FUNDING: The 3000 to 4000 koalas in Ipswich have been allocated extra funding in the budget.
FUNDING: The 3000 to 4000 koalas in Ipswich have been allocated extra funding in the budget. Claudia Baxter

Millions to be spent on environment initiatives in Ipswich

A MULTI-MILLION dollar investment in the environment will occur in Ipswich over the next year with visitor access and experience in the city's conservation estates set to benefit.

The Ipswich City Council's budget has allocated $3 million in 2017-18 to the estates which environment spokesperson Cr David Morrison said was part of a $5 million two-year plan.

"The plan includes the construction of a visitor information centre, boardwalks and new trail heads as well as improved signage," he said.

"The first cab off the rank will be the Paperbark Flats day use area within the White Rock-Spring Mountain Conservation Estate.

"Work to transform Small Creek from a drain back to a natural waterway will continue with on site works expected to start before the end of the year."

Acting Mayor Paul Tully said one of the big winners out of this year's budget would be the Greening Ipswich Tree Program.

"We are going to plant 500,000 trees across the city in the next five years. That is an extraordinary commitment to our environment in the city," he said.

"We will also reinvesting in programs that directly support our koalas, rock wallaby and platypus populations.

"The estimated koala population is between 3000 and 4000. They are not council numbers. They are figures that have been researched by the Koala Ecology Group."

Cr Morrison said $648,000 would be spent on conservation planning with $25,000 set aside to implement a new soon-to-be released koala plan.

He said that previous investment in improving the habitat for animals such as the platypus and rock wallaby had already reaped results.

"Already, several sightings of the brush-tailed rock wallaby have been recorded since lantana removal works at Flinders-Goolman Conservation Estate," he said.

Cr Morrison said one of the most effective ways of encouraging greater protection of the natural environment was to encourage residents to "connect with it and appreciate its value".

To that end, he said the council would continue to fund popular environment-focussed community events.