Koala conservation and new koala habitat mapping across Moreton Bay was discussed when Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch, department representatives and the Member for Pine Rivers Nikki Boyd met with Moreton Bay acting Mayor Mike Charlton, councillors and community representatives from the Moreton Bay Region.
Minister Enoch said that she has asked the Department of Environment and Science (DES) to work with the Moreton Bay Regional Council to ensure local biodiversity values have the appropriate level of protection.
“The state’s new koala habitat protections are the strongest protections Queensland has ever seen and cover 690,000 hectares across South East Queensland which is an increase of over 421,000 hectares on what was in place under the previous state mapping.” Minister Enoch said.
“We’ve used a state-of-the-art methodology and are following the advice of the experts.
“The Member for Pine Rivers Nikki Boyd MP has been a strong advocate in her community and I would like to thank her and Mike Charlton the acting Mayor for Moreton Bay for working with the Government to ensure the best possible habitat protections are in place.
“The work that’s being done will enable some parcels of land to be covered by the interim protections we already have in place, while an assessment of the habitat is undertaken.”
Nikki Boyd MP said that her community are passionate about our local biodiversity and want to make sure that it is protected.
“We’ve been working together with the community to make sure the most appropriate protections are in place for Moreton Bay’s koalas and the other wildlife we share this beautiful place with.” Ms Boyd said.
The Department of Environment and Science and Moreton Bay Regional Council have also met with the Herbarium and expert panel chair Dr Jonathon Rhodes.
DES officers are now assisting Council to identify additional data that may support further areas being included in the two-year transitional provisions or establish other mechanisms to protect areas with locally significant biodiversity values.
Acting Mayor Mike Charlton said Council and the State Government had been working well together.
“This is a win for locals and a testament to the success of local koala care groups in advocating the need for green corridors remain so that koalas can safely move between habitats,” Cr Charlton said.
“I want to thank Minister Enoch for having an open door, an open mind and taking such pragmatic and decisive action in response to our concerns.
“Moreton Bay Regional Council has one of the only koala management programs in all of Australia that is actually increasing our local population and we want to continue this success.
“Our aim is for Moreton Bay Region to be the benchmark for koala protections, by demonstrating how urban planning can integrate with our natural environment to ensure human population growth doesn’t come at the cost of native species.
“I look forward to continuing this productive relationship with the Environment Minister and thank our local Members of Parliament for helping to organise this meeting.”
The Queensland Government received thousands of submissions during public consultation on the draft Strategy and is now analysing that feedback to inform delivery of a final Strategy later in 2020.