PROTECTION PLAN: Bellingen Shire Council has released its draft Koala Plan of Management for public feedback.
PROTECTION PLAN: Bellingen Shire Council has released its draft Koala Plan of Management for public feedback. Luka Kauzlaric

Plan to reverse koala population decline

BELLINGEN Shire koalas have been given an extra line of defence with the release of a draft plan of management for the species.

Prepared in partnership with the community and the Office of Environment and Heritage, the plan aims to combine regulatory and non-regulatory mechanisms to safeguard the future of the population.

Bellingen Shire Mayor Mark Troy said the Koala Plan of Management (KPOM) would help residents and council include koalas in the development application process and work to reverse the population decline previously identified.

"The plan strikes an important and careful balance between environmental outcomes and the continued rights of landowners to use and develop land,'' Cr Troy said.

Under the plan minor activities by private landholders that currently don't need development consent will remain unregulated and those that do need consent will fall under a streamlined process.

A Koala Working Group was established to inform the development of, and see the continued implementation of the KPOM.

Larger proposals that include the removal of high quality habitat will face higher standards of protection for Koalas.
The draft KPOM is open to community comment until November 17 and can be viewed at www.bellingen.nsw.gov.au or the Bellingen Shire Council Administrative Centre, Bellingen and Urunga Libraries.

There will also be information sessions on Wednesday October 29 at Bellingen Shire Council Chambers and on Thursday October 30 at Urunga's CWA building in Morgo St.



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