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Koalas in blue gum plantations

Blue gums are a preferred food tree of Koalas, and Koalas in Victoria are increasingly moving into blue gum plantations seeking new habitat areas.

As well as being socially and culturally significant, Koalas are important to Australia’s biodiversity.  

Victoria has a relatively high Koala population in comparison to Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. In these states/territory, koala populations are listed as vulnerable to extinction under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Despite the high population in Victoria, it's important that the Koala population and the welfare of Koalas is protected.   

Blue gums are a preferred food tree of Koalas, and Koalas in Victoria are increasingly moving into blue gum plantations seeking new habitat areas. Timber from blue gum plantations is used domestically and exported throughout the world. The blue gum industry in Victoria operates on private land and is largely conducted by plantation management companies 

What the law says about Koalas in Victoria 

Koalas, like all wildlife in Victoria, are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. The welfare of all animals is also protected under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1988.  

These acts refer to offences for disturbing, harming, possessing or destroying wildlife without the appropriate authority.  

Authorisations and Koala Management Plans 

The Conservation Regulator requires owners and managers of blue gum plantations who wish to undertake operations that may affect koalas to apply for an authorisation to disturb koalas under Section 28A(1A) of the Wildlife Act.  

Owners or managers must also develop a Koala Management Plan that meets the minimum requirements set by the Conservation Regulator in order to minimise risks to Koalas during operations. 

Further information on the regulatory approach to minimising impacts on koalas in blue gum plantations will be available in mid-2021.

For any enquiries, email the Conservation Regulator: conservationregulator@delwp.vic.gov.au

Reviewed 26 April 2021

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