Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

We're Failing the Koala; Laws Not Protecting Wildlife

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

We're Failing the Koala; Laws Not Protecting Wildlife

Article excerpt

Byline: Lachlan McIvor

THE Federal Government is failing to protect koalas and pushing the animals to extinction, according to environmental campaigners.

It comes amidst revelations the clearing of 75ha of koala habitat was approved for residential development in Ipswich, breaching policy on environmental offsets.

The Australian Conservation Foundation obtained documents through a Freedom of Information request which showed habitat was approved for clearing even while the Environment Department conceded the developers' planned offsets didn't meet policy standards.

Developers are given permission to destroy wildlife habitat on the condition equivalent bushland is protected elsewhere, which is known as an offset.

The documents obtained by ACF revealed the department approved the land clearing in January 2018 by Springfield Land Corporation and Defence Housing Australia to 'maintain consistency in decision making' with other projects already going ahead. The department said offset proposals from both developers 'lacked consistency' with its policy but approved them anyway and stated any future proposals would need to fall in line.

Springfield Land Corporation was told its proposal at Spring Mountain would offset 17.6 per cent of the impact, rather than the required 100 per cent.

ACF nature campaigner Andrew Picone said the Federal Government was failing to protect koalas.

"In both these cases the Federal Environment Department acknowledged the planned offsets were inadequate, yet it approved the destruction of bushland anyway, relying on the flawed reasoning that the decision was consistent with existing housing projects nearby, which also did not meet policy standards for offsets," he said.

Mr Picone said Australia's environment budget was slashed by 39.7 per cent since 2013.

"This is further evidence Australia's environment laws are failing our threatened species," he said.

"ACF urges the Federal Government to adopt an immediate moratorium on its approval of the clearing of further koala habitat to help ensure the species' survival. …

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