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Small step in battle to save koalas

Posted: 3pm 06 Aug 2020

The Moreton Bay Region has taken a “small but important step” forward in the race to save our native animals. Wildlife carers hope this is just the beginning.

Council this week voted to push forward with plans to buy back 10 key parcels of private environmentally-important land and protective it from development.

The move was praised by a koala rescuer, conservationist and scientist on the day the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) released a damning report into the loss of native habitat.

The Extinction Crisis in Australia’s Cities and Towns says Queensland has been the worst state for loss of habitat. Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast among the five worst regions, alongside with Gold Coast, Townsville and Sydney.

Sandwiched between the Brisbane and Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay Regional Council currently has $1.8 million in its buyback program to protect land and native flora and fauna.

Buyback starts

“We’ll begin discussions with those landowners to hopefully acquire that private land through our new environmental land buyback program,” Mayor Peter Flannery says.

“Once we have secured these land parcels, work will get underway to restore and rehabilitate the area to suit our wildlife. Property acquisitions will be voluntary.

“This is possible thanks to a small $6 increase to our infrastructure charge in this year’s Budget, which means we’ve now got $1.8 million in the kitty to get this ball rolling.”

Jess Abrahams, from the ACF, says the move is “a small but important step to take.

“It’s fantastic and I welcome it, but there’s a long road ahead. I imagine property in that area runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” she says.

There are known koala populations around Mt Nebo, Mt Glorious and Mt Mee as well as more populated western suburbs such as Kurwongbah, Cashmere, Joyner and Whiteside.

The buyback program is likely to target areas of future development such as Warner, Eatons Hill, Bunyaville, Samford and Ferny Hills, as well as suburbs near The Mill Priority Development Area such as North Lakes, Joyner, Lawnton and Petrie.

Damaging 10 years

Terri Harvey, President of Moreton Bay Koala Rescue, said the land buyback, if rolled out year-upon-year, would make a difference.

“The new Council is very good at consultation and is trying extremely hard to do what it can, but there has been a lot of damage in the last 10 years,” she says.

However, there is still a heavy loss of koala life, Terri says.

“We’ve had two survive and lost 12 in two months on Eatons Crossing Road. The number is horrendous,” she explains.

She’s calling for all developments to have wide nature corridors to enable animals to move around safely.

Deidre deVilliers, Scientific Manager at Endeavour Veterinary Ecology at Toorbul, says: “Hopefully, this is a start and will be something which can expand and get better.

“It’s something which everyone can help, from keeping dogs locked up at night right through to Federal planning.”

If you find an injured koala, phone Moreton Bay Koala Rescue’s 24-hour rescue line 0401 080 333.

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