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Koala Country

Chlamydia vaccine trial for koalas in south-west Sydney

20 Aug 2022
Koala safety & healthKoala knowledge

A chlamydia vaccine for koalas could increase the species' resistance to the potentially fatal disease in a trial in south-west Sydney, which is part of an almost $1.7 million NSW Koala Strategy investment across the region.

Minister for Environment James Griffin said the focus of the vaccine trial is to help protect the species in the south-west Sydney region, home to one of the few growing koala populations in New South Wales.

"Chlamydia is a serious issue for koalas, leading to blindness, infections and infertility in this precious species. This disease weakens koalas and can make them more susceptible to dog attacks and other threats," Mr Griffin said.

"That's why as part of the more than $190 million NSW Koala Strategy and the Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan, we're investing more than $600,000 towards keeping the Campbelltown koala population free from chlamydia, including through a vaccination trial.

"The NSW Koala Strategy is the single largest investment in any species in Australia, aimed at tackling multiple threats to the species and securing more habitat to protect the future of koalas in the wild."

Koala carers, Campbelltown and Wollondilly Council and the University of Sydney teams involved in the chlamydia vaccine trial will be able to use a new rapid chlamydia testing machine to minimise the time koalas are in care.

Additional conservation actions in the NSW Koala Strategy to support south-west Sydney koalas include:

  • $600,000 for Landcare to support communities to conserve and restore koala habitat
  • $140,000 to fund koala habitat restoration in the Campbelltown and MacArthur region to repair koala corridors
  • $200,000 for vehicle strike mitigation works, including a koala underpass on Heathcote Road, to protect koalas from the threat of cars
  • $146,000 for mapping koala habitat and corridors and for monitoring koalas in Wollondilly.

Member for Wollondilly Nat Smith said the south-west Sydney community deeply cares about its koalas and this funding will be an opportunity for them to become more involved in their conservation.

"South-west Sydney is one of 10 focus areas identified in the NSW Koala Strategy as important koala populations that will benefit from more intensive investment and action," Mr Smith said.

"Koalas in Wollondilly will be better supported by a $146,000 investment to map their habitat, preferred corridors, and monitor their activity."

The Greater Sydney Landcare Network will deliver a $600,000 project to educate the community about the health and safety of koalas and support local conservation and habitat restoration.

Greater Sydney Landcare Chair Bev Debrincat said it is proud to partner with the NSW Government as a Koala Strategy regional partner.

"Koalas are an iconic NSW species, and the broader community and conservationists in the area will benefit greatly knowing that this significant population will be well-served by the whole community working together in a co-ordinated effort," Ms Debrincat said.

The NSW Koala Strategy focuses on conservation actions under 4 themes:

  • $107.1 million for koala habitat conservation, to fund the protection, restoration, and improved management of 47,000 hectares of koala habitat
  • $19.6 million to supporting local communities to conserve koalas
  • $23.2 million for improving the safety and health of koalas by removing threats, improving health and rehabilitation, and establishing a translocation program
  • $43.4 million to support science and research to build our knowledge of koalas.

For more information visit NSW Koala Strategy.