Stronger protections are now in place for the North Coast koala population after the Tweed and Byron comprehensive Koala Plans of Management (KPoMs) became the first to be approved under Koala SEPP 2021.
The KPoMs identify koala management areas, precincts and core koala habitat within the coastal area of the Tweed and Byron Shire local government areas.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said approval of the KPoMs would provide certainty to private landholders.
“The majority of Tweed and Byron’s koala habitat is on private land and these KPoMs mean farmers and landowners will no longer have to do individual assessments when proposing new development,” Mr Barilaro said.
“It means koala habitat is protected and gives landowners greater certainty.”
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said this was an important milestone and a sign of stronger koala protections to come across the state.
“The situation for the koala population in these coastal regions is critical and this will help halt the decline in numbers and provide the right conditions for koala populations to grow,” Mr Stokes said.
“While there are important areas of koala habitat in public ownership at National Parks such as Cudgen Nature Reserve in Tweed or the Billinudgel Nature Reserve in Byron, the greater proportion of koala habitat is privately owned.
“These plans will be reviewed regularly by the councils to ensure they remain effective.”
Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said it was a great example of the NSW Government working with local councils to protect koalas.
“Tweed Shire has long recognised the importance of having a thriving local koala population and the adoption of this KPoM will go a long way to protect it,” Mr Provest said.
“The plan identifies core koala habitat along the Tweed coast, strengthening protections for koala colonies around Cudgen Lake, Kings Forest, Round Mountain, Koala Beach, Pottsville and Black Rocks.”
“This KPOM will help the local koala population to increase and thrive by increasing the level of protection for approximately 1,800 hectares of identified koala habitat.”
Since 2018, the NSW Government has invested more than $44.7 million to secure koalas in the wild as part of the NSW Koala Strategy.
To date, initiatives include purchasing more than 3,600 hectares of priority habitat for permanent protection as part of the National Parks estate and securing 24,000 hectares of State forest as koala parks and reserves.