Council seeks comments on koala plan

LISMORE City Council is seeking comment on its draft Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management for south-east Lismore which is now on public exhibition.

Council's Manager of Integrated Planning, Steve Denize, said the aim of the Koala Plan is to develop a more transparent and consistent process to be used when assessing development applications that impact on an identified koala habitat area within the local government area.

"Currently the Council applies the state legislation protecting koalas on a case-by-case basis. 

"What we are working towards with the draft Koala Plan is improving that arrangement by providing the community with a document that clearly outlines an up-front regulatory framework for people lodging a development application in that area," Mr Denize said.

"There has already been quite a bit of community discussion about the document and one point that I would like to be very clear on is that the regulatory elements of the draft Koala Plan will only apply when a development application is lodged, and not otherwise, and so for example the plan will not have an impact on farmers carrying out their day-to-day farm management activities.

"The draft Koala Plan also recognises that Council has a responsibility to introduce sound practices to minimise threats to koalas and their habitat, such as developing programs to reduce dog attacks and road deaths or injuries, and so some non-regulatory recommendations for Council are also included.

"The document has been developed using a thorough community consultation process that began with a Community Consultation Workshop in February this year, and involved an expert working group, as well as a Stakeholder Reference Group that met nine times throughout the year.

"The current public exhibition period represents the next step in Council's community consultation and we encourage the community to provide feedback so that we can work towards developing a Koala Plan that best represents the views of our community."

The public exhibition period is Wednesday, December 14, 2011 through until 5.00 pm Friday, February 3, 2012.  The draft Koala Plan, along with a fact sheet, a FAQ document and other relevant documents can be viewed via Council's website www.lismore.nsw.gov.au.

Additionally, hard copies of the draft Koala Plan can be viewed at Council's CBD Office, 55 Magellan Street, Lismore or Council's Corporate Centre at 43 Oliver Avenue, Goonellabah or you can request a hard copy to be mailed out to you by contacting Council's Customer Contact Centre on 1300 87 83 87.

Submissions on the draft Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management can be made by email to council@lismore.nsw.gov.au or by post to PO BOX 23A, Lismore NSW 2480.



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