Plan to protect Campbelltown’s koalas

Urgent need to protect koalas. Credit: Australia Reptile Park
Urgent need to protect koalas. Credit: Australia Reptile Park

Pressure is ramping up on the state government to ensure Campbelltown’s disease free colony of koalas don’t become collateral damage of the region’s housing boom.

With 18,000 new dwellings earmarked for Gilead in the next 40 years, the council wants to make sure native animals don’t suffer as a result.

The findings of the Campbelltown Council-commissioned South Campbelltown Koala Habitat Connectivty Study were recently released.

As a result, the person in charge of the study, Dr Steve Phillips made two key recommendations which included establishing at least three east-west corridors ranging from 200 to 450 metres wide, and the provision of three fauna and koala overpass crossings along Appin Road.

Wildlife exclusion fencing and koala grids across all driveways and intersections were also recommended.

A recent council request to the state government for funding to create build the crossings was ignored.

Council will now forward the findings to several state government departments in the hope they will be incorporated into future plans for the area.

Local WIRES volunteer Ricardo Lonza addressed the council on Tuesday night in response to the study.

“It’s important koala connectivity is protected and put into development plans,” he said.

“We must not destroy wildlife and koala habitat to please greedy developers.”

The study also noted wallaroos, grey kangaroos, red-necked and swamp wallabies, brush-tailed rock wallabies, echidnas and wombats.

Council documents show the study was spurred on due to a lack of planning on behalf of the Roads and Maritime Services.

“Recent advice from the RMS indicated that the carriageway design (of Appin Road) would accommodate up to six lanes with fencing along the eastern side to manage koala fatalities,” the report read.

“The RMS further advised that no koala connectivity structures are proposed in current planning, as preliminary advice from the Office of Environment and Heritage did not identify the need for such structures.”

Campbelltown MP Greg Warren (Labor) also recently urged the state government to release its NSW Koala Strategy.

Mr Warren was highly critical of development proceeding in”core koala habitat” in Macarthur without protections for the natives animals in place.

“We’ve now gone five years without a comprehensive koala plan in NSW, and as we move closer and closer towards the extinction of koalas, the Government continues to sit on its hands and do nothing about the problem,” he said.