Additional funding is also being provided for koala habitat restoration, the development of a Regional Koala Conservation Strategy and to address koala vehicle strike hotspots. Funding is also being provided to the Clarence Valley Council, which sits to the south of the Regional Strategy area. This brings the NSW Government's total investment in the Northern River’s koalas to more than $2 million.
The NSW Government is investing $630,000 under the NSW Koala Strategy to fund the continuation of a Regional Koala Conservation Partnership with Friends of the Koala and six councils in the Northern Rivers region, including:
- Tweed Shire Council
- Byron Shire Council
- Ballina Shire Council
- Lismore City Council
- Kyogle Council
- Richmond Valley Council.
This funding supports the appointment of a dedicated Koala Officer, based at Friends of the Koala, who will strategically coordinate local projects aligned with the Koala Strategy to help conserve koalas and their habitat in that area.
Other agencies and organisations that will be involved include Landcare groups, Sunshine Coast University, Bangalow Koalas, and other community groups.
Friends of the Koala and Council partners will implement a range of on-ground actions, informed by community and scientific expertise, to protect local koala populations and their habitat under the 4 pillars of the Koala Strategy:
- koala habitat conservation & restoration
- supporting local communities to conserve koalas
- improving the safety and health of koalas
- building our knowledge of koalas.
A Koala Officer, based at Friends of the Koala, will work to achieve the goals of the partnership and implement koala conservation actions, including :
- coordinating habitat restoration actions across the region
- coordinating regional communications
- administering the Regional Partnership Steering Group
- assisting Councils and Friends of the Koala with landholder extension activities related to koala conservation
- engaging with Traditional Owners
- assisting in implementing the Regional Koala Conservation Strategy
- supporting the local koala carer community
- community engagement and education
- supporting the koala conservation work of all 6 Local Councils
- school education programs
- vehicle strike mitigation
- making sure that the community is included at every step in our efforts to save koalas and their habitat across this region.
Additional funding of up to $600,000 will be provided to support habitat restoration, and a further $44,000 to develop a Regional Koala Conservation Strategy as well as over $700,000 in funding for habitat restoration and habitat mapping in the Clarence Valley Council area. More than $100,000 of funding will also be provided to address koala vehicle strike blackspots, bringing the NSW Government's total investment in the Northern River’s koalas to more than $2 million.
The Regional Koala Conservation Strategy will be developed with Council partners to guide local koala conservation actions and feed directly into the pillars of the NSW Koala Strategy. The following projects will be covered:
- strategic koala habitat restoration
- strategic and consistent approach to regional koala communications and landholder extension activities
- identifying strategic approaches to managing threats to koalas, such as dog attack
- developing an approach to monitor changes in habitat connectivity across local and regional landscapes.
The Northern Rivers contains 4 out of the 19 populations across NSW that are identified as a priority for immediate investment under the Koala Strategy.
Not only is the Northern Rivers prioritised for immediate investment, but it has also been identified as containing two of the ten stronghold koala populations in NSW. Koala Strongholds represent koala populations that are significant in some respect, for example some strongholds support very large populations of koalas, while others represent areas that are likely to be important refuge areas from the impacts of climate change in the coming decades.
The Northern Rivers region features a large and significant koala population, as well as numerous organisations and community people engaged in koala conservation. Councils in the area are heavily invested in koala conservation, with 5 councils having a Koala Plan of Management.
Other regional partnerships have been established across the state, backed by a total investment of $15.7 million, to ensure community expertise and local knowledge are informing on-ground actions.