About the guidelines
In response to the listing of the Koala (combined populations of Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory) as Vulnerable on 2 May 2012, the Department has developed EPBC Act referral guidelines for the Vulnerable Koala. The primary intent of these guidelines is to help proponents proposing actions within the distribution of the listed Koala to avoid significant impacts.
These guidelines have been developed in consultation with Koala experts, ecological consultants and state government representatives and the general public. It is recommended that proponents consider these guidelines when proposing actions within the modelled distribution of the koala. Generally speaking, conformance with these guidelines will ensure that proponents are best placed for a streamlined assessment of their action, and for achieving the assessment decision and outcomes they are seeking if they choose to refer their action. Conformance with the principles within these guidelines will also help minimise offset obligations under the EPBC Act if assessment is required.
Draft koala referral guidelines were released for a two month period of public consultation. Following analysis of the submissions received, the guidelines were revised and finalised. The major changes included:
- A policy summary has been provided as a simple overview at the front.
- Further emphasis has been given to aligning definitions, standards and resources with those used by state, territory and local government agencies.
- Various minor additions and clarifications have been made around the species’ ecology (i.e. contexts table and definitions).
- The survey guidance section was expanded to provide more comprehensive guidance. This section now identifies the key survey methodologies and outlines their benefits and limitations. This is done in a manner that is not prescriptive and still allows flexibility and alignment with state and territory survey requirements.
- The habitat assessment tool was revised and tested, with a small change made to the vegetation criterion and clarification included on the definition of contiguous landscape.
- Further guidance was provided for actions where it is uncertain whether the impact of habitat clearing is significant, reducing the level of uncertainty.
- Mitigation tables were revised in order to streamline them and simplify their application.