The Australian government has now listed the koala as a vulnerable species at the national level. This listing has specifically nominated populations of koalas in Queeensland, the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales as those requiring "government" protection. The koalas that live in these areas face threats from habitat destruction, vehicle strike and dogs as a result of urban expansion and the Commonwealth listing aims to address these threats.
What does this listing mean for most people? Nothing, actually. Where this legislation comes in, is when development is proposed in the areas where koalas are now considered threatened. If such, development has the potential to significantly impact on koalas, the proposal needs to forwarded to Commonwealth government for their consideration.
Populations of koalas around the rest of Australia are not considered to
be facing the same threats as those listed in the new Federal
government decision. And in fact in some circumstances the koala is so
prolific that they are actually creating environmental devastation in
the areas in which they live. The koalas in the broader Australian continent are therefore not considered under this legislation.
My interest in this decision, is whether this listing will truly have an impact and bring about a reduction of the habitat loss in these listed areas. To date, Queensland's koala conservation legislation has had little on ground success in curbing the decline in koala populations, particularly in south-east Queensland.