Koala Technical Advisory Group

    A new Koala Technical Advisory Group is being established to form an independent advisory body to review and inform annual koala habitat map updates.

    Expressions of Interest by suitably qualified experts for the positions of Chairs and Members have closed.

    Nominations are being reviewed by the department. A recommendation will be submitted to the Koala Advisory Council for endorsement, followed by a submission to the Director-General for approval.

    The department will be in contact with applicants (either by phone, letter or email) to notify successful and unsuccessful applicants of their outcome by early June 2022.

    Background

    The purpose of the Queensland Koala Technical Advisory Group (KTAG) is to provide the Director-General of the Department of Environment and Science (the department) with independent science based and technical advice on the identification and mapping of koala habitat in South East Queensland (SEQ) under the Koala Conservation Plan (the Plan) and the Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation 2006 (NC Regulations).

    The new high quality koala habitat mapping released by the Queensland Government to support amendments to the planning framework is based on the best science and underpins significant increases to the protection of koala habitat across SEQ. The mapping uses best practice habitat modelling combined with world-leading regional ecosystem and high value regrowth mapping. The mapping also provides the basis to focus conservation efforts on areas that have the greatest chance of supporting koala populations under the SEQ Koala Conservation Strategy.

    KTAG members will provide advice to support the community pathway process being implemented by the Queensland Government to allow local councils and community members to provide input into the annual update to the koala habitat map. This process is informed by the existing process which allows landholders to make an application to the department to make, amend or revoke koala habitat mapping on their own properties. This process has shown that, while the koala habitat mapping is robust and highly accurate, detailed local information can allow for refinements.

    KTAG will specifically review and provide advice on submissions from local councils and the community to assess whether areas have the attributes to be included in the annual update of koala habitat maps based on leading science, new information and community input. KTAG will also provide advice in relation to other science and technical matters relevant to the conservation of koalas and implementation of the SEQ Koala Conservation Strategy.

    The Koala Advisory Council will continue to play a vital role in guiding and coordinating koala conservation efforts by providing communication and collaboration pathways among Queensland Government departments, local governments, community groups, non-government organisations and industry.

    Membership

    Membership of the Koala Technical Advisory Group is on an honorary basis and the Queensland Government appreciates the time commitments made by members. Between six to eight members will be appointed by the Director-General, consisting of up to two Queensland public service officers and may include membership of researchers and/or specialists in conservation management.

    Members, including the Chair, will be appointed for a two-year term and will be eligible for re-appointment for a term not exceeding five years. There will be opportunity to resign at any time they feel unable to offer informed advice regarding their nominated sector of representation. These members will be eligible for reappointment in another term.

    As part of a suite of initiatives under the Queensland Women’s Strategy 2016-21, the Queensland Government has set gender balance requirements for all appointments to Queensland Government bodies. Consideration will also be given to First Nations perspectives and traditional knowledge, youth representation, and other equity considerations.

    More information is available in the Draft Terms of Reference (PDF, 232.4KB) .

    Selection criteria

    Candidate selection will be based on:

    • specialist knowledge and experience in the sciences of the zoology, botany, conservation, and/or ecology of native wildlife (i.e. flora and fauna)
    • familiarity with and demonstrated interest in the modelling and mapping methodologies which currently support the mapping of koala habitat areas in SEQ
    • the capacity to provide multiple levels of advice
    • demonstrated expertise and/or experience in technical advisory committees.

    Expertise across multiple sectors will be looked upon favourably.

    Commitment

    The Koala Technical Advisory Group will meet two to four times each year. An indicative, annual schedule of meetings will be made available at the first meeting, with specific dates and times to be decided in consultation with the Chair and members in advance. The schedule of meetings will be developed in consideration of statutory timeframes and lead times in relation to the annual update of the koala habitat area map.

    Although no minimum time commitments are set, it is expected that members will attach a priority to attending and participating in all meetings the Chair invites them to. The expectation is that members will attend at least 75% of meetings annually except in unusual circumstances. If a member is unable to meet attendance requirements, they will be asked to review their membership.

    It is also expected that members will allocate appropriate preparation time for the reading of agenda papers and responding to issues where the KTAG’s advice is sought.

    Meetings may be held virtually using technology suitable to all members.

    Duties of the role

    Provide independent science based and technical advice to the Director-General relevant to making determinations in relation to koala habitat areas and koala conservation measures with regards to:

    • If an area has the attributes to be included in the annual update of koala habitat areas according to the current methodology used by the department to map koala habitat areas under Section 7B of the Plan.
    • Other science and technical matters relevant to the conservation of koalas and implementation of the SEQ Koala Conservation Strategy.

    Other matters on which the KTAG may provide advice to the Director-General include:

    • Revision and improvement of modelling and mapping methodologies which support the mapping of Koala Habitat Areas.
    • Review of Regional Ecosystems included as Koala Habitat in current models.
    • Advances in modelling and mapping methodologies relevant to the remaking of the Koala Habitat Area map.
    • Mapping and management of threats to koala conservation.
    • Science and technical matters related to koala conservation referred to the KTAG by the Koala Advisory Council.

    Responsibilities

    Chairperson (Chair)

    The responsibilities of the Chair include:

    • Conduct meetings according to standard meeting procedure and the terms of reference.
    • Facilitate discussion on the agenda items in a timely manner, seeking consensus on issues and developing advice to provide to the Director-General.
    • Facilitate participation of all KTAG members in the meeting.
    • Present KTAG advice/recommendations, including unanimous, majority and/or divergent views on discussion topics.
    • Liaise with the Directors of the Department of Environment and Science Queensland Herbarium and Southern Wildlife and Koala Operations, and other parties as required.
    • Maintain a comprehensive database of all KTAG actions and advice provided.
    • Provide a report to the department on the results of all KTAG deliberations that advise action under the Plan.

    Members

    The responsibilities of members include:

    • Providing scientific and technical expertise, experience and advice.
    • Supporting consistency with the current scientific views, the koala habitat area Mapping Methodology, the Act and the Regulation, through written and oral input. Members may also be required to research and prepare data and advice to support comprehensive and current species assessments.
    • Debating and formulating views on issues brought before the KTAG and providing appropriate advice.
    • Consulting with other experts, industry and stakeholders and disseminating information (subject to any overriding confidentiality and media provisions under the Draft Terms of Reference and the Queensland Public Service Code of Conduct).
    • Participating in agreed working groups.
    • Allocating preparation time for reading of agenda papers.

    Further information

    Read the Draft Terms of Reference (PDF, 232.4KB) .

    For further information, please contact Koala.Assessment@des.qld.gov.au.