Levels of Assessment
The Commonwealth, State and local governments administer specific regulations for assessment of impacts on Koala habitat in development applications.
Koala is listed as endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) for the combined populations of Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. The Commonwealth government provides guidelines for determining whether there will be a significant impact on this species and referral of the project to the Commonwealth is warranted. This is based on the interpretation of field results and the results of impact analysis in accordance with the guidelines. If a referral is made, the Commonwealth will determine whether the project is a controlled action under the EPBC Act. If the project is a controlled action, the Commonwealth will respond with the required assessment process for a project approval decision under the EPBC Act.
Koala is listed as endangered in Queensland under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. The Queensland Government has a Koala conservation planning framework in place. State Koala mapping of Koala Priority Areas and Koala Habitat Areas is reflected in local government planning schemes, with proposals for interfering with mapped Koala Habitat in Koala Priority Areas being prohibited development (with some exceptions) and interference with Koala Habitat outside of Koala Priority Areas requiring referral by local government to the State government for assessment.
Koala habitat mapping also includes ‘Locally refined Koala Habitat Areas’ that must be addressed in development applications, and some Councils have their own, additional Koala habitat mapping.
All levels of government require application of all reasonable impact avoidance and mitigation measures as primary strategies to reduce the scale and intensity of impacts before offsets are considered for unavoidable impacts.
How we do it
Knowing the appropriate amount of survey effort required to meet regulator requirements is important to (1) ensure our advice regarding the need for EPBC Act referral of a project for Koala habitat is accurate, noting that other government agencies, organisations or members of the public are able to initiate Commonwealth involvement, and (2) provide the relevant regulators with the information they require to assess the project in accordance with their legislative responsibilities.
Our staff of 10 ecology professionals have a combined experience of over 200 years of practice. Along with the ecological expertise required to make the assessment, we have a comprehensive understanding of the regulatory requirements and guidelines applied to Koala assessments for all levels of government. The thoroughness and accuracy of our Koala impact assessments facilitate efficient progress through the range of development application processes.
Koala habitat assessments can be reported separately or are included as a component of an Ecological Assessment where the species is present.