Koalas will be better protected from threats in the Port Macquarie and Kempsey region thanks to a $1.25 million investment through the NSW Koala Strategy.
Minister for Environment James Griffin said the funding includes a $600,000 regional partnership and $500,000 habitat restoration project with Koala Conservation Australia (KCA), and $150,000 to help councils prevent vehicle strike.
“This $1.25 million funding is part of the more than $190 million NSW Koala Strategy, which is the biggest investment by any government in a single species in Australia,” Mr Griffin said.
“The strategy identified Port Macquarie and Kempsey Council areas as having 2 of the 10 stronghold koala populations in New South Wales, which is why this funding is so important.
“One of the biggest challenges for koalas in these regions is habitat fragmentation, vehicle strike and dog attack.
“That’s why we’re working with partners like KCA, which has decades of experience in the region, to help local communities conserve koala populations and restore 250 hectares of local koala habitat.”
The health and safety of koalas in the region will be better supported through $150,000 funding for Port Macquarie Hastings Council and Kempsey Shire Council to reduce vehicle strike by identifying hotspots and installing mitigation measures.
Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams said KCA has been managing the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital for 49 years.
“The regional partnership funding for KCA will support the employment of a Koala Officer, which will help ensure that projects across Port Macquarie and Kempsey are incorporating local knowledge and being strategically delivered,” Mrs Williams said.
“We’re also working with the 2 councils to help prevent vehicle strike by identifying hotspots and suitable mitigation which may include signs to warn and slow down motorists, and improvements in fencing to prevent wildlife from venturing on to roads.”
Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey said the Koala Strategy funding is supporting the community to continue their koala conservation efforts.
“Our community is passionate about protecting the local koala population and partnerships like this enhance the efforts that are already underway across the region,” Ms Pavey said.
Koala Conservation Australia Chair Sue Ashton said the funding was welcome news for the community.
“Koala Conservation Australia has a long-established history in koala rescue and rehabilitation in the Port Macquarie region and we are ready to support the local koala population through these additional conservation efforts,” Ms Ashton said.
The strategy delivers a range of targeted conservation actions to secure more habitat, support community conservation, address key threats to koala safety and health, and utilise science and research to build knowledge.