Landowners share $11.8 million to help koalas
Five NSW landholders will share a $11.8 million pot of government money in exchange for designating parts of their land safe zones for koalas.
The recently signed agreements will make a total of 1,094 hectares of land in the Southern Highlands protected koala habitat, a status that will remain in perpetuity.
That means those parts of the land will not be developed or logged.
“The area is home to one of the most significant koala populations in the State, and a large portion of koala habitat in the Southern Highlands is found on private land,” NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said.
The money will be paid out in annual portions by the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust.
The Southern Highlands is believed to hold about 10 per cent of the state’s total koala population.
The BCT has entered into over 226 conservation agreements with private landholders over the last two years, snapping up land covering more than 59,300 hectares at a cost of over $125 million to protect various types of wildlife.
“The BCT’s conservation tenders are a great way for landholders to protect habitat for native species while diversifying their income,” said Mr Kean.
The NSW government committed $350 million to the BCT last year.
The news comes after another 1000 hectares of land was added to NSW national parks this week to further protect koala habitat.
That move will add 912 hectares to Cataract National Park three hours west of Byron Bay, and 93 hectares combined to Maria National Park in Crescent Head near Kempsey and Bongil Bongil National Park south of Coffs Harbour.
“Some of the land might be the best habitat for koalas, and other parts might be important for connecting separate habitats,” NSW national parks chief Atticus Fleming said.