ICC viewpoent on State’s koala conservation policy

IPSWICH City Council has raised concerns with documentation and mapping aspects of the draft South East Queensland Koala conservation state planning policy and regulatory provisions.

The documents had been prepared by the Qld Department of Infrastructure and Planning (DIP) and the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) and released for formal public consultation.

ICC has put together a submission detailing some of the inconsistencies. One of the main problems is the way in which the draft policy’s mapping methodology has been applied to the Ipswich and Brisbane Local Government Areas.

It would appear that a policy decision has been made to exclude significant areas of potential koala habitat in the Brisbane local government area but not in Ipswich.”

Council was also concerned that the policy had been drafted from the perspective of conserving koala habitat over all other land use functionalities within the urban footprint, regardless of social dislocation, inefficient distribution of infrastructure networks, the design of urban places and the conservation and protection of other flora and fauna.

It appears that the policy and regulatory provisions take insufficient account of good land use planning practice and ignore the development outcomes and targets envisaged by the South East Queensland Regional Plan 2009-2031.

This approach by DERM also may compromise the economic viability of private development which in turn will affect the roll out of urban infrastructure and the overall achievement of SEQRP population targets.

It also appeared that dog control requirements would apply to the Ipswich Local Government area even though it was outside of a priority koala management area or identified planning area in the draft policy.

It is not clear who will fund enforcement actions required to achieve the guideline including ongoing maintenance and compliance and we are seeking clarification about that. Ipswich City Council had last year prepared a Draft Key Koala Habitat Areas Map for the whole of Ipswich.

This map was put together by council with the assistance of the Ipswich Koala Protection Society and offered for public comment in November last year with submissions closing on December 11.

We have already provided a copy of this map in an early submission to the State Government on their draft policy as we believe it should be included within the policy once adopted.

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