Action needed to save koalas in the Redlands

Koala in Cleveland

Redleand City’s koalas under threat

Is the Redland City Council doing enough to conserve koalas in the Redlands?

The number of koalas in our city has fallen dramatically over the past two decades. It is estimated by the Koala Action Group that there may be as few as 1,000 left.

Rapid and poorly planned housing development in the Redlands has resulted in koalas suffering from:

  • Loss of the trees in which they “live work and play” (koala habitat trees)
  • Attack by uncontrolled dogs, especially at night time
  • Being run over by cars, especially at night time

The Koala Action Group reports that 600 koalas are known to have been killed by dogs in Redland City in the 15 year period between 1997-2012.

What can Council Do?

The Redland City Council can do a number of things to help conserve koalas in the Redlands.

Koala conservation strategy
Redland City needs to develop and implement a koala conservation strategy that will ensure the ongoing survival of koalas in Redland City. This should be initiated immediately and form a key input into the finalisation of City Plan 2015 (see below)

Local laws
The Council is currently proposing a set of draft local laws to replace the existing laws. The existing laws include specific requirements for dogs to be restrained or enclosed at night if kept on properties larger than 2,000 m2 in declared koala management areas. The draft new law would delete this specific requirement and replace it with less specific requirements in all areas of the city to help koalas escape from dogs. A better approach would be to require all Redland City dog owners to enclose or restrain their animals at night time.

Protecting koala habitat
In preparing the new planning scheme (City Plan 2015) Council should be making koala conservation a high priority. This should include stringent protection of the remaining koala habitat trees in Redland City.

Traffic management
Speed kills koalas just as it results in human fatalities. Yet Council does not seem to have any plans for reducing the number of koalas killed in traffic accidents. A risk management framework should be developed which considers speed limits as well as other traffic management solutions including fences and safe crossings.

What should you do?

Koala in Passage St, Cleveland, 13 June 2014 032 comp

How can you help?

Redland City Council is proposing a new set of local laws which cover a range of issues including animal management. The draft local laws are the subject of a consultation process.

If you want the Redland City Council to increase protection for koalas in the new local laws then you can make a submission by the due date which is Wednesday 8 October 2014.

Some words which are suggested for use in submissions by the Koala Action Group are set out below. You can copy and use these words but you might like to also add other reasons why you think it is important to improve protection for koalas in Redland City.

I thank you for the opportunity to make comment on the draft Local Law No.2 Animal Management and request that the following points in my submission are considered:

  1. Koalas are important to the people of the Redlands which has been proven through many public consultations such as the Redlands Community Plan.
  2. It is estimated that less than 2000 koalas remain in the Koala Coast area with less than 1000 left in the Redlands.
  3. More than 600 koalas have been attacked by dogs over the past 15 years in Redland City mainland and on North Stradbroke Island. More than 80% of those koalas died as a result of their injuries including numerous mothers and babies.
  4. Protection of koalas from domestic dogs is a threat that can be managed by responsible pet ownership.
  5. The overnight restraint of pet dogs either inside, on a verandah/deck or tethered would prevent the majority of dog attacks on koalas.
  6. I support the overnight restraint of dogs in a suitable manner including keeping on an enclosed verandah/deck, bringing indoors or tethering with a lead or chain.
  7. I request that Council retain the current “Koala Management Areas” and extend them to include other ‘Koala Habitat’ areas identified from Koala Hospital records as having a history of dog-related koala mortalities.

Submissions can be sent to locallawreform@redland.qld.gov.au

Alternatively, you can make submissions on-line at the Redland City Council website.

In its Frequently Asked Questions the Redland City Council states:

For your submission to be considered, you will need to tell us whether you agree or disagree with a law or section/s of a law and the reasons and facts supporting your position. It will provide greater clarification for both yourself and Council if you can specify the sections of the draft laws that you are referring to. 

We also ask that you provide your personal details so we can acknowledge receipt of your submission and provide feedback about the local law making process. Your personal details will be treated in accordance with Council’s Information Privacy Policy and the Information Privacy Act 2009. See our submission form for more detail.

You could also contact your local Councillor and tell them what you think about the importance of protecting koalas.

Proposed changes to local laws

At present Redland City Council’s Local Law No 2 (Animal Management) 2007 section 24 (2) states that:

If a koala is on land to which a dog has access the keeper of the dog must:-

(a) protect the koala by restraining the dog; and

(b) confine the dog so that the dog can not attack the koala.

Section 22 (2)  of the current Local Law No 2 also states that in defined Koala Management Areas dogs kept on properties of more than 2000 square metres must be enclosed or tethered at night time.

DRAFT local Law No 2 (Animal Management) proposed by Council does not specifically address koala protection.

DRAFT Subordinate Local Law No 2 (Animal Management) only mentions koalas in Schedule 3 Item 1 which requires dog owners to “provide and maintain on any part of the premises which is accessible by the dog,structures or facilities which facilitate the escape of koalas from the premises”. There is also a requirement to restrain or confine a dog “if a koala is on land to which the dog has access”.

In the draft local laws put forward for consultation there are no requirements that on properties in Koala Management Areas, dogs be confined at night time.

 Federal and State Government protection for koalas

Safety pole for koala

Safety pole for koala

Both Federal and State governments have taken measures to increase protection for koalas.

The Federal Government gave koalas in Queensland increased protection in May 2012 when it listed them as ‘vulnerable” under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Draft Koala referral guidelines were circulated for comment by the Federal Government in January 2014. It is not clear when the Federal Government will finalise these guidelines.

The Queensland Government website provides advice on threats to koalas. It also includes information about various policies, regulatory provisions and programs that are intended to protect koalas and their habitats.

Other reading

When the draft local laws were released for consultation Redlands2030 published a post titled: Will changes to local laws affect you?

We recently published a submission by a concerned Redland Resident titled Keep Koala Management Areas in new local laws

Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email thereporter@redlands2030.net

8 thoughts on “Action needed to save koalas in the Redlands

  1. Great comment! Succinct and exactly how we all feel. I just hope the politicians begin listening to what we’re saying and take a step back and remember why they were elected. I really hope the koala has a long, healthy and happy life…. but somehow I don’t feel that it will. Come on Mayor! Do something that you can be proud of!

  2. I have been a resident of Ormiston since 1990, and used to see koalas in our yard quite often. Now their food trees are disappearing at an alarming rate,thanks to the epidemic of development, and the greed for the almighty dollar.On Friday, we were surprised and excited to see a koala resting in the fork of a Lilly Pilly tree in my son’s backyard – the first we have seen for a couple of years. I felt anxious for it’s safety as there are many dogs nearby. I can’t help but wonder if it was able to get to where it was going safely.
    It is sad to think that these beautiful animals and their food sources are threatened because greed and the lack of compassion clouds the judgement of those who are in a position to save them.

  3. Jan, I really wish that Councillors were in the job for all the right reasons and continued to fight for those reasons instead of becoming jaded and switching to making decisions based on the almighty dollar. I think fresh faced Councillors enter politics with all the good intentions and great ideas, but they get worn down over time by the weathered, old-timer Councillors and end up giving up. They’ve got to realise that the dollar can buy you a lot of wonderful things and give you a lifestyle that you can only dream off, but these things are fleeting and irrelevant if the luxury apartments and flashy cars are used within a dry, built up, developed area where trees and wildlife are a thing of the past. Personally I’d prefer to live in a modest home and drive a modest car but be able to enjoy trees, koalas and a cool climate every day of my life!

  4. Sarah, you have covered everything in your comment; you have said everything that I would have wanted to say.
    Thank you for taking the time to write a comment so full of feeling . It would be wonderful if your comment could awaken the consciences of the elected councillors so that they listen to what their constituents are saying and not what the developers want.

  5. I find it really upsetting that Council start off promoting the fact that they want to protect the wildlife that makes our community unique from others, and ends up feathering their own nests, so to speak, by promoting growth and development. It seems to me that many people enjoy creating buildings and developmental areas that can be named after them or recorded as having been completed because of the efforts of certain council members. From my point of view, our family settled in the Redlands because it offered the sort of country living that we wanted, without having to be miles from anywhere. We loved the wildlife that once inhabited the area and have watched over time as it has slowly disappeared. We loved the fact that there were limited numbers of people within the area and adored the country feel of the business district. The Redlands are now fast becoming like every other suburb – had I wanted to live like everyone else, I would have gone and settled elsewhere! Why do the Council have such a say over how our lives are affected???? Aren’t they supposed to be working for us? I want the Council to be honest and do what the community wants. Remember, more people in the community brings about more problems:- the roads are becoming a nightmare to negotiate every single day, the environment is being destroyed, the animals are disappearing, the demand on resources is pushing us as a community and the aesthetics of what was once a beautiful Shire is now becoming bland and unidentifiable from any other area. What’s wrong with having people living on larger blocks and promoting harmony between people and nature? I want to be able to see multiple Koalas in the trees. I want to return to how it used to be. I DON’T WANT TO LIVE IN AN AREA WHERE ANIMALS ARE A MERE MEMORY Stand up for what’s right and promote a Redlands that is different to every other region – be proud of our natural beauty AND MAKE DECISIONS THAT ARE BASED AROUND THE PROTECTION OF THE BEAUTIFUL KOALAS AND OTHER ANIMALS THAT LIVE IN THE REDLANDS. Once they’re gone…. they are gone forever AND THAT WILL BE LINKED TO YOUR “ACHIEVEMENTS”.

    Look at the bigger picture…. degradation of our habitats in the Redlands, creates a hotter environment within which to live and global warming increases. Global warming affects crops on the other side of the world, livelihoods of people in South America, famine in Africa, the mortality rates of people in India. IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT US IN THE REDLANDS! Food for thought…..

  6. Re the Ormiston block, that is a fine example of a working corridor of koala trees. With a bit of good will I am sure Developer’s planner and Council planners can get together and come up with a tweaked plan to produce same yield but saving corridor. Some discretionary give-and-takes would be in order. After all, good planning is about flexibilty isn’t it?

  7. I would encourage people to write to Council, write letters to the editor, call their Councillors, but at the end of the day don’t feel that confident that some in Council are interesting in listening to the community. My disappointment is that the Councillor who represents the division covered in Koala Coast seems to have no interest in koalas or the environment. Shameful.
    Sadly Newman is no better, he has sacked the whole department that studied, investigated, worked to protect koalas and their habitat, Deirde a very talented woman who has worked with the community and Council officers in identifing areas of koala habitat and doing koala counts has been sacked, a huge loss to Redlands.
    If anyone has been past the great Error opps Era of Capalaba on Redland Bay Road, check out the way Council encourages developers to protect Koala habitat, there were 13 koalas on that site, now the development site is flattened, not even a tree along the boundary,
    Finally I look forward with surprise to the Council, who will overturn their short sighted decision and listen to the community.

    • Crs and staff are not interested in koalas they are chasing money. Koalas don’t vote or pay rates. Sad but we elect people on lies, like Abbott and Newman.

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