The committee found that protecting koala habitat is hampered by the inconsistencies and disconnection between the different planning instruments within the NSW planning system, and there is an urgent need to address this.
The committee recommends that the Government urgently approve comprehensive koala plans of management previously submitted to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. And that, in finalising the State Environmental Planning Policy (Koala Habitat Protection) 2019 framework, strengthen the ability of consent authorities to protect koala habitat.
The committee recommends that the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme be overhauled and strengthened to protect koala habitat including prohibiting the ability to offset high quality koala habitat, restricting the ability for koala habitat to be offset anywhere across the state and removing the ability of mining companies to delay offsets until project completion.
The committee found that the NSW Koala Strategy falls short of the NSW Chief Scientist’s recommendation of a whole-of-government koala strategy with the objective of stabilising and then increasing koala numbers and that it fails to prioritise and resource the urgent need to protect koala habitat across all tenures.