Green light for new koala haven

A significant land transfer has signaled the start of work on a new multi-million-dollar koala reserve that will strengthen species numbers and deliver positive environmental benefits for Western Sydney.

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), south west Sydney

Minister for Planning and Minister for Homes Anthony Roberts said 54 hectares of land at Lysaght Road has been transferred from the Office of Strategic Lands to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service for the new Georges River Koala Reserve.

"The Macarthur region is home to a growing koala population in New South Wales, and this transfer builds on that, helping boost their habitat while also facilitating an important movement corridor which extends through to the Southern Highlands," Mr Roberts said.

The Reserve is part of the wider Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan – a once-in-a-generation commitment to protect south-west Sydney's rich environmental assets and koala population, while providing certainty for investment in a growing part of Sydney.

"Once completed, the reserve will give local communities access to nature-based recreation. It will also offer potential opportunities for educational activities and koala-based tourism," Mr Roberts said.

Minister for Environment James Griffin said the transfer of land to the national park estate is good news for koalas and other species that co-exist with them.

"This 54 hectares of land is the first instalment in creating the Georges River Koala Reserve, which will help protect a critical koala colony by providng corridors for koalas and other animals to move between Long Point and Appin," Mr Griffin said.

"Once fully established, the Reserve will protect up to 1,830 hectares of koala habitat and wildlife corridors in perpetuity."

For the first 5 years of the Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan's implementation, the NSW Government is committing at least $114 million for activities including restoring koala habitat in the Georges River Koala Reserve, installing exclusion fencing to keep koalas safe, and constructing two crossings to allow fauna movement across Appin Road.