Koalas

Ballina Shire Koala Management Strategy

The Ballina Shire Koala Management Strategy aims to identify koala habitat and establish an overarching management framework. The Strategy summarises activities and actions that the Council intends to undertake to advance the vision, aims and objectives of Koala Management across Ballina Shire Council.

Importantly, Part 5 of the Strategy incorporates a Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management (CKPoM) for a part of the shire.  This precinct provides habitat for a nationally important population of koalas, as defined under the Commonwealth Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.  

The Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management (CKPoM) is prepared in accordance with State Environmental Planning Policy No. 44 – Koala Habitat Protection, associated guidelines (published by the former Department of Urban Affairs and Planning 1995) and National Parks and Wildlife Service (1999). The Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management (CKPoM) aims to reflect a contemporary understanding of koala ecology and management.  The plan also has regard for the approved Recovery Plan for the Koala in NSW (DECC, 2008).

The Ballina Shire Core Koala Habitat Comprehensive Plan of Management (CKPoM) was approved by the Department of Planning on 6 July 2017 and commenced operation under SEPP 44 on the same date. The Koala Management Strategy (including the CKPoM) identifies areas of core koala habitat in the shire and establishes associated requirements for development.


Koala habitat

Koalas are fussy eaters and prefer only a small variety of mainly eucalypt trees. Koalas have complex social structures, living in established home ranges that interconnect.  Young animals, especially males, must eventually leave the home range of their mothers, often travelling long distances seeking suitable habitat. Koalas are listed as ‘vulnerable’ under State and Federal legislation. This listing is largely due to a continued decline in koala numbers across Australia from one or many of the threats listed below:

  • habitat loss, fragmentation, modification and disturbance
  • predation by roaming and domestic dogs
  • vehicle strike
  • intense burns or wildfires that scorch the tree canopy 
  • heat stress through prolonged drought and heatwaves
  • human-induced climate change
  • disease
  • inadequate support for fauna rehabilitation and
  • a need for additional and ongoing research in mortality, population and landscape dispersal. 

Koala habitat and population assessment

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage provided funding to Council to prepare a Koala Habitat Study during 2012 and 2013. 

This Study was the first systematic assessment of koala distribution and abundance across the Ballina local government area (LGA).  The study is founded in the analysis of historical koala records, a literature review and field work.  Consultation with stakeholders including local wildlife groups and landholders also provided important background information for the study.

Significantly, the study indicates that the Bagotville, Meerschaum Vale, Coolgardie, Wardell, Uralba and Lynwood localities combined have a koala population assessed as being of national significance (for the purposes of the Commonwealth Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act).  The population is described as an important population under the Act because it is a source population for breeding and/or dispersal and it is likely to be an ancestral source population for koalas inhabiting the Lismore LGA and lower parts of the Byron LGA.

As part of the preparation Council formed a Project Reference Group (PRG).  The reference group acted as a discussion forum in relation to the preparation of both the habitat study and the Koala Management Strategy.  The PRG included representatives from NSW government agencies, environmental groups, agricultural groups and the university sector.


Record a sighting

Be a Citizen Scientist and record your Koala sightings. Ballina Shire Council works alongside government agencies and non-for-profit organisations which have developed useful tools to easily report sightings.  

Friends of the Koala Northern Rivers                                                                     
24-hour rescue hotline 02 6622 1233
Burribi Education and Administration Centre 02 6621 4664
Simple online form

Report a koala sighting

Department of Planning, Industry and Environment   
Environmental line - sightings 1300 361 967 or email info@environment.nsw.gov.au
Environmental line - disturbances 131 555 or email email info@environment.nsw.gov.au

 

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The General Manager
Ballina Shire Council
PO Box 450
Ballina NSW 2478

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