NSW Koala Strategy frequently asked questions

The NSW Government is developing a whole-of-government NSW Koala Strategy.

In March 2016 the NSW Government asked the Chief Scientist & Engineer, Professor Mary O'Kane AC, to conduct an independent review into the decline of koala populations in key areas of NSW. An advisory committee supported the review, with representatives from; Office of Environment and Heritage, Environment Protection Authority, Department of Planning and Environment, Roads and Maritime Services, Department of Primary Industries , Department of Industry and koala experts from; Australian Museum, University of Sydney and University of Queensland.

Read the Chief Scientist & Engineers' full report and supporting papers.

The Chief Scientist & Engineer's report makes 11 recommendations to help stabilise and start to increase koala numbers in NSW. The main recommendation is for the NSW Government to develop a whole-of-government koala strategy for NSW based on the principles of action, ongoing monitoring and continuous learning.

Read the Chief Scientist & Engineer's 11 recommendations.

A whole-of-government NSW koala strategy will outline the actions needed to stabilise and then start to increase koala numbers. The strategy will identify who is responsible for each action, the timeframe, funding and what we need to measure to check if the actions have been successful.

The strategy will help us to increase our knowledge about koalas, including their habitat, population trends and the threats that are affecting koalas. The strategy will help us to act on this information to successfully manage and mitigate these threats. This will require us to continuously review and update our knowledge.

The strategy will also deliver information and tools to assist government, industry, the community and landholders to work together collaboratively.

Koalas are one of Australia's most iconic animals, recognisable around the world. However, koala populations are under increasing pressure. Despite a range of regulations, recovery programs, strategies and numerous community initiatives overall koala numbers in NSW are in decline.

Koalas were listed as vulnerable by the NSW government in 1992 and three koala populations have been listed as endangered. The combined koala populations of Queensland, NSW and the Australian Capital Territory were listed as vulnerable by the Commonwealth in 2012. A study in 2012 estimated that NSW had around 36,000 koalas and that koala numbers had declined by 26% over the past three koala generations (15-21 years) and will probably continue to decline at the same rate over the next three generations unless action is taken.

A whole-of-government NSW koala strategy will outline the actions needed to stabilise and then start to increase koala numbers. The strategy will identify who is responsible for each action, the timeframe, funding and what the NSW Government needs to measure to check if the actions have worked.

Community organisations, individuals and government agencies are already working hard to help koalas. The strategy will help coordinate different approaches and allow agencies and communities to work together to take action.

The strategy will also deliver information and tools that will help the private sector and the community take action and work effectively with government. The strategy will also support information gathering to ensure there is a clear and transparent reason for actions and policy reforms. This will include improved mapping, surveying and monitoring to help on ground actions and to monitor the success of the strategy well into the future. The strategy will also develop information about genetic diversity to inform future management actions.

The Chief Scientist & Engineer has made 11 recommendations on what a whole-of-government NSW koala strategy needs to address. Read the Chief Scientist & Engineer's 11 recommendations.

From 4 December 2016 to 3 March 2017 the Office of Environment and Heritage invited input from the public on what to include in a whole-of-government NSW koala strategy. 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.

The public submission period closed on 3 March 2017. The Office of Environment and Heritage is reviewing all of the submissions received and will summarise all of the information into a report. This will be presented to the Minister for the Environment and inform the development of the strategy.

The strategy is expected to be a 'living' document and will specify outcomes that will be periodically reviewed consistent with the NSW Government Program Evaluation Guidelines.

For more information about developing the strategy and resources, see Developing a NSW Koala Strategy.

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 during February 2017, hosted a virtual community information webinar and invited written submissions. The written submissions closed on 3 March 2017.

Members of the public were also invited to share local koala experiences through the Koalas in NSW social pinpoint platform. You can view the comments made on the site.


The public submission period closed on 3 March 2017.The Office of Environment and Heritage is reviewing all the submissions received and will summarise the information into a report. This will be presented to the Minister for the Environment and inform the development of the strategy.

In 2015, the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) announced a review of its State Environment Planning Policies. The review process is intended to modernise, simplify and improve the effectiveness and usability of these policies.

The review provides an opportunity to improve the conservation outcome for koalas by updating and improving the operation of SEPP 44 - Koala Habitat Protection.

DPE invited submissions on the Explanation of Intended Effect on proposed changes to the policy. This closed on 3 March 2017.

See the DPE SEPP 44 - koala habitat website. The outcome of the review will be incorporated into and become a component of the whole-of-government NSW koala strategy.

Saving our Species will form an important part of the NSW koala strategy. The Saving our Species Iconic Koala Project provides a framework for on-ground conservation of koalas in NSW, addressing those threats to the koala that can be reasonably addressed by land managers, communities and experts. The NSW koala strategy will include the Saving our Species actions as well as broader actions to address policies and practices that impact the koala's long-term viability.

Watch the online information session

An online information session was held on Thursday 2 February 2017. 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.