NSW Koala Strategy inter-agency committee

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment is coordinating implementation of the strategy through an inter-agency committee of senior officers from several NSW Government agencies.

Members

  • Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (chair)
  • Department of Premier and Cabinet
  • Environment Protection Agency
  • Roads and Maritime Services
  • Office of Local Government
  • Rural Fire Service
  • Local Land Services
  • Department of Industry (Lands and Water)
  • Department of Primary Industries (Forestry).

The inter-agency committee will:

  • advise on the development of the local actions for koala populations
  • report to the Minister for the Environment each year on progress in implementing the 3-year statewide action plan and local actions.

Summaries of inter-agency committee meetings

The seventh meeting of the NSW Koala Strategy inter-agency committee was held on 21 May 2020. This was the committee's second meeting for 2020.

Key topics discussed

  • Bushfires: the committee was briefed on the progress of the bushfire recovery actions set out in the Wildlife and Conservation Bushfire Recovery: Immediate Response January 2020. The committee noted that a full assessment of the impacts of the bushfires on koalas and other wildlife is being undertaken.
  • Annual report: the committee provided feedback on the draft NSW Koala Strategy 2019–20 Annual Report.
  • Training vets and vet nurses in native wildlife care: Taronga Conservation Society Australia provided an update on enrolments for the first offering of the professional development training for vets and vet nurses in wildlife care, commencing 1 June.
  • Wingecarribee fire risk modelling pilot project: the committee was briefed on the findings of the first phase of the project. The committee noted that this work can be used to inform fire risk modelling in other areas of New South Wales.
  • Local community actions: the committee was updated on the delivery of 2019–20 local actions including local actions with Aboriginal partners.

The next inter-agency committee meeting is scheduled for 26 August 2020.

The sixth meeting of the NSW Koala Strategy inter-agency committee was held on 27 February 2020.

Key topics discussed

This was the committee's first meeting for 2020.

Updates were provided on the following specific actions:

  • Bushfires: the committee was briefed about the impacts of the 2019–20 fire season on koalas and koala habitat. They discussed actions being taken by member agencies to support koala recovery, including actions set out in the Wildlife and Conservation Bushfire Recovery: Immediate Response January 2020. The committee noted that a meeting with the NSW Koala Strategy Independent Expert Advisory Panel with experts and other stakeholders was held on 3 February 2020 to inform the next steps for koala recovery.
  • Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan: the committee was provided with an overview of the plan and how it can help the protection of the Southern Sydney koala population.
  • Annual report: the committee discussed planning for the NSW Koala Strategy second annual report, including reviewing a draft template.
  • North Coast Aboriginal ranger workshops: the committee was updated on a series of workshops that are being held as part of the NSW Koala Strategy action to learn from Aboriginal communities on protecting koala habitat. The action kicked off with a visit to Port Macquarie Koala Hospital on 13 February 2020.
  • Local community actions: the committee was updated on the delivery of 2019–20 local actions. This included plans for 6 new koala habitat restoration projects, such as planting 50,000 koala feed tree seedlings in the Northern Rivers and Far South Coast regions.

The next meeting of the NSW Koala Strategy inter-agency committee is scheduled for May 2020.

The fifth meeting of the NSW Koala Strategy inter-agency committee was held on 19 November 2019.

Key topics discussed

This was the committee's final meeting for 2019.

Updates were provided on the following specific actions:

  • Bushfires: the committee discussed the current bushfires and the impact on koalas and koala habitat. The committee was briefed on immediate responses to support wildlife rehabilitation.
  • Koala monitoring framework: the committee discussed the framework for monitoring koala population trends in New South Wales currently in development and options to deliver the monitoring on a statewide, cross tenure basis.
  • Evaluation of the NSW Koala Strategy: the committee noted the completion of a monitoring, evaluation, reporting and implementation (MERI) framework for the NSW Koala Strategy.
  • Fix priority koala road kill hotspots across NSW: the committee noted that the installation of koala fencing along Picton Road is now complete and was provided with an update on work being done to address vehicle strike hotspots in New South Wales.
  • Local community actions: the committee was updated on the delivery of local actions across New South Wales.
  • Forward planning: the committee discussed key dates for continuing the delivery of NSW Koala Strategy in 2020.

The next meeting of the NSW Koala Strategy inter-agency committee is scheduled for February 2020.

The fourth meeting of the NSW Koala Strategy inter-agency committee was held on 30 August 2019.

Key topics discussed

This was the committee's first meeting following the publication of the first NSW Koala Strategy annual report on 23 August 2019.

Updates were provided on the following specific actions:

  • Local community actions: the committee discussed the delivery of local actions across the State.
  • Evaluation of the NSW Koala Strategy: the committee was updated on the development of a monitoring, evaluation, reporting and implementation (MERI) framework for the NSW Koala Strategy.
  • Fix priority koala road kill hotspots across NSW: the committee noted progress on the installation of koala fencing along Picton Road, the first priority hotspot to be addressed under the NSW Koala Strategy, and also noted other work being done to identify vehicle strike hotspots in New South Wales.
  • Koala Habitat Information Base: the committee was provided with an overview of the final statewide version of the Koala Habitat Information Base.

The next meeting of the NSW Koala Strategy inter-agency committee is scheduled for November 2019.

The third meeting of the NSW Koala Strategy inter-agency committee was held on 8 May 2019.

Key topics discussed

The committee reviewed the draft annual report on implementation of the NSW Koala Strategy.

Updates were provided on the following specific actions:

  • Local community action workshops: the committee was updated on the delivery of local actions across the State.
  • Statewide koala monitoring program: the committee discussed the statewide cross-tenure koala monitoring program in development.
  • Koala habitat information base: a presentation was given on the development of the statewide koala habitat information base, which is nearing completion.
  • Fire management to protect koalas: the committee discussed the strategy's actions to protect koalas and koala habitat through improved fire management approaches.

The next meeting of the NSW Koala Strategy inter-agency committee is scheduled for August 2019.

The second meeting of the NSW Koala Strategy inter-agency committee was held on 7 February 2019. The committee approved their Terms of Reference.

Key topics discussed

Implementation update: The committee was updated on the status of each action under the NSW Koala Strategy and discussed opportunities for collaboration.

Annual report: The committee discussed initial planning for the first annual report on the implementation of the NSW Koala Strategy to the Minister for the Environment, including reviewing a draft template for the report.

Updates were provided on the following specific actions:

  • Local action community workshops: The committee noted 13 workshops have been held across New South Wales to identify local priorities for koala conservation action to be delivered in partnership with local communities. The committee provided advice on initial draft priority actions that could be funded this financial year.
  • Research on koala responses to native forest regeneration harvesting: The Natural Resources Commission (NRC) briefed the committee on their independent research project being delivered under the NSW Koala Strategy. The project will deliver research to improve understanding of how koalas are responding to regeneration harvesting on the North Coast of New South Wales. The NRC provided an overview of the research projects that have been selected for funding.
  • Training vets in native wildlife care: Taronga Conservation Society Australia provided an overview of the project they are progressing to develop and deliver professional development training for veterinarians and veterinary nurses in native wildlife care. This project is being progressed under the NSW Koala Strategy. An outline of the proposed structure of the training was discussed, as well as the approach for developing and delivering the training. The committee noted the training will include a specific module on the care of sick and injured koalas.

The next meeting of the NSW Koala Strategy inter-agency committee is scheduled for May 2019.

The first meeting of the NSW Koala Strategy inter-agency committee was held on 7 November 2018.

Key topics discussed

As this was the first meeting, the committee discussed its role and administrative arrangements. A key role of the committee is to report to the Minister for the Environment each year on progress in implementing the strategy.

The committee discussed the following key elements of the NSW Koala Strategy:

  • Statewide koala monitoring program: Agencies agreed to work together to identify monitoring sites.
  • Local community action workshops: The committee noted the information on possible priorities for local action and partnerships for delivery coming from the local community action workshops being delivered across the State.
  • Koala community website and app: The committee considered a draft of the community website, and noted progress developing the koala sighting app, for release in early 2019.
  • Koala habitat information base: The committee was provided an overview of the pilot version of the koala habitat information base.

The NSW Koala Strategy inter-agency committee will meet next in February 2019.