Glen Elmes plants new koala habitat at Verrierdale

More than 7,000 koala habitat trees will be planted on a 252 hectare site at Verrierdale as part of a koala off-set project for recently completed safety works on the Bruce Highway near the Ettamogah Pub.

Member for Noosa, Glen Elmes said the project aimed to off-set the environmental impacts of the Frizzo Road and Sippy Creek Road upgrade.

“The $15 million project, fully funded by the Australian Government, delivered crucial safety improvements by upgrading the north-bound Bruce Highway entry near Aussie World and building a new road link to Sippy Creek Road,” Mr Elmes said.

“This koala off-set project will see any koala habitat adversely affected by the road project restored at another suitable location.

“The off-set works are being funded by the Australian Government and delivered by the Queensland State Government Department of Transport and Main Roads and Sunshine Coast Council,” Mr Elmes said.

“This is a great initiative which will reduce the environmental footprint of this important road safety project and help protect our vulnerable koala population.

“The Sunshine Coast Council is providing invaluable support for the project by allowing its environmental reserve to be used for the new koala habitat and, due to the limited land available at the project site, the Council’s reserve was the best option.

“Land around it is known to support koalas and it is part of a wider bio-diversity corridor for future preservation,” Mr Elmes said.

Mr Elmes also said that the State Government had allocated $22.5 million for koala habitat acquisition as part of its holistic approach to address the decline in koala populations of which habitat offset programs were a part.

“$3.2 million of this allocation has been set aside for habitat acquisition on the Sunshine Coast, part of which was spent only recently purchasing a 57 hectare parcel of prime koala habitat land at Lake Macdonald.

“Only last week, we called for tenders to relocate healthy rehabilitated koalas from south-east Queensland wildlife hospitals to the Noosa Hinterland.

We have also committed $3.2 million to koala disease research and $800,000 to koala carers who rescue sick and injured animals.

Planting for the off-set project at Verrierdale has now begun and is expected to be completed by early October 2014.