The Department of Planning and Environment is working to better conserve the natural habitat of koalas (NEFA: “Stop Baird exterminating koalas”).
Contrary to what is suggested in the article, we are proposing to strengthen the controls in the State Environmental Planning Policy to better preserve areas that are vital to koala survival.
The proposed policy improvements will support councils to prepare comprehensive management plans, make it clearer to assess proposals that may impact koala habitat, and ensure their habitat is considered early in the strategic planning process.
We are not removing the need for developers to survey their site for koalas and vegetation. They will be required to fulfil the criteria set out in the guidelines and councils will then assess them on this.
We’re improving koala protection by strengthening the definition that will identify their habitat. This will be supported by the expansion of the list of tree species recognised as supporting koalas from 10 to 65.
We are also preserving, not removing, the ability for councils to appropriately zone key areas of koala habitat by updating the Local Planning Directions. This will ensure koala habitat is raised and addressed early in the plan making process.
We’ve worked with councils and key non-government organisations including koala protection groups, to inform these proposed updates. We welcome community feedback while the proposed changes are on public exhibition until 16 December. The package can be viewed at www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Koala-habitat
Deputy Secretary Policy & Strategy
Department of Planning and Environment