The NSW Government has invested more than $1.3 million to help prevent koalas from being killed or injured by vehicles in known vehicle strike hotspots in Coffs Harbour and Port Stephens local government areas. The funding will be used by Coffs Harbour City Council and Port Stephens Council for two separate projects to protect koala populations in their local government areas.
‘Vehicle strike is a significant threatening process, and this funding will help address the danger at identified vehicle strike hotspots for koalas,’ said Alison Schumacher, Director, Biodiversity and Conservation at the Department of Planning and Environment.
‘Port Stephens Council received $845,000 for Port Stephens Drive at Taylors Beach, where a culvert will allow koalas to move under the road to access different patches of habitat. Koalas will also be kept off the road with more than two kilometres of koala exclusion fencing, which includes retrofitting an existing fence along a nearby golf course,’ said Ms Schumacher.
‘$480,000 has been provided to Coffs Harbour City Council to install more than three kilometres of fencing covering areas where koala habitat adjoins Hogbin Drive,’ she said.
Ports Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer said that the funding will make a big difference in protecting the koala population in the Taylors Beach area.
‘Koala protection is a priority for the Port Stephens community and we would not have been able to install these measures to protect the koalas from vehicles without this funding contribution,’ said Mr Palmer.
Coffs Harbour Deputy Mayor Councillor Sally Townley said that the new fencing was the most effective option to reduce koala deaths and injuries in this area of Hogbin Drive.
‘This stretch of road between the airport and the university campus has been identified as a hotspot due to the high number of koala sightings and vehicle strikes. When we’re dealing with a threatened animal, it’s important we do all we can – on a strategic and practical level – to protect the species,’ said Cr Townley.