A State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) Koala Habitat Protection now replaces SEPP 44 – Koala Habitat Protection (SEPP 44).
The policy intent of SEPP 44 has been retained in the Koala Habitat Protection SEPP which repealed and replaced SEPP 44 on 1 March 2020.
The Koala Habitat Protection SEPP includes a new definition for ‘core koala habitat’, two maps to help protect koalas across NSW, and the most up-to-date tree species data.
The below infographics compare processes under the old SEPP (SEPP 44) and the new SEPP:
The NSW Government is committed to helping communities rebuild after the 2019/2020 bushfires and a new provision has been included in the Koala SEPP to facilitate the safe and speedy rebuilding and repair of homes impacted by bushfires.
The new provision enables an Asset Protection Zone to be created around the damaged or destroyed home and any clearing and development within this area will not need to consider the Koala SEPP, saving applicants time and money in the development application process.
The change is supported by a number of checks and balances to ensure development doesn’t impact koalas, including requiring any clearing to be consistent with the Rural Fire Service’s Planning for Bushfire Protection. Also, protections for koalas and other native animals and plans provided by other legislation will continue to apply.
The definition of ‘core koala habitat’ makes it easier for areas with demonstrated koala presence to be recognised and protected. Under the previous SEPP (SEPP 44) demonstrating an area contained core koala habitat – which required evidence of a resident population of koalas, with such attributes as breeding females with young and a historical record of the population – could be impractical and difficult to achieve.
The Site Investigation Area for Koala Plans of Management Map will assist councils preparing Koala Plans of Management by focussing effort to identify core koala habitat in areas most likely to support koalas.
The Koala Development Application Map identifies areas where landowners need to consider the SEPP’s development application criteria as part of their Development Application. The map only applies if the type of development a landholder is undertaking requires a Development Application from Council.
The Site Investigation Area for Koala Plans of Management Map provides councils with guidance on where best to concentrate their surveying efforts when preparing a Koala Plan of Management.
These maps do not depict ‘core koala habitat’ but predict where koala habitat may be present to narrow the application of the Koala SEPP.
The draft Koala Habitat Protection Guideline was on exhibition from 2 March 2020 until 6 April 2020.
The department welcomed feedback from stakeholders and the community on the draft Guideline. Following this exhibition, we are currently considering feedback and finalising the Guideline.
The Guideline and all information about the exhibition can be viewed on the Planning Portal.
The list of tree species listed under the SEPP has been expanded from 10 to up to 65, across nine distinct regions of NSW. This expanded tree species list has been informed by extensive scientific research over recent years, including 'A review of koala tree use across New South Wales' (Office of Environment and Heritage, 2018).
An Explanation of Intended Effect was on public exhibition from November 2016 through March 2017 and feedback was sought on a proposed amendment to SEPP 44 to change the definitions of koala habitat, expand the list of tree species, update the list of councils and the development assessment process.
Feedback from this consultation informed the creation of the Koala Habitat Protection SEPP 2019.
In response to actions in the NSW Koala Strategy, the Department’s Environment Energy and Science division produced the Koala Habitat Information Base, which has been used to inform the Koala Habitat Protection SEPP. Elements of the Koala Habitat Information Base have been incorporated in the SEPP to produce two new maps, reflecting the latest science.
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Page last updated: 18/09/2020