We must protect Sydney's Koalas!


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With bushfires shredding Australia's koala habitat and the species now officially classified as ''endangered'' , the Sydney Basin's healthy koala colony on the west of the city is now super important - but it is facing end of days if something is not done to urgently protect it. So TEC is taking action!

In addition this the Save Sydney's Koala Campaign, we have now also established the Sydney Basin Koala Network stretching from Newcastle, the Hunter, Blue Mountains down to Nowra to advocate for protection by mobilising the community, science and legal resources.  Launch release here.

Also check out our Koala Survival Plan and the Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan (CPCP) Review.  Twenty-five national, state and local environment groups are campaigning to stop damaging development; ensure conservation occurs before new housing; and reform of the CPCP - joint statement here.

Why the Macarthur colony on the western edge of Sydney, is important: 

  • Koalas may move from vulnerable to endangered under state and national legislation after this season’s bushfires, including significant loss in the Blue Mountains (in NSW it's estimated some 10,000 have been killed)
  • It is chalmydia free and contributes to the genetic diversity of the species
  • The population is growing and expanding its territory
  • Cheyne Flanagan, Clinical Director of the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and Dr Kellie Leigh, Univ Sydney, Faculty of Vet Science and Science for Wildlife, have supported the colony’s importance to koala survival[1]
  • There is the opportunity for a new national park and wide north-south, east-west corridors to facilitate their migration to repopulate nearby burnt areas in the world heritage lands of the Blue Mountains.

The colony is threatened: 

  • While they have so far escaped recent bushfire impact - core habitat and corridor connections are under threat of complete removal by urban development (housing and major roads)
  • A key concern is the Gilead development situated on the narrowest (and essential) link area between the Georges and Nepean Rivers
  • Developers and road agencies have plans to isolate the colony from expansion areas preventing migration and escape from bushfire
  • State and federal planning and environment bodies have, to date, ignored koala management plans and establishment of recovery teams when assessing major urban development.

What we want to achieve: 

  • Declaration the colony from the Blue Mountains to Campbelltown to Wilton is of national importance
  • The Georges River Koala National Park on government and private lands adjoining the River’s western side and along the Nepean River
  • Stop Stage 2 of the Gilead development or at the very least enforce 425m wide corridors severely restricting development[2]
  • The (draft) Campbelltown Koala Management Plan is gazetted
  • Koala crossings on Appin Road linking to east-west corridors
  • The Minister for Planning and Public Spaces gazettes an improved State Environmental Planning Policy that requires upgraded protection of koalas in urban development areas, including wide corridors
  • Regeneration of cleared lands as koala habitat, extending corridors along drainage lines.

TEC has 50 years of experience defending wildlife habitat and working with local communities, as well as negotiating regulatory, parliamentary and political process. We offer unique support to this important battle to save this crucial wild koala population from extinction.




  • We met with the NSW Minister for the Environment, James Griffin, about ensuring effective corridors for Koala movement, especially near urban areas, to link fragmented habitats.  We are continuing to press for the guaranteed protection of the expanding and rare healthy Macarthur colony, opposing developments by Lendlease and Walker.  A link to our position is here.
  • Koalas are declared as an endangered species by the NSW Government on 20 May. Habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation remain the biggest drivers behind the decrease in koala populations. You can read the "notice and reasons for the Final Determination" of the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee here. 
  • The Federal Government announces to accept the recommendation of the threatened species scientific committee to include koalas on the endangered species list in New South Wales, Queensland, and Australian Capital Territory. We responded to this announcement by calling for increased land controls.




  • 20 December: NSW government announces new koala planning policy - a small step - more to do.
  • 6 December: the planning department reports koala protection is a key concern of public consultation. The Minister for Planning reaffirms the central role of koala protection including conservation of land east of Appin Road and development of a Ministerial Direction to protect koala habitat. 
  • 9 October: TEC hosts the Minister for Environment and 6 state MPs from both parties and the crossbench on a site visit to threatened areas.  Strong commitments obtained.  Check out our briefing note and Ch7 News coverage
  • July - Sept: we present to various hearings into Wilton and Gilead on rezonings for massive development.
  • March: State Election sees both major parties promise koala protection for Western Sydney.


  • 18 November: The NSW government proposes to look after koalas in the Macarthur development corridor
  • On September 30th we warmly welcomed NSW Labor's commitment to a 4000 Ha Georges River Koala National Park. 
  • On September 27th we raised deep concerns about the states biobanking proposal and possible federal acquiescence of it, with the Federal Minister for the Environment, Melissa Price.  
  • On September 11th 2018 at the Appin Koala Summit, TEC presented a spatial governance proposal for human-koala habitat compatibility. It consisted of the Georges River Koala National Park, Two Rivers Frontier Koala National Park and a Koala Blue-Green Grid concept. The full presentation is here:  TEC's Koala Summit Presentation
  • Mount Gilead - the housing development by Lendlease Communities (Mt Gilead) Pty Ltd will impact critical koala corridors making avoidance of threats such as dogs and cars by the koala population almost impossible. Read our submission to Campbelltown City Council
  • Here's our submission to the Federal government.
  • The Macquariedale Rd Planning Proposal by the Walker Corporation involves the destruction of Core Koala Habitat for a housing development in Appin, South-western Sydney. Read our submission to Wollondilly Shire Council.




[1] https://sydney.edu.au/news/84.html?newsstoryid=12812


[2] Width advised by Dr Steve Phillips, Biolink, evidence to PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE NO. 7 - PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT KOALA POPULATIONS AND HABITAT IN NEW SOUTH WALES, Hansard 25 Oct 2019, p16.  Gilead has average of about 100-150m.

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