DRAFT SEQ KOALA STRATEGY AND MAPPING RELEASED
The Draft Strategy is open for consultation until 31 January.
Accompanying the Draft Strategy is new Koala habitat mapping that can be viewed at a property level. Owners can request a Koala Habitat Map report and can apply for a review if the property has already been developed (i.e. it is covered by a building, structure, sealed surface or artificial waterbody). The deadline for applying for a review is Sunday 22 December 2019.
The Draft Strategy outlines proposed actions that respond to each of the recommendations set down by the Koala Expert Panel in July 2016.
The actions identified to protect koala habitat includes the introduction of Koala Priority Areas where clearing of koala habitat is prohibited (unless otherwise exempt) and applies to areas inside and outside the urban footprint. The Draft Strategy doesn’t identify how much land within the urban footprint is covered by Koala Priority Areas and what impact this will have on land supply in SEQ. In response, the Property Council will seek to engage with the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning on what impacts the Draft Strategy will have on land supply.
Furthermore, the strategy is silent on compensation provisions for property owners impacted as a result of the Draft Strategy and Koala Habitat Mapping. As outlined in the strategy, the protection of the koala requires new ways to further protect koalas into the future but fails to recognise that investment decisions have been based on current policy and laws. This will be a key focus of the Property Council’s advocacy.
The planning framework will be amended to protect koala habitat outside the Koala Priority Areas, and a new code introduced to the State Development Assessment Provisions. Amendments will also be made to the Queensland Environmental Offsets Policy to reflect the changes to the planning framework. Whilst the Draft Strategy discusses these matters there is very little detail available to explain what changes are being proposed.
The Property Council notes that the review of the Queensland Environmental Offsets Policy has not been finalised and will be seeking further detail as to how the offset changes proposed through the Draft Strategy will align with the broader review.
To access a copy of the Draft Strategy, click here.