Environmental protection

Environmental Protection Agency (Queensland)

Offset site during establishment phase.

Have your say on protecting Queensland's koalas

The Queensland Government has been progressively building a program of koala protection measures over the last 20 years to address the decline in the koala population in South East Queensland. While many of the measures have saved the lives of individual koalas, the population has continued to decline.

The Government is now reviewing its koala programs and initiatives to identify what needs to be changed to maintain South East Queensland’s koala populations.

While the Government will be drawing on the latest research and reflecting on how to improve its current strategies, it also wants to capture the views of the community and the key stakeholders who have been working within the community on their own initiatives to protect local koala populations.

This survey is designed to give you a chance to have a say in the koala’s future in Queensland.

To complete the survey, you will need to refer to the existing measures (PDF, 313K) in place.

There are a suite of planning instruments, policies and guidelines that protect koalas and their habitat. They are:

South East Queensland Koala Conservation State Planning Regulatory Provisions (SPRP)

The SPRP (PDF) is an overarching state planning instrument that regulates new development at the development assessment stage. The SPRP covers areas of the highest priority for koala conservation action. This incorporates priority koala assessable development areas which are made up of the Koala Coast and Pine Rivers areas, and the koala assessable development areas which are made up of areas managed under previous state koala conservation initiatives.

The SPRP regulates assessable development. This refers to development that planning schemes or planning legislation has identified as requiring assessment, where development meets certain triggers. The SPRP does not apply to development approvals that have already been issued or lodged prior to the commencement of the SPRP. There are also exemptions in the SPRP, such as for domestic activities.

The SPRP targets the areas where koalas are known to be under the most significant risks (Koala Coast and Pine Rivers). It incorporates the areas previously regulated by the Interim South East Queensland Koala State Planning Regulatory Provision (February 2010) or the Nature Conservation (Koala) Conservation Plan 2006 and Management Program 2006–2016.

The SPRP prohibits clearing bushland habitat in the priority areas of Koala Coast and Pine Rivers, and in areas outside the urban footprint. Urban development is also prohibited in conservation, open space, rural and rural-residential zones within the Koala Coast and Pine Rivers areas. This approach aims to bolster habitat for the koala populations at risk.

Large-scale planting project.The SPRP provides requirements for all development activities to minimise its impact on koalas. Depending on the development type and koala habitat type, requirements may include:

  • avoiding, minimising or offsetting the clearing of non-juvenile koala habitat trees
  • site design that provides safe koala movement opportunities appropriate to the development type and habitat connectivity values of the site
  • construction phases that do not increase the risk of death or injury to koalas
  • clearing of native vegetation, undertaken as sequential clearing
  • clearing of koala habitat trees, undertaken in the presence of a koala spotter.

The SPRP applies to the priority areas of the Pine Rivers and Koala Coast (priority koala assessable development areas). The provisions also apply to areas where the State previously had a concurrence agency role under the Koala Conservation Plan 2006 and the Interim South East Queensland Koala State Planning Regulatory Provision, February 2010 (koala assessable development areas).

Amendment to the Koala SPRP—November 2015

The South East Queensland Koala Conservation State Planning Regulatory Provisions was amended in November 2015. The draft amendment to the SPRP was notified by Extraordinary Queensland Government Gazette (No. 46) on 26 June 2015 and had immediate effect from this date.

The amendment to the SPRP has the effect of maintaining the environmental offset requirements of the Environmental Offsets (Transitional) Regulation 2014 (Transitional Regulation) which expired on 1 July 2015. The draft amendment maintains the koala offset provisions established by the Transitional Regulation by referencing the Queensland Environmental Offset Policy (PDF, 1.0M).

Sources of information and advice

  • Local government is responsible for implementing the provisions of the SPRP in the assessment of development applications and should be contacted for specific advice on applying the SPRP to development proposals.

Specific requirements for koala related offsets under the Queensland Environmental Offset Policy

The Queensland Environmental Offset Policy (PDF, 795K) (offset policy), is used to ensure that environmental offsets for unavoidable impacts on high quality koala habitat, regulated by the SPRP, contributes to the rehabilitation, establishment and protection of koala habitat.

An environmental offset is an activity taken to compensate unavoidable negative environmental impacts. An offset differs from mitigation by addressing any remaining impact after all attempts to first avoid and then reduce the impact have been exhausted.

Where an offset condition has been applied, the offset is to be delivered in accordance with the Queensland Environmental Offsets Framework. This framework clarifies how environmental offsets should be delivered.

There are a number of specific requirements for koala related offsets, including the requirement that the rehabilitation, establishment and protection of koala habitat is the only activity that can be used to offset koala habitat.

The offset policy replaces Offsets for Net Gain in Koala Habitat in South East Queensland Policy (2010).

The offset policy outlines requirements for offsetting impacts on koala habitat where impacts arise from:

State Government Supported Community Infrastructure Koala Conservation Policy (community infrastructure policy)

The State Government Supported Community Infrastructure Koala Conservation Policy (PDF, 219K) outlines how state public sector entities will consider koala conservation outcomes in the planning and delivery of government supported community infrastructure, like roads or school buildings.

This policy replaces the state land freeze and assessment requirements for applicable Queensland Government supported community infrastructure activities within the South East Queensland Koala Protection Area (SEQKPA).

The community infrastructure policy applies to the planning and delivery of all Queensland Government supported community infrastructure activities within the South East Queensland Koala Protection Area. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that State activities not regulated through planning schemes or the SPRP meet the same requirements, ensuring equitable treatment of State and non-State community infrastructure projects.

Infrastructure project compliance

It is a requirement under this policy that state infrastructure providers maintain and provide records of self-assessments against this policy for auditing purposes. State infrastructure providers should maintain details of their project and clearing requirements as EHP will monitor selected projects to assess compliance with provisions of this policy.

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