but does not propose clearing of Koala Habitat, other conservation outcomes may be required (such as habitat restoration or fauna passage requirements).

    Developments that are outside of the Koala Priority Areas and are proposing to clear mapped Koala Habitat will need to address the “avoid, minimise, offset” framework identified by the Queensland Environmental Offsets Policy. This policy requires that development first and foremost avoids impacts on mapped Koala Habitat. Where it can be demonstrated that impacts are unable to be completely avoided but have been minimised, an offset may be accepted by DES to facilitate the development. Offsets can be delivered by the proponent through land protection and restoration or a financial settlement. Where a financial settlement offset is agreed upon by the applicant and assessing agency, the calculation uses the existing DES method which is capped at $230,000 per hectare of Koala Habitat impacted.

    These new regulations do not apply to applications that were lodged or approved prior to 7th February 2020, and do not apply to Priority Development Areas.

    Burchills can help you determine if Koala Priority Areas and / or Koala Habitat is mapped on your property, and how this mapping may affect future development.

    If you need any assistance with your development please contact:
    Kaidon Anderson, Environmental Scientist on P: 5509 6400 or M: 0400 482 452

    Consulting Engineers & Environmental Scientists Qld