Today’s decision by the Federal Government to classify koalas in NSW, QLD and the ACT as vulnerable provides some certainty, but more is needed.
The residential development industry has long taken any listing of national environment significance seriously when planning for future developments. The sector has also long called for the Government to provide funding to accurately map the koala population across the nation to enable us to develop in accordance with these maps, said Caryn Kakas, Executive Director, Residential Development Council.
“The development sector is already strongly committed to ensuring best practice measures are applied when planning sustainable communities. If we are serious about protecting the koala population nationally, then we need to have a much better understanding of where sustainable populations reside. Those populations should be the top priority for ensuring resilience of the species into the future.”
“The commitment of $300,000 to find out more about koala habitat is a positive next step.”
“We encourage the Government to fund and undertake this national mapping as soon as possible in order to provide greater certainty to the industry and to the community,” she said.
“The koala was already listed as a vulnerable species in South East Queensland by the State Government. This status change by the Federal Government now extends protection under Federal and State law in Queensland and increases protection in New South Wales and the ACT.
“Today’s decision also reconfirms the need for a consistent system of strategic assessments. These joint assessments will give greater planning certainty. They will also ensure that applications with site specific identified elements of national environmental significance will be reviewed once thoroughly, rather than the current ad-hoc, dysfunction system which is currently in place.”
“The industry also needs one set of clear and consistent guidelines to aid developers in understanding policy intent and their responsibilities when a new listing occurs,” said Ms Kakas.
Caryn Kakas, Executive Director, Residential Development Council on 0404 257 540 or email@example.com; or
Emma Clark, PR & Communications Manager, Residential Development Council on 0428 950 866 or firstname.lastname@example.org