Council condemns rushed Koala conservation plans
A COUNCIL has slammed a State Government plan that would result in the amount of protected Koala habitat in the region reduced by more than half.
Somerset Regional Councillors have offered their opinions on the Draft South East Queensland Koala Conservation Strategy, calling it rushed, uninformed, and lacking ambition.
In a report submitted to council, officers outlined numerous issues with the strategy, which councillors wholeheartedly agreed with.
"I think a lot more details needs to go into this," Cr. Robert Whalley said.
"The state is being so blasé about it, and it's far too vague."
Among the issues raised was the strategy's focus on future habitat locations, rather than protecting and connecting existing ones.
"We can't have isolated pockets of koalas," Cr Whalley said.
"The populations need to be connected."
Another issue is the strategy will actually protect significantly less koala habitat than what is already covered by the council's current planning scheme, reducing it from 106,000 hectares down to just 48,000.
Cr. Helen Brieschke pointed out the strategy also failed to make use of accurate data for the region's koala numbers and hotspots.
"When our wildlife rescuers pick up an animal, whether it's been hit by a car or mauled by a dog, or anything, they have to fill out forms in triplicate and submit those to the government," she said.
"The data for our area doesn't reflect that information at all. Koalas might be in decline, but we still have significant populations here."
The council report went on to criticise the strategy's lack of ambition and absence of new plans, commitments, and technologies to aid in protecting koalas and their habitat.
Overall consensus was that the strategy was too hasty and vague, with one councillor in particular being outspoken in his disdain for the rushed nature of the strategy.
"The way the government is rushing this whole thing is wrong," Cr. Dan Hall said.
"They kill thousands of these things by not doing other stuff properly, then they expect us to look after them? It's just wrong."