A KOALA activist has told Redland City Council that the authority should change its logo from that of a koala to something more appropriate, given the loss of koala trees in the region.
The stinging rebuke from Australian Koala Foundation chief executive Deborah Tabart follows the clearing of a small number of koala food trees from a development and the footpath on Shore Street East at the Toondah end of Cleveland.
Ms Tabart said the council logo should be something more in line with its vision and mission.
She said she had received many calls about the Shore Street trees and had sought a meeting with mayor Karen Williams and Bowman MP Andrew Laming.
Mr Laming needed to be made aware of laws like the EPBC Act under which the koala was listed in 2012.
“As a result of that listing, the minister for the environment should have created a recovery plan due to be finalised by December 2014,” she said. “...Had this recovery plan been in place and had it been prescriptive, these trees could not have been cut down.”
Cr Williams hit back, saying that some people thought that just because the Redlands logo was a koala, the authority could ignore state laws.
“While the loss of any vegetation in our city is regrettable the fact is state government mapping identified the site as the lowest priority for koala protection, so council was unable to prevent the trees from being removed,” she said.
“Council is committed to protecting our city’s environmental character by balancing the need for more accommodation to house our growing community with protecting the vegetation that is home to our wildlife and we work hard to ensure every project delivers the best balance for the community, including working with developers to retain as much vegetation as possible within the frameworks of state planning legislation.”
“...This council has invested millions in helping to protect local koalas, including investing in an innovative state of the art chlamydia trial, acquiring approximately 10,000 hectares of conservation land and planting 38,000 koala food trees over the last five years.”
Cr Williams said was keen to meet Ms Tabart. “I would also be interested in hearing why the Australian Koala Foundation did not make a submission to this development application,” she said.
Mr Laming said he also would meet with Ms Tabart but did not say whether he thought a recovery plan should be prepared.
An Environment Department spokesperson said a recovery plan was being written although its timeframe had been extended until May but did not say why.
“The listing of the koala as a threatened species … ensures that any proposed action likely to have a significant impact on the listed koala must be referred to the department to determine whether approval is required under national environmental law,” he said.
Ms Tabart said it appeared federal laws were being ignored which was why her organisation was campaigning for a federal koala protection act.