In January 2022, the Australian Government announced an additional $50 million over 4 years to maintain and support the recovery and conservation of the Koala through monitoring, the protection of Koala habitats, and the improvement of Koala health and care in response to natural disasters such as bushfires and diseases such as Chlamydia. This funding injection builds upon the $18 million Koala conservation package announced in 2020.
In February 2022, the Koala (combined populations of ACT, NSW and QLD) was up-listed from ‘vulnerable’ to ‘endangered’ under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) due to various impacts including loss of habitat, disease and the impact of bushfires.
A national recovery plan for the listed Koala will support a cross-jurisdictional, coordinated and collaborative approach to the species’ conservation, and ensure its long-term recovery and resilience.
The additional $50 million Koala investment includes:
- $20 million in grants and procurements for larger projects to support recovery of the EPBC-listed Koala led by Natural Resource Management groups, NGOs, and Indigenous groups, as well as state and territory governments to build on existing work, guided by the outcomes and findings of the National Koala Monitoring Program.
- $10 million to extend the National Koala Monitoring Program. The design and implementation phase of the program (2020-22) has been developed in partnership with CSIRO. The program is engaging the community, citizen scientists, Indigenous stakeholders, and researchers across the relevant jurisdictions to deliver the first national Koala survey.
- $10 million in grants for small-scale community projects and local activities such as habitat protection and restoration, managing threats, health and care facilities, and citizen science projects to support recovery of the EPBC listed Koala
- $2 million in grants to improve Koala health outcomes through applied research activities and the practical application of research outcomes to address fundamental health challenges such as Koala retrovirus, Koala herpes viruses and Chlamydia.
- $1 million to expand the national training program in Koala care, treatment and triage
Planning is underway for the rollout of the $50 million package with grant guidelines and opportunities to become available in 2022.
Projects already underway through the $18 million Koala Conservation Package are addressing information gaps and will provide robust data on Koala distribution and population trends so that the new funding can be directed to where it is most needed. Projects include:
- $10 million to support habitat restoration and threat mitigation in bushfire-affected regions of New South Wales and south-east Queensland
- $2 million for Koala protection and recovery at additional sites identified from the Investment Framework for Environmental Resources (INFFER) workshops held in northern New South Wales (funded under the Environment Restoration Fund)
- $2 million for habitat restoration and threat mitigation in other non-bushfire affected regions of central and western New South Wales and central Queensland(funded under the Environment Restoration Fund)
- $2 million for a Koala Health Initiative to support coordination and delivery of more effective health research and to support Koala veterinary activities
- $2 million for a National Koala Monitoring Program to produce a robust estimate of the national Koala population and fill key data gaps identified through the Koala re-assessment and recovery plan development process.
In addition, Australian Government commitments to the Koala under the Environment Restoration Fund include:
Koala projects funded under the initial $6 Million through the Environment Restoration Fund (PDF - 113 KB)
Koala projects funded under the initial $6 Million through the Environment Restoration Fund (DOCX - 41 KB)
National Recovery Plan for the Koala
The Australian Government has released the first National Recovery Plan for the listed endangered Koala Phascolarctos cinereus (combined populations of Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory). This recovery plan will drive forward a coordinated and strategic approach to its conservation and recovery. Phascolarctos cinereus (combined populations of Qld, NSW and the ACT) — Koala (combined populations of Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory)
Koala Conservation and Protection - Community Grants
Guidelines for the Koala Conservation and Protection – Community Grants Round 1 have been published and are now available on the Business Grants Hub website.
Koala Conservation INFFER Report
The report provides the results of a cost-benefit analysis, using the Investment Framework for Environmental Resources (INFFER) tool, to guide the Australian Government’s investment to protect Koalas sites in northern New South Wales and south-east Queensland. A summary of the report recommendations was presented at the Koala Roundtable held at Parliament House on 26 February 2020.