The council has endorsed the development of an updated draft Koala Recovery Action Plan to be presented to a mid-year meeting.
Les Mitchell, representing Guulago Koala Custodians, described the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council decision as a good outcome.
The updated Koala Recovery Action Plan, once adopted, would replace actions listed in the council's Koala Recovery Strategy.
Koalas are listed as endangered in NSW, Queensland and the ACT as prolonged drought, followed by the black summer bushfires and the cumulative impacts of disease, urbanisation and habitat loss take their toll.
Mr Mitchell, speaking at the March council meeting, urged the council to map all current koala habitat including corridors linking the known habitat areas.
He said the council may consider this would include a lot of detailed survey work and resources but he reminded councillors that the council already had a comprehensive document produced in 2013.
Mr Mitchell said the document mapped all preferred koala habitat based on extensive analysis of all the koala records to that time and the location of primary and secondary koala food trees.
"I believe it is critical that all the preferred koala habitat is rezoned to the highest level of environmental protection outside the national parks and nature reserves system," he said.
Mr Mitchell reminded the council meeting that koalas were endangered and the community was right behind measures to protect them.
Cr Sharon Griffiths put forward a new motion.
She told the meeting she wanted to make sure the councillors had a broader conversation.
"What I would like to see also is where we don't end up in a treadmill scenario where we continue to restudy, restudy, restudy," Cr Griffiths said.
Cr Lisa Intemann then put forward the staff recommendation with the addition of a councillor workshop before the June 2022 meeting.
That move was supported.
The council noted the Koala Recovery Strategy review outcomes and endorsed the development of an updated draft Koala Recovery Action Plan to be presented to the June 2022 council meeting. A councillor workshop will go ahead before the June meeting.
Cr Intemann said this was a very important matter for our area.
"We all acknowledge the overwhelming amount of projects and demands on council, but this is a matter of our heart locally, and the community is very strongly behind protecting our local koalas," Cr Intemann said.
Cr Rachel Sheppard said she thought this motion was a reasonable way forward, noting the urgency, noting the staff recommendations and noting the fabulous 14-page report and a truly fabulous video briefing.
Mayor Peta Pinson said she supported the motion with the view, that come June, if a draft recovery action plan was to come before council and it wasn't to their satisfaction, they could defer.
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