The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Koalas' Future in All our Hands
27 July 2012
Koalas have been thrown a lifeline by a project that funds private landowners to keep their properties Koala-friendly.
"People living in areas where Koalas need help are putting up their hands and working on their properties to make sure there will always be a home for these unique Australians," Minister Tony Burke said.The Nature Conservation Trust of NSW, with funding assistance from the Federal Government, is working to protect 500ha of Koala habitat in New South Wales. Part of this work involves funding private property to be covenanted and assisting landowners to keep the habitat safe for Koalas. "The work the NSW Conservation Trust is doing here is a great example of how non-government organisations and the private sector are stepping up together to the challenge of protecting our environment – and habitat for unique species like the Koala," Minister Burke said. This is a valuable addition to the funding the Government has provided to protection of Koalas including the more than $10 million through Round 1 of the Biodiversity Fund. Over the past four years the Australian Government has committed more than $650,000 to improve Koala habitat in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria through the Caring for our Country program. "There is strong evidence that Koala populations across Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory are in decline... that is why I took the decision to list the Koala as a 'vulnerable species'," Minister Burke said. Queensland, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory Koala populations are under serious threat from habitat loss and urban expansion—including from vehicle strikes, dog attacks, and disease. "Landowners who want to ensure the survival of this iconic species have the backing of groups like the Nature Conservation Trust and the Federal Government," Minister Burke said. The Australian Government's multi-million dollar Environmental Stewardship Program has been funding private land managers over the past four years to protect, improve and rehabilitate their land to improve biodiversity outcomes. This approach is similar to that followed by the Nature Conservation Trust in funding land managers to look after threatened species through placing covenants on their lands and managing them to improve biodiversity.