Hera the 11-year-old female koala who has blindness from chlamydia is watched by Lismore City Council ecologist Dr Damian Licari and Lorraine Vass, president of Friends of the Koala.
Hera the 11-year-old female koala who has blindness from chlamydia is watched by Lismore City Council ecologist Dr Damian Licari and Lorraine Vass, president of Friends of the Koala. Jacklyn Wagner

Lorraine jumps for joy as koalas get protection plan

KOALA activist Lorraine Vass literally jumped for joy as the State Government signed off on Lismore City Council's Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management yesterday.

Ms Vass, president of Friends of the Koala, said the plan will protect koalas and "enable them to flourish into the future".

There are two aspects to the plan - definitive development assessment criteria for lands with koalas on them and a set of koala management activities, including habitat restoration and dog control.

"The regulatory provisions will make things far more transparent in terms of protecting koalas and development in areas of the south-east," Ms Vass said.

"We are doing a whole lot of management activities already but it's not focused.

"This plan will bring everything together and allow us to measure what we're doing."

Lismore City Council ecologist Dr Damian Licari said the plan's development criteria will give clarity to State legislation which requires koala habitats be taken into account during developments but does not specify how.

Council wanted all lands included in the plan but the government required those less than 1ha be excluded.

Making the plan has been a long process, with many landowners opposing specific koala protection measures.

The idea for a koala plan came in 1995 when Australian Koala Foundation ecologists Steve Phillips and John Callaghan did a study at East Lismore and Goonellabah and found three preferred species.

Lismore City Council approved the management plan in May last year and sent it to the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure, where it remained for eight months.

After council makes some minor amendments, it will advertise for expressions of interest for members of a koala advisory group, which will oversee implementation of the plan's management activities.


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