Supporting the koala population

The New South Wales Government has implemented a statewide plan to help the declining koala population and local governments, such as Coffs Harbour City Council, have a key role to play.

Last year, a State Government report revealed that koala populations are under increasing pressure and have declined in NSW by an estimated 26 per cent over the past 15 to 21 years.

The report produced by the NSW Chief Scientist made 11 recommendations to benefit koala populations in NSW with the objective being to stabilise and then increase koala numbers.

The main recommendation is that the State Government develops a whole-of-government koala strategy for NSW based on the principles of action, ongoing monitoring and continuous learning.
Coffs Harbour is one of a number of areas identified as having a significant koala population.

Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight said the City has a good track record on supporting koalas and welcomes support from the State Government.

“Local government has a key role in koala management and it’s encouraging to see the NSW Government consulting with local councils on the development of the NSW Koala Strategy.

“With Coffs Harbour having been the first in the state to develop its own Koala Plan of Management, we’ve shown we have a keen interest in the future of this most iconic of Australia’s native animals.”

On December 8 2016 Council also resolved to endorse a submission to the NSW Government regarding the review of State Environmental Planning Policy No 44 (SEPP 44) – Koala Habitat Protection.

SEPP 44 encourages local councils to conserve and manage koala habitat to ensure populations remain stable and the decline in their population is reversed. The Policy applies controls to development applications in listed local government areas, including Coffs Harbour.

As well as support for a number of the recommendations in the NSW Government report, Council’s submission highlights issues of concern including the ability of the Private Native Forestry Code of Practice and the 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Scheme to affect koala habitat.