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Council takes action on koalas

Greater Macarthur Koala Partnership Forum Greater Macarthur Koala Forum

Council has long been an advocate for the conservation of Campbelltown’s koala population.

We have facilitated various events, projects, programs and campaigns to address key issues and threats to the health and long term viability of our koalas.

As part of our Koalatown will continue to roll out new initiatives, awareness campaigns and exciting opportunities for the community to get involved in the conservation of our koalas.

Our Campbelltown Koala Plan of Management 

A Campbelltown Koala Plan of Management has been prepared and provides a strategic approach to the protection, management and restoration of koala habitat for the entire local government area. The plan sets clear objectives and actions relating to all aspects of protecting our koalas including planning provisions in accordance with the relevant state and commonwealth legislation.

Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management 2018(12MB, PDF)

Proposed Development at Gilead

Since 2015 the NSW Government has been investigating the Greater Macarthur Growth Area and in 2019, recognised it under the State Environmental Planning Policy to formally recognise its status as a growth area. Gilead is one of 12 growth precincts within the Campbelltown Local Government Area and planning has been underway since 2017 when the stage one site was rezoned for urban use by the State Government.

As a Council, we assess applications based on the planning regulations of the State Government. Since the beginning of this process we have worked to identify ways we can conserve koala habitat and corridors on the site. Planning for stage one is ongoing and includes a planning proposal that would increase protection of bio-certified vegetation by increasing open space to 50.27ha and rezoning that land to environmental conservation land.

Planning for stage two has recently started and Council has conditionally supported a Biodiversity Certification for the site to minimise the impact on vegetation and optimise the width of koala corridors.

In 2017 we commissioned a koala expert to complete the Koala Habitat Connectivity Study of Mt Gilead to investigate and make recommendations on important koala linkage areas. This study has enabled council to advocate for:

  • Appropriate habitat corridor widths and their protection
  • Native wildlife crossing overpasses to be included as part of the Appin Rd upgrade
  • Fauna fencing to complement wildlife crossings
  • Increased koala protection in the State Government’s environmental planning policy.

In our 2019 submission to the Greater Macarthur 2040: An Interim Plan for the Greater Macarthur Growth Area we advocated for more east-west koala habitat corridors to be identified and a koala care program be included in a grant funding scheme.

This year we finalised a comprehensive review of the Campbelltown Local Environment Plan which increased the biodiversity layer across the Local Government Area and gave greater environmental protections than ever before. We provided a detailed submission to the parliamentary committee on the inquiry into koala populations and habitat in NSW and welcome its recommendations released in June this year. These include additional protections to this site for the preservation of koalas.

We look forward to the NSW State Government’s response to this inquiry that is expected by the end of the year.

Long-term koala monitoring strategy 

We have developed a strategy in partnership with koala experts, universities, wildlife organisations and the community to monitor changes in the distribution, health and abundance of the Campbelltown’s koalas over time. This includes various scientific methods of field-based surveys including GPS tracking, scat survey and collection and spotlighting to ensure the longevity and overall health of our koala population into the future.

You can learn more about our koala monitoring program with upcoming opportunities to get involved. 

Greater Macarthur Koala Partnership Forum - March 2019

In March 2019, Council hosted the Greater Macarthur Koala Partnership Forum. The forum builds on Council’s long term commitment to koala care and conservation in the region. A number of industry and community koala experts were engaged to present on the key issues and threats affecting the long term viability of koalas in the Greater Macarthur region. Koalatown is an initiative that has grown out of the passion that was demonstrated at the forum by government officials, industry leaders, experts and our community.

Habitat restoration 

We have a range of ongoing projects funded by both Council, state government and corporate partners that aim to restore koala habitat. These include weed management and bush regeneration programs to ensure native plants can flourish without competition and tree planting to create connectivity within corridors and additional koala habitat.

Vehicle strikes 

Vehicle strikes are a key threat to Campbelltown’s koalas. In 2014 we installed 36 static signs in key koala habitat across the LGA and ran a ‘why did the koala cross the road’ promotional campaign in our bus shelters in 2015. We have recently purchased a visual message board (VMS) with the help of Greater Sydney Local Land Services and will be continuing to deploy it to strategic locations across the LGA. The aim is to encourage motorists to slow down and be vigilant when driving through known koala areas. We will also continue our strong advocacy for increased wildlife considerations during Appin Rd upgrades be looking at further options to reduce vehicle strikes locally.

Dog attacks 

In 2015, we developed a brochure and targeted messaging regarding dog attacks and Koalatown sees continued action relating to this measure increased. We have developed Koalatown branded dog leashes and dog poo bags available at our animal care facility and at community events to raise awareness and are installing signage at key reserves to advice users that there are koalas about. We will also be undertaking surveillance and compliance to ensure that our koalas are protected.

To find out more download our Living with dogs in koala habitat brochure(2MB, PDF)

Koala food tree planting 

Our community has planted more than 18,000 new food trees during Council’s Wild Koala Day and National Tree Day events since 2015. These trees will be harvested by our passionate wildlife carers to help feed injured koalas in their care and will be the backbone of future rehabilitation programs for our colony.

Koalatown certified schools 

Koala Kids is a free education program targeted at primary and high schools in Campbelltown. Students can explore koala habitat and discover the current threats and conservation measures they can take to help make Campbelltown and their school a Koala Friendly Community. Upon completion of the program, schools can become Koalatown certified.

To find out more, contact our Environmental Education Officer by emailing openspace@campbelltown.nsw.gov.au.

Koalatown room opens at Visitor Information Centre

Visitors and residents can now learn about Campbelltown’s unique local koala population in the new Koalatown room at the Campbelltown Visitor Information Centre.

The room contains a wealth of educational information on the local koala colony including European and Aboriginal historical information and ways we can protect our koalas. Visitors can also go on a ‘pick your koala’ adventure by getting information on the best places to find koala habitat and tips for when they are onsite to increase chances of seeing a koala in the wild.

The Koalatown room is a great opportunity to learn about the threats to our koalas and what you can do to make a difference, like driving carefully at night and walking your dog on a leash in bushland reserves. Visitors can also purchase a koala-themed souvenir with all the profits going to support Campbelltown's dedicated wildlife carers. 

 Campbelltown Visitor Information Centre 

Supporting wildlife carers

We work closely with our wildlife carers to ensure that they can continue to do the great work they do. We partner for events that are targeted towards wildlife, we assist with koala foliage and perch material for koalas in care and assist when koalas are in danger. We are also providing financial support through sales of our koala related materials at events and at the Campbelltown Visitor Information Centre.

Koalatown information packs for residents 

Community members who have registered as a Koalatown supporter received an information pack which includes the following: 

  • How to help koalas brochure 
  • Living with dogs in koala habitat brochure 
  • Koala spotting brochure 
  • Dog lead (if noted they owned a dog)
  • Biodegradable dog waste bags
  • Koala habitat map 
  • Koala sightings map 
  • Information about the Koalatown program and how to be involved 
  • Bushcare volunteer brochure 
  • Koala safety bumper sticker.

Over 700 packs have been distributed to Koalatown supporters in 2020. To receive a pack, register as a supporter.

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