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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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State Environmental Planning Policy (Koala Habitat Protection) 2019 (Koala SEPP) commenced on 1 March 2020. On 7 October 2020, the NSW Government announced amendments to the Koala SEPP in order to balance stopping the decline of the koala in NSW with the rights of farmers and landholders.


The Koala SEPP works with the Koala Habitat Protection Guideline to:

  • guide councils developing Koala Plans of Management and
  • ensure koala habitat is considered during the development assessment process where no Koala Plan of Management is in place.


The Koala SEPP applies to the 83 Local Government Areas listed in the SEPP. It only applies to development applications considered by councils on land over 1 hectare in size or on land if it is included in an approved council Koala Plan of Management.

The Koala SEPP does not apply to activities which do not require development consent from council, for instance, erecting fences, building sheds, and other usual farming practices.


The NSW Government is progressing reforms through the NSW Parliament to decouple Private Native Forestry and the Land Management Framework within the Local Land Services Act 2013 from the Koala SEPP.


Koala Habitat Protection Guideline

The Koala Habitat Protection Guideline works in conjunction with the Koala SEPP and 

  • guides councils on how to prepare and what to include in their Koala Plans of Management.
  • defines criteria and requirements for applicants to follow and councils to implement when preparing and assessing development applications (if a council does not have a Koala Plan of Management in place for that land).
  • sets out the process for identifying core koala habitat.
  • informs the wider community about the SEPP’s role in protecting koalas and their habitat.


The Guideline and all information about the exhibition including a submissions report detailing the department’s response to issues raised can be viewed on the Planning Portal.


View the Guideline


Rebuilding after a bushfire

The NSW Government is committed to helping communities rebuild after a bushfire including the 2019/2020 bushfires. For this reason, the Koala SEPP does not apply to Development Applications that require clearing to develop an Asset Protection Zone required to rebuild a home destroyed by bushfire.


The clearing must:

  • be to replace a lawfully erected dwelling for which a Development Application is lodged with council within 5 years of the bushfire destroying the dwelling, and
  • be consistent with the Rural Fire Service’s Planning for Bushfire Protection.


The protections for koalas and other native animals and plans provided by other legislation will continue to apply.


Koala Management Areas

The tree species list in the Koala SEPP, which has been informed by scientific research over recent years, including 'A review of koala tree use across New South Wales' (Office of Environment and Heritage, 2018), is divided into 9 koala management areas. For each area, the Koala SEPP lists the trees known to be important for persistence of koalas. The number of trees relevant to any one area ranges between 9 and 65. The tree lists per Koala Management Area can be found within the Guideline.


More information

For more information you can read the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):


For additional information you can:

  • email us at
  • call our Information Centre on 1300 305 695. If English isn’t your first language and you prefer an interpreter, please call 131 450. Ask for an interpreter in your language and then request to be connected to our Information Centre on 1300 305 695.

Page last updated: 16/10/2020