A NEW 2400ha habitat has been preserved for Noosa koalas.
A NEW 2400ha habitat has been preserved for Noosa koalas. Corbis

The three-way deal that locks in land for koalas

A PARTNERSHIP between the Palaszczuk Government, Noosa Parks Association, Noosa Council and HQPlantations will protect 2400 hectares of vital koala habitat following a deal announced today.

Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said the partnership was the first of its kind in Queensland and was first raised with the government by Noosa Council and Noosa Parks Association 18 months ago.

The three bodies have combined to fund what the Minister said was a $3.5 million investment to protect core koala habitat and to protect koala populations in the Noosa area.

The deal would see private harvesting licences phased out within the 2,400 hectares of state-owned forest between Tewantin, Cooroy, Pomona and Boreen Point and the timber company compensated.

Noosa Council's contribution has come from its Environment Levy.

 

(L-R) Tony Wellington (Noosa Mayor), David West (HQPlantations Group Manager Stewardship), Leeanne Enoch (State Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Science, and the Arts), and Dr Michael Gloster (Noosa Parks Association President).
(L-R) Tony Wellington (Noosa Mayor), David West (HQPlantations Group Manager Stewardship), Leeanne Enoch (State Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Science, and the Arts), and Dr Michael Gloster (Noosa Parks Association President).

"The intention is that the land will eventually be gazetted as National Park to make a significant contribution to growing koala populations in the Noosa Shire area," Ms Enoch said.

The area encompassing Yurol and Ringtail State Forests was also home to a total of 25 threatened and three nearly-threatened species, including the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly, the Mary River Cod and the giant barred frog.

"As the native forests in this area are re-established, this land will become core habitat for koalas," Ms Enoch said.

She said the Palaszczuk Government was committed to protecting koalas with the partnership in addition to the new Koala Conservation Strategy.

"Earlier this year we accepted all of the recommendations from the Koala Expert Panel report to better address threats to koalas, habitat protection and habitat restoration in south east Queensland," Ms Enoch said.

"We need to work together to protect our koalas. That means all levels of Government, industry, the community, and not-for-profit organisations focusing their energy and resources on actions that will make a difference on the ground."

She encouraged other local authorities to follow Noosa's example.

Noosa Council Mayor Tony Wellington said the project was a big win.

"This novel partnership deal not only secures more land for conservation purposes, it also creates an extensive wildlife corridor connecting the Noosa hinterland with the Cooloola section of the Great Sandy National Park," he said.

"As well as benefiting koalas and many other plant and animal species, this project will also be an asset to tourism and the local economy. 

"Through this project, HQPlantations are proving themselves to be wonderful corporate citizens, and our local community environment organisation, the Noosa Parks Association, are once again demonstrating their capacity to conceptualise long-term goals."

Noosa Parks Association President Michael Gloster said the association had enjoyed working with the State, Noosa Council and HPQPlantations to reach the agreement.

"The association's half-century quest for a Noosa to Tewantin to Cooloola National Park is now well within reach," he said.