Overwhelming response to calls for koala habitat

More than 150 south-east Queensland landowners have offered to sell their properties under the Newman Government’s Koala Habitat Program.
Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said the Queensland Government had received more than 150 applications when expressions of interest closed earlier this week.
“We’ve had interest from landholders in all the eligible local government areas, with most of these being from the Sunshine Coast local authority area,” Mr Powell said.
“Multiple applications have also been received from Moreton Bay, Gold Coast, Somerset, Ipswich, Scenic Rim, Redland, Logan and Lockyer Valley local authority areas.
“These applications will now be competitively assessed against a range of criteria, with connectivity and habitat being a major focus.
“We have allocated $22.5 million over the next three years to buy land and expand koala habitat in areas where their territory is under significant pressure.
“Purchased properties will undergo rehabilitation and may be gazetted as national park, nature refuge or a reserve for community use and there will be recreational opportunities for the community wherever possible.
“With such a large response, unfortunately not all properties will meet the eligibility criteria for the first round, however funding has been allocated over three years so there will be further opportunities for landowners.
“The properties purchased under the Koala Habitat Program will make a significant contribution to Queensland’s koala habitat.”
Mr Powell said habitat acquisition was part of the Newman Governments $26 million investment in koala protection.
“We will continue to take action to address other issues that affect koala numbers such as attacks from domestic animals and vehicle strikes by offering $800,000 for koala rescue and rehabilitation groups and $3.2million for koala disease research,” he said.
“The Newman government is committed to protecting our koalas and I appreciate the great support we have received from Queenslanders in that endeavour.”