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The policy intent of SEPP 44 has been retained in the Koala Habitat Protection SEPP which was repealed and replaced on 1 March 2020.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 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 will save landholders time and money by doing the work of a flora and fauna survey up front. This gives landowners clarity over whether they need to consider the SEPP’s development application criteria.
The Site Investigation Area for Koala Plans of Management Map provides council with scientifically-based guidance on where best to concentrate their surveying efforts when preparing a Koala Plan of Management and align policy with the NSW Koala Strategy.
Landowners now have access to detailed maps and new draft guidance to help them better plan their developments in a way that avoids or mitigates impacts on koala habitat.
The draft Koala Habitat Protection Guideline has been released on 2 March 2020 and is currently on exhibition. The exhibition period has been extended until 6 April in response to significant interest.
The Department welcomes feedback from stakeholders and the community on the draft Guideline. Following this exhibition, the Department will consider feedback and finalise the Guideline.
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: 27/03/2020