Koala SEPP updates
The Koala SEPP has been updated and Guidelines finalised in an effort to bring more balance to the protection of koalas and rights of landowners. Advocacy from UDIA has helped shape the new guidelines with improved industry outcomes.
The key features of the new framework include:
- Clearing vegetation for Asset Protection Zones required to rebuild bushfire damaged or destroyed homes are exempt development under the Koala SEPP.
- The Koala Development Application Map (pink map) has been removed and replaced with a requirement for on ground surveys for development applications.
- The Site Investigation Area for Koala Plans of Management Map (blue map) has been updated further. This map is only relevant to councils preparing Koala Plans of Management and will be made available to the community on request or if a council decides to develop a plan.
- Clarifying the Koala SEPP does not apply to land which has been bio certified under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.
- An update to the definition of core koala habitat to require land to contain highly suitable koala habitat as well as koala presence or koala records.
- Updated reference to tree species from koala feed trees to koala use trees.
- Increasing the minimum exhibition period for a draft Koala Plan of Management from 28 to 90 days (with an additional 60-day ‘stop the clock’ mechanism available under the Guideline for objecting landholders.)
- Outlining the dispute resolution process under the Guideline for landholders who wish to object to proposed core koala habitat designation under a draft Koala Plan of Management.
- Updates to the development application process under the Guideline to ensure all low or no impact development can proceed without requiring surveys or reports from landholders.
- Clarifying that only BioNet records of koala presence with a better than 1,000 metre accuracy level are to be used when identifying core koala habitat.
For more information including responses to Frequently Asked Questions, please visit www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Policy-and-Legislation/Environment-and-Heritage/Koala-Habitat-Protection-SEPP.