Nature conservation

Native animals

Developing a NSW Koala Strategy

The NSW Government is developing a NSW Koala Strategy. As part of this process, the government invited input on what should be included in a whole-of-government NSW koala strategy to stabilise and then start to increase koala numbers.

From December 2016 to March 2017, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage sought feedback from the community on how to develop an effective NSW Koala Strategy though a number of public engagement activities.

The NSW Government recognises the importance of the koala as a threatened species and as an iconic species to the community.

Koala populations are under increasing pressure and have declined in NSW by an estimated 26% over the past 15 to 21 years. Without active intervention, this level of decline is likely to continue.

Current threats to koalas are unlikely to abate without action, and threats will be exacerbated by climate change. This is why it is important for the government and the community to develop actions for managing threats to key koala populations.

In March 2016, the former Minister for the Environment, Mark Speakman, asked the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer, Professor Mary O'Kane AC, to undertake a review into the decline of koala populations in key areas of New South Wales.

The NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer's report outlines some of the major issues requiring attention if we are to reverse the decline in koalas. The NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer has made 11 recommendations.

The NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer's recommendations propose the development of a whole-of-government NSW koala strategy using the best available science to:

  • improve data and mapping
  • improve outcomes for koalas through changes to the planning system and native vegetation regulation
  • investigate models for guiding and encouraging best practice
  • prioritise areas of land for conservation management, and
  • develop a series of actions to improve collaboration and information exchange amongst government, researchers, land managers and the community.

The NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer's recommendations build on the $100 million over five years already committed by the government under the Saving our Species (SoS) program for threatened species conservation. This program includes $800,000 for koala projects in 2016-17 alone.

The NSW Government whole-of-government NSW koala strategy will commit government agencies to specific action and involve the public, landholders and industry.

The government has also announced that $10 million from the NSW Environmental Trust will be used to purchase and permanently conserve land that contains priority koala habitat.

The community's feedback on what should be included in the strategy is vital to building a strong strategy. To support community engagement in this process, OEH ran seven community information sessions, hosted an online public information session and invited written submissions.

The government also invited community feedback on the draft Saving Our Species Iconic Koala Project, which sets out a framework for on-ground koala conservation actions for 2016–21. Public submissions closed on the 3 March 2017.

On 15 August 2017, the Chief Executive of the Office of Environment and Heritage approved the SoS Iconic Koala Project action toolbox as an amendment to the NSW Threatened Species Priorities Action Statement (PAS). Find out about the iconic species project.

NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer's report

Read the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer's Report of the Independent Review into the Decline of Koala Populations in Key Areas of NSW and supporting papers.

Submissions on the koala strategy

The deadline for submissions closed on 3 March 2017. Members of the community and stakeholder groups were invited to tell us what action, or research, they think needs to be undertaken to stabilise and then start to increase koala numbers in NSW. Input was taken through an online submission form, by email and by post.

Online public information session

In addition to the regional community information sessions, an online information session was held on Thursday 2 February. It includes information about the Koala Strategy development process, Saving our Species Iconic Koala Project and the review of the State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) 44 - koala habitat protection, and how to provide input into all three.

Watch the online information session

Community information sessions

Community information sessions were held to answer questions about the Koala Strategy development process and the Saving Our Species Iconic Koala Project at the following locations:

  • Lismore – Tuesday 7 February, 4:30pm at the Gordon Pavilion Function Centre
  • Coffs Harbour – Wednesday 8 February, 4:30pm at the Coffs Harbour Community Village Cavanbah Centre
  • Port Macquarie – Thursday 9 February, 4:30pm at the Port Macquarie Historic Courthouse
  • Port Stephens – Monday 13 February, 4:30pm at the Shoal Bay Holiday Park Conference Centre
  • Bega – Tuesday 14 February, 4:30pm at the Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre
  • Gunnedah – Thursday 16 February, 4:30pm at the Gunnedah Cultural Precinct
  • Campbelltown – Monday 20 February, 4:30pm at the Greg Percival Community Centre

If you have any questions about the public engagement activities you can email

Find out more

Factsheets on the Koala Strategy

Page last updated: 07 September 2017