Koala Habitats

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Koala Habitats

Information current as of 1 May 2020. Download this page as a PDF.

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On 7 February 2020, the Queensland Government introduced additional regulations to conserve koala habitat in south-east Queensland.

  • This prohibits ANY clearing in Koala Priority Areas (KPAs), including Category X areas. Clearing can still occur in existing PMAV areas, if locked in prior to 7 Feb 2020.
  • If you are using one of the Accepted Development Vegetation Clearing Codes (ADVCC), check the code for the new koala framework requirements. Otherwise clearing in a koala habitat area may require a Development Approval.
  • Check your regulated vegetation management map for areas designated koala essential habitat, koala priority areas and koala habitat.

Koalas are listed as vulnerable in Queensland under state and federal legislation. Since 7 February 2020, the Department of Environment and Science introduced special regulations for koala habitat areas in SEQ. These areas are assessed separately to other regulations, including vegetation management and essential habitat. These new koala regulations have amended certain vegetation clearing codes in SEQ.

In the SEQ Koala Habitat Areas, exemptions are no longer provided for:

  • Clearing for an urban area
  • Clearing for a material change of use on areas under five hectares
  • Clearing of Category X and clearing of Category X on a PMAV, if the PMAV was granted after 7 February 2020. Note: Clearing category X on a PMAV before 7 February 2020 is exempted development.

In SEQ Koala Habitat Areas, changes to ADVCCs for exempted development include:

  • Avoiding or minimising clearing in essential habitat. DNRME has advised that clearing width limits are five metres and areas 500m2 for linear infrastructure (fence, road, track) in Category B, C and R unless a koala offset is secured.
  • Cleared area for infrastructure, airstrip and extractive industry up to 500 m2 in Category B or C areas.
  • Avoiding clearing in Category B for extractive industry or koala offset may be required for Category C, R or X.
  • Diversion of a watercourse or drainage feature in Category C up to 500m2.

Koala Priority Areas and Habitat Areas in South East Queensland

Different protection requirements for impacts on koala habitat apply to these areas. Maps and more details are
available from environment.des.qld.gov.au and this PDF.

You can request a property map of koala habitat areas to be emailed to you, and koala habitat mapping is also available via the Queensland Globe. Landholders can request to amend or revoke the koala map.

  • All clearing is prohibited in Koala Priority Areas.
  • Qld Government will now assess vegetation clearing in koala habitat areas.
  • Local government will assess applications not involving clearing within the Koala Priority Areas (in accordance with Schedule 11 of the Planning Regulation 2017).
  • Core koala habitat areas are best quality habitats, based on modelled climate, vegetation and koala sighting records.
  • Non-statutory restoration areas identify habitat restoration areas of high conservation value.

Regulatory requirements for vegetation clearing in essential habitat areas

Landowners should first refer to the revised list of ‘exempt clearing works’ listed in Schedule 21 of the Planning Act 2007. Certain clearing activities are exempt without the need to notify or seek approval under the vegetation management framework.

For low-risk clearing that is not authorised by exempt clearing works in Schedule 21, (i.e. larger infrastructure, or ongoing vegetation management activities like weed management) a notification can be submitted under the ADVCC. Clearing activity must comply with practices in the relevant code. ADVCCs include clearing for infrastructure, native forest practice, weed control, necessary environmental clearing, extractive industries, and managing regrowth.

For SEQ Koala Habitat Areas

Changes to Regrowth Code:

  • New notification and clearing limitations (10ha per lot, renotify and self-audit).
  • No clearing for agriculture.
  • No clearing which will cause a disconnection between two or more environmentally sensitive areas 100m in width.

Changes to Weeds Code:

  • New notification and clearing limitations (10ha per lot, renotify and self-audit).
  • Weed management methods need to be necessary and reasonable.
  • Can only clear immature koala habitat trees, if the area is managed to support the natural regeneration of
  • koala habitat trees.

Changes to Necessary Environmental Clearing Code:

  • Allows clearing of mature trees and koala habitat trees if retention prevents flood preparation works.
  • Avoid or minimise clearing in koala habitat areas for channel diversion, or not to exceed the 10m width limit and a koala offset is secured.
  • Areas to be managed to support the natural regeneration of koala habitat trees.

For larger scale clearing activities, development approval under the Planning Act 2017 is required. A
development application must demonstrate how essential habitat for koalas will be maintained. The ‘State
Development Code 16 for Native Vegetation Clearing’ provides a range of ‘acceptable solutions’ which can be
used to ensure clearing will maintain the current extent of essential habitat and minimise the impact on koala

National level: Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) self-referral guidelines

Koalas are listed as a vulnerable species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act
1999 (EPBC). New clearing activities that are likely to have a significant effect on koalas may need to be self-referred
to the Australian Government for EPBC assessment.

For example, a significant effect may be the loss of 2 to 20ha of high-quality koala habitat critical for their survival, depending on proposed actions and mitigation measures.

EPBC referral guidelines are available from environment.gov.au or phone 1800 803 772.

More information on koala mapping, legislation and policies

Queensland Department of Environment and Science.
Phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or email: SEQKoalaStrategy@des.qld.gov.au.

Koala Habitats

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