UNSUSTAINABLE: Sunshine Coast Environment Council spokewoman Narelle McCarthy says there is an over-reliance on roads and cars.
UNSUSTAINABLE: Sunshine Coast Environment Council spokewoman Narelle McCarthy says there is an over-reliance on roads and cars. Darryn Smith

Road upgrade threat to last koala habitat

SUNSHINE Coast conservationists fear the region's koala population will be wiped out in the near future.

Several environmental groups have taken up the fight against the upgrade of a section of the Bruce Highway because they say it will wipe out Caloundra's last remaining koala habitat.

The Federal Government has assigned $400 million for the upgrade of the Caloundra Road to Sunshine Coast Motorway section of the highway.

However, the Sunshine Coast Environment Council and Sunshine Coast Koala Rescue have implored the government to revise the road plan.

They said that under the design released last month by the state Department of Transport and Main Roads, 25ha of koala habitat would be wiped out and another 50ha severely impacted .

Sunshine Coast Koala Rescue's Ray Chambers said the last koala in urban Caloundra was wiped out earlier this year.

He said two parcels of land on either side of Steve Irwin Way were the only remaining koala habitats in Caloundra.

They would be devastated should the upgrade go ahead under current plans.

"I don't think that day is far away," Mr Chambers said when asked if the iconic marsupials could soon be extinct on the Coast.

"People say, 'well there are koalas out in the bush'.

"But out in the rural sector, about 94 or 95% of (koala habitats) have gone to agricultural use or been cleared for cattle.

"It's all smashed out there.

"It doesn't matter where you go. Koalas only live on the little trees that are left on the edge of the road. The only way you're going to be able to see a koala is in a zoo."

Sunshine Coast Environment Council spokeswoman Narelle McCarthy said her group was working with engineers to come up with an alternative plan.

She acknowledged there were safety considerations relating to the highway.

She said, however, the highway upgrade was a part of a greater debate about the region's reliance on cars and the need for better public transport.

"When we're looking into the future - another five, 10, 15 years - at road infrastructure at the size that's currently proposed, the landscape we're going to lose through those future requirements, we're sort of planning retrospectively, she said.

"We're not putting ourselves in a position where we're going to have a sustainable community.

"We're increasing that over-reliance on road infrastructure and cars."

Should the upgrade plan be revised to save the Koala habitat?

This poll ended on 19 May 2014.

Current Results

No, humans first

4%

No, just relocate the Koalas

13%

Yes, but only so long as it doesn't break the bank

5%

Yes, we need to protect what Koalas we have left

76%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.



BREAKING: Two hurt in Highway truck crash near Gympie

BREAKING: Two hurt in Highway truck crash near Gympie

Two people required treatment on scene.

Man stung for drugs twice in two days

Man stung for drugs twice in two days

He said he turned to drugs because he's going through a hard time.

Local Partners