Review of koala conservation measures and development of a new SEQ koala conservation strategy

The Queensland Government is reviewing koala conservation measures in response to a reported decline in koala population densities in South East Queensland.

The South East Queensland Koala Population Modelling Study (PDF, 3.2MB) , prepared by Uniquest, identified a decline in koala population densities by approximately 80% in the Koala Coast and 54% in the Pine Rivers regions between 1996 and 2014.

In July 2016, the Queensland Government appointed the Queensland Koala Expert Panel to provide recommendations on the most appropriate and realistic actions to address the decline in koala population densities in South East Queensland.

The four members of the Panel included:

  • Associate Professor Jonathon Rhodes, University of Queensland (Chair)
  • Dr Alistair Melzer,Central Queensland University’s Koala Research Centre
  • Mr Al Mucci, Director, Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation
  • Ms Antra Hood, Partner, Minter Ellison.

In their final report, ‘Queensland Koala Expert Panel: A new direction for the conservation of koalas in Queensland’, the Panel provided the Queensland Government with six recommendations and a number of supporting actions.

The Queensland Government Response to the Queensland Koala Expert Panel’s report accepts all six recommendations and supports the actions either fully or in-principle.

The response outlines the next steps the Queensland Government plans to take to implement the Panel’s recommendations, these include:

  • developing options for enhancing and strengthening existing investment in koala management and planning to align with the Panel’s recommendations
  • appointing a Koala Advisory Council that includes representatives from relevant state and local governments, community, NGOs and industry
  • developing a SEQ Koala Conservation Strategy which establishes targets for koala conservation, maps a network of priority areas for conservation efforts and details actions and a monitoring program that measures progress against targets.

Appointment of the Koala Advisory Council

The Koala Advisory Council has been appointed and is working with the State Government to develop a new Koala Conservation Strategy for South East Queensland.

The formation of the Council was one of the recommendations of the Koala Expert Panel.

Following recommendations from the Koala Advisory Council, the department has reviewed the policy on the release of rehabilitated koalas and the take and release of koalas in imminent danger. This new policy (PDF, 503.1KB) will provide a clear framework for carers, operating under the direction of the SEQ Wildlife Hospital Network to both release rehabilitated koalas into suitable habitat and to intervene where otherwise healthy koalas are in imminent danger.

To support implementation of the new policy, the department will work collaboratively with SEQ Wildlife Hospital Network members and the RSPCA to develop a detailed Procedural Guide to ensure successful implementation of the policy intent.

The role of the Koala Advisory Council includes:

  • helping deliver the new Koala Conservation Strategy and overseeing its implementation
  • evaluating the effectiveness of the Strategy and providing advice to government
  • reviewing the government’s koala monitoring and evaluation program to ensure targets are met
  • ensuring transparency and public reporting on koala programs and changes to habitat
  • establishing stakeholder networks
  • ensuring the long term agenda for koala conservation is maintained.

Members of the Council include:

  • Mr Mark Townend, CEO, RSPCA Queensland (Chair)
  • Associate Professor and Chair of the Koala Expert Panel, Jonathan Rhodes, University of Queensland
  • Mr Al Mucci, General Manager, Dreamworld’s Life Sciences Division
  • Ms Kirsty Chessher-Brown, CEO, Urban Development Institute of Australia
  • Dr Rosemary Booth, Director, Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital
  • Ms Gemma Plesman, Queensland Campaign Manager, Wilderness Society
  • Ms Kristy Gooding, Senior Advisor, Local Government Association of Queensland
  • Ms Julie McLellan, Executive Officer, Healthy Land and Water
  • Mr Cameron Costello, CEO, Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation
  • Ms Marina Vit, Chief Operating Officer, MOSAIC Property Group
  • Mr Mick Stephens, CEO, Timber Queensland
  • representatives from government including the Department of Environment and Science, the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Meeting minutes

Endorsed meeting minutes from the Koala Advisory Council.


The Koala Advisory Council prepares a Communique after each meeting.