Koala Fund to protect our iconic mammals

8 June 2018

The iconic koala will be given further support and protection across the Gold Coast.

Mayor Tom Tate has today announced a Koala Fund of $10.85 million for koala habitat protection.

To create the fund, ratepayers will contribute $3 per annum to a special koala levy, starting in 2018-19. Around $800,000 will be raised next financial year with Council planning to borrow the additional $10 million to fund koala habitat purchases.

The Mayor said he was delighted the Koala Fund had gained support with Councillors.

“We will be able to purchase habitat important for koalas. When we acquire it, that land won’t be simply locked away. Instead, we will invest in infrastructure that will help the koala survive and thrive,’’ he said.

The importance of koalas within the Gold Coast has long been recognised and as such, management of populations and habitat has been incorporated into the City’s various policies and strategies including the City Plan, and the recently endorsed Our Natural City Strategy and Koala Conservation Plan.

“We are looking at ways to improve habitat coverage and condition, decrease koala injuries and fatalities caused by domestic and pest animals, and manage threats from traffic and bushfire, which are priority actions within the City’s Koala Conservation Plan,’’ said Mayor Tate.

“For example, if a land purchase adjoins a busy road, we would look to install protective measures as we know that vehicle strikes are a major cause of koala injury and death.

“The other big issue facing koalas are domestic dogs so we will look at what measures can be undertaken to keep domestic dogs away from these koala areas. This starts with dog owners, not allowing their animals to roam free and savage our beautiful koala.’’

Key areas Council will look to acquire land include Coomera and Pimpama.

Mayor Tate encouraged residents to report koala sightings by signing up to the City’s Koala Friends Program at gchaveyoursay.com.au/koalas or by phoning 1300 GOLDCOAST

Ratepayers already contribute annually to an Open Space Maintenance and Enhancement Separate Charge (OSMESC). This supports a wide range of activities and initiatives to manage and maintain the city’s natural asset network. Council-managed natural area estates have doubled since 2006 and now cover around 13,652 hectares.

The 2018-19 City Budget will be delivered on 21 June with any general average rate increase expected to be at, or below, CPI.

 

Koala Fund to protect our iconic mammals photo