Regionally important koala habitat will be protected on five private properties in the Port Macquarie region under a conservation management program.
That is the result of the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust’s (BCT) tender for conservation management of koala habitat in the Port Macquarie area.
Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams made the announcement during the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital’s 45th birthday celebrations on December 18.
The five in perpetuity conservation agreements, between the landholders and NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust, cover more than 173 hectares of land.
The Biodiversity Conservation Trust will invest $6.3 million in the Biodiversity Conservation Fund to meet annual conservation payments for five properties, in perpetuity, which constitutes a considerable additional annual income for the owners.
“This is a significant result for landholders who applied through the BCT’s conservation tender and have now entered agreements with the BCT where they will receive annual payments to carry out funded conservation management actions to conserve koala habitat on their land,” Mrs Williams said.
“These five privately-owned properties support regionally important koala habitat.”
The trust supports and encourages landholders to enter into agreements to protect biodiversity on private land.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital clinical director Cheyne Flanagan said the conservation agreements meant the landowners would receive money annually to maintain the koala habitat.
She said it was a way for the habitat to be conserved, while providing some income for the property owners.
Ms Flanagan said it was wonderful the five property owners, who wished to remain anonymous, were willing to enter into the conservation agreements.
NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said conservation of these high-quality koala habitats was expected to also benefit the conservation of other locally occurring threatened species including gliders, owls and flora species.
As part of the state government’s Koala Strategy announced in May 2018, the BCT is prioritising koala habitat for funding with a commitment to support landholders who wish to protect koala habitat while managing their land for other uses such as farming.
“Under the BCT’s conservation management program, koala habitat is being conserved and managed on private land, which is a key element of the government’s commitment to deliver koala habitat conservation under the NSW Koala Strategy,” Ms Upton said.
The minister announced in July the commitment of a further $61.4 million for BCT programs in 2018-19 designed to support and encourage landholders to protect and conserve biodiversity on private land.
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