$2m to save Tweed's koalas
THE Federal Government has dedicated more than $2 million to save koala populations in the Tweed and Byron shires.
The grant will fun a five-year project designed to regenerate existing koala habitat and create linkages between isolated inland and coastal populations.
Tweed mayor Barry Longland has thanked Richmond MP Justine Elliot for her role in securing the funding.
"This is a wonderful project that will have a substantial impact and Justine's support has been crucial," Cr Longland said.
Tweed Coast Koala Advisory Group chair Cr Dot Holdom said the contribution of private landholders would be key.
"Lots of time and efforts went into the preparation of this application and the council staff who did the work deserve to be recognised," Cr Holdom said.
"This is a great project that will see many people come together with open hearts and minds to achieve something wonderful for our local koala population."
The project will employ two officers and provide Certificate III Natural Area Restoration and Management training for two local Indigenous young people.
Tweed Shire Council biodiversity program leader Mark Kingston said the funding had been given extra significance with the recent listing of koalas as a vulnerable species in Queensland, NSW and the ACT.
"It is particularly welcome as both Tweed and Byron councils are currently preparing Comprehensive Koala Plans of Management for the coastal strip," Dr Kingston said.
"The funds will provide a substantial boost for the implementation of many of the measures necessary to help secure the future of the koala on the Tweed and Byron coasts."
There will be 30,000 koala food trees planted, along with 25,000 riparian and rainforest trees and 8000 mixed shrubs and understorey plants, to create 100 hectares of new wildlife corridors, along with the regeneration of 225ha of existing koala habitat.