Media Statement: Friday 26 June
Moreton Bay Regional Council will fund a new $1.8 million environmental land buyback program to protect strategic wildlife corridors, koala habitat and greenspace.
This will be made possible through a $6 increase to the existing Infrastructure Charge, up from $78 to $84.
Moreton Bay Region Mayor Peter Flannery said the program would ensure native habitats would remains for generations to come.
“By increasing the Infrastructure Charge by $6 to include the environment, we will also be able to fund a new land buyback program specifically dedicated to protecting strategic wildlife corridors, koala habitat and greenspace,” he said.
“It’s time for us to step up and take responsibility for the environmental impact that every new road, new bridge, new house has on our flora and fauna - and that’s exactly what this Council is doing this Budget.
“We have heard loud and clear that locals want greater environmental protections in the face of a growing population, so this Budget we’re giving locals certainty that the environment will be considered alongside all infrastructure projects. And we’re putting our money where our mouth is.
“Just this week Council unanimously voted to install 920 metres of koala-proof fencing along Dohles Rocks Road, Kallangur, following car collisions with native animals in the area.
“As well as protecting native habitats and installing wildlife movement infrastructure to keep wildlife safe around roads, we’re also directly funding koala monitoring and health programs to the tune of $3 million over the next two years that are leading the nation in terms of koala population growth.
“These are bold actions, but they are necessary because as a father I want to be able to look my daughter in the eye and say hand-on-heart that this Council did everything it could in the face of a growing human population and a changing climate.”
Moreton Bay Regional Council is continuing to have positive discussions with the Queensland State Government about its koala mapping, to hopefully increase these protections.
Moreton Bay Koala Rescue President Terri Harvey said growing habitats was the key to the survival of koalas.
“Our region’s koalas are breeding successfully this year, however that means they need habitat to disperse into,” she said.
“If we can get more areas for koalas that Council can buy near existing habitats, they have somewhere safe to spread out, particularly the males during breeding season for nine months of the year.”
Endeavour Veterinary Ecology (EVE) Managing Director Dr Jon Hanger said it was still important to create a safe environment outside existing habitats for koalas.
“It’s not enough to say koalas need to live out in the bush, we need to make our environment safe for them too and it’s impressive to see Council doing that,” he said.
“Thanks to Council’s funding our world-leading koala monitoring program has achieved a 22 per cent increase each year in the koala population at The Mill since the program began in June 2017. At the start of the project, there were 45 koalas on site, and now we have counted 86 koalas with 27 joeys!
“We’re demonstrating that if you actively go in and manage populations, we can get them to grow quite rapidly in populations previously declining.”