New survey to save the koala

ALEX CORBY

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The Palaszczuk government are seeking public insight through a new online survey to help gauge community perceptions on Koala’s and their management.

Dr Steven Miles, Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection spoke at a luncheon last Friday on Sir Richard Branson’s Makepeace Island in the Noosa River to discuss the new program to protect Koala population.

“The survey will be used, in part, by our newly appointed Koala expert panel in the development of recommendations for future strategies to ensure the long-term survival of the Koalas in the wild in the states south-east,” Dr Miles said.

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Orphaned koala at Moggill Koala Hospital. Source: http://www.ehp.qld.gov.au.

A few of the questions that will be asked in the survey are; What are the threats that are having the greatest impact to Koala’s, in the Queensland area? Could you recommend measures to change this? And do you record Koala sightings in your area?

$12.1 million is being spent to boost Koala conservation measures and improve population survey over the next fours years to help asses the situation. Plus an additional  2.6 million per annum for an going funding program.

“This funding will provide continued support for Koala care and rehabilitation services, expanded population surveys and funding for the Moggill Koala centre (is this the Moggill Koala Hospital?)” Dr Miles said.

“However without these existing measures, there is the potential that the decline may have been significantly greater.”

The Palaszczuk Government have also put in place an expert panel to explore ways to better protect koalas in the wake of a recent report confirming populations continue to decline in South-East Queensland.

Ms Antra Hood from Minter Ellison recently joined the panel to ensure it featured a representative with planning expertise.

“This will be an important component of the work, as part of the panel’s job will be to provide recommendations on existing regulatory options and development instruments,” Dr Miles said.

Dr Miles said the panel was working with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to provide recommendations on “the most appropriate and realistic actions to address the decline of the state’s koala population,”

“They will advise us on various immediate actions to allow us to continue gathering important data through surveying and modelling, and other conservation measures – without pre-empting future changes in direction,” he said.

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