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Koala legislation and policy

South East Queensland Koala Conservation State Planning Regulatory Provisions (SPRP)

The SPRP (PDF) is a state planning instrument that regulates new development in South East Queensland identified as having important koala habitat values, such as the Koala Coast and Pine Rivers areas. The SPRP prohibits the clearing of bushland habitat in these priority koala habitat areas, as well as areas outside the urban footprint to ensure koala habitat remains protected for the long-term.

The SPRP provides requirements for assessable development activities including requirements to minimise the impact on koala habitat. Depending on the development type and koala habitat type, requirements may include:

  • avoiding, minimising or providing an offset for the clearing of non-juvenile koala habitat trees
  • site design that provides safe koala movement opportunities appropriate to the development type and habitat connectivity values of the site
  • construction phases that do not increase the risk of death or injury to koalas
  • clearing of native vegetation, undertaken as sequential clearing
  • clearing of koala habitat trees, undertaken in the presence of a koala spotter.

SPRP Koala Habitat Values Maps are available.


Sources of information and advice

  • Local government is responsible for implementing the provisions of the SPRP in the assessment of development applications and should be contacted for specific advice on applying the SPRP to development proposals.
  • The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection provides advice on reflecting the SPRP in a planning instrument in relation to its jurisdictional interests in koala conservation.
    Email: or phone (07) 3330 5959.
  • The Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning provides technical advice on reflecting the regulatory provisions in a planning instrument and the operation of the Integrated Development Assessment System.
    Email:  or phone (07) 3452 7009.

Specific requirements for koala related offsets under the Queensland Environmental Offset Policy

The Queensland Environmental Offset Policy (PDF, 1.0M) (offset policy), is used to ensure that environmental offsets for unavoidable impacts on high quality koala habitat, regulated by the SPRP, contributes to the rehabilitation, establishment and protection of koala habitat.

An environmental offset is an activity taken to compensate unavoidable negative environmental impacts. An offset differs from mitigation by addressing any remaining impact after all attempts to first avoid and then reduce the impact have been exhausted.

Where an offset condition has been applied, the offset is to be delivered in accordance with the Queensland Environmental Offsets Framework. This framework clarifies how environmental offsets should be delivered.

There are a number of specific requirements for koala related offsets, including the requirement that the rehabilitation, establishment and protection of koala habitat is the only activity that can be used to offset koala habitat.    

The offset policy replaces Offsets for Net Gain in Koala Habitat in South East Queensland Policy (2010).

The offset policy outlines requirements for providing an offset for impacts on koala habitat arising from:

If you require an invoice to pay a financial contribution for koala offsets, complete the koala offset invoice request form (Word, 106K)* and e-mail to .

State Government Supported Community Infrastructure Koala Conservation Policy (community infrastructure policy)

The State Government Supported Community Infrastructure Koala Conservation Policy (PDF, 219K) outlines how state public sector entities will consider koala conservation outcomes in the planning and delivery of government supported community infrastructure, like roads or school buildings.

The community infrastructure policy applies to the planning and delivery of all Queensland Government supported community infrastructure activities within the South East Queensland Koala Protection Area. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that State activities not regulated through local government planning schemes or the SPRP meet the same requirements, ensuring equitable treatment of State and non-State community infrastructure projects.

Infrastructure project compliance

It is a requirement under this policy that state infrastructure providers maintain and provide records of self-assessments against this policy for auditing purposes. State infrastructure providers should maintain details of their project and clearing requirements as EHP will monitor selected projects to assess compliance with provisions of this policy.

Nature Conservation (Koala) Conservation Plan 2006 and Management Program 2006-2016 (koala plan)

The effect of the koala plan in relation to planning and development assessment has been replaced by the SPRP. Other elements of the koala plan, such as policies relating to sequential clearing, use of a koala spotter, the rehabilitation of injured or sick koalas and translocation remain in place. As a result, the mapping of koala habitat areas under the koala plan (conservation, sustainability and urban koala) has been superseded by the SPRP koala habitat value maps. Sequential clearing requirements of koala habitat trees under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 is in place in koala districts A and B, and koala spotters are required in koala habitat areas in district A.

The koala plan, which came into effect on 2 October 2006, addresses the key threats facing koalas and sets out strategies to stop the decline of koala numbers and set in train the species' recovery. Issues addressed in the plan include:

  • habitat protection and vegetation clearing
  • development
  • state government infrastructure
  • vehicle mortality
  • dog attacks
  • translocation
  • research
  • zoos
  • public education
  • rehabilitation of sick, injured and orphaned koalas.

View the koala plan district area map (PDF, 510K).


Koala-sensitive Design Guideline: A guide to koala-sensitive design measures for planning and development activities

The Koala-sensitive Design Guideline: A guide to koala-sensitive design measures for planning and development activities (the KSD guideline) (see availability) provides information for managers, land-use planners, infrastructure providers and development proponents. The guidelines determine and provide:

  • the appropriate measures to help avoid and minimise the impacts of development and land-use planning on koala movement and dispersal
  • information on what is needed to meet the requirements of the SPRP in relation to habitat connectivity and koala movement.

The guideline also provides information on what is needed to meet the requirements of the SPRP, in relation to managing risks to koalas on site, and safe koala movement opportunities.

The measures in this guideline do not replace the requirements of the SPRP, particularly in regard to habitat retention. However, they are intended to assist in determining the most suitable outcome for koalas as a result of development or land-use planning.

Measures in this guideline are based on koala-sensitive design principles that help development:

  • retain and protect koala habitat values in their natural state to allow koalas to feed, rest and move around
  • achieve permeability for koalas through the landscape to ensure the safe movement of koalas within and across a site
  • reduce threats to resident and transient koalas.

The guideline is to be used to:

  • identify the threats or risks that development has on safe koala movement
  • help identify the appropriate koala safe fencing and measures to avoid and minimise those risks
  • provide principles, techniques and examples for consideration in the planning, design and layout stages of development
  • interpret the SPRP outcomes for connectivity and koala safe movement opportunities.

Community infrastructure offsets for koala habitat

Offset site during establishment phase.

Offset site during establishment phase.

Large-scale planting project.

Large-scale planting project.

Juvenile koala habitat trees protected with guards.

Juvenile koala habitat trees protected with guards.

There are a range of measures in place to protect koala populations in South East Queensland. One of the major safeguards is requiring community infrastructure projects to offset any loss of koala habitat—required under the State Government Supported Community Infrastructure Koala Conservation Policy (CI Policy).

Aim of the CI Policy

The CI Policy, which has been in place since 2010, ensures State Government agencies consider koala conservation outcomes in the planning and delivery of government infrastructure such as roads and school buildings.

State agencies are required to provide a net gain in bushland koala habitat in South East Queensland for unavoidable impacts on higher quality koala habitat.

Offset Options

State agencies have three options to deliver offsets:

  • Financial settlement
  • Land-based offset (direct replanting of koala habitat trees)
  • Combination of a financial settlement and land-based offset.

Offset payments enabled properties purchased by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) to be rehabilitated and allowed private landholders to rehabilitate their own properties.

EHP has purchased land of the highest priority for koala conservation in South East Queensland. CI offset payments are used to rehabilitate large areas of koala habitat on these properties. Once koala habitat is well established, properties are transferred to a suitable land manager to allow for long-term protection of the habitat.

EHP partnered with landholders to establish koala nature refuges on private land in South East Queensland. EHP has funded and manages the habitat restoration projects on these nature refuges.

After completion the land owner continues to manage the property and the restored area to maximise koala habitat outcomes.


  • Koala-sensitive Design Guideline: A guide to koala-sensitive design measures for planning and development activities (see availability)

Available from the library catalogue

The documents referred to on this page are available from the department’s online library catalogue.

* Requires Microsoft Office files viewer

Last updated
3 July 2017