The Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management provides a strategic and consistent approach to koala management and planning in the eastern portion of Kempsey Shire at a landscape scale. For the eastern portion of Kempsey Shire, the plan seeks to manage the threats to koalas and conserve their natural habitat by incorporating koala conservation and management into local government planning processes.
Why did Council prepare a Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management?
Kempsey Shire provides important koala habitat. The shire has been identified in the NSW State Recovery Plan for the koala (approved by the NSW Minister for Climate Change and the Environment) as a priority area for the development of a Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management under the provisions of State Environmental Planning Policy 44 - Koala Habitat Protection (SEPP 44). Development of the plan was also listed as a high-priority action of the Kempsey Shire Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) Strategy (June 2007).
A comprehensive plan, focusing on landscape scale management, was favoured by both the NSW Department of Planning and the Department of Environment and Climate Change, as opposed to individual plans prepared on an ad hoc basis, as it provides a greater degree of reliability in koala habitat assessment. It also removes some of the burden on individual developers to undertake costly and detailed koala studies and prepare individual koala plans of management.
What areas of land does the plan relate to?
The plan area is the eastern portion of the Kempsey Shire local government area, covering 1,109km² (110,914ha) and equating to approximately one-third of the total land area under Kempsey Shire Council governance. While funding limited the extent of the study area to the eastern portion of the local government area, this is also the area under the most pressure from development. The area includes much of the Macleay River floodplain, extending along the coastline from south of Point Plomer to Grassy Head—Yarrahapinni in the north and to Dondingalong, Kempsey, Collombatti and all the rural residential area to the west of Kempsey. The boundary in the latter area is one that was arbitrarily defined to capture the areas facing pressure from development, but using natural boundaries such as the Macleay River, roads and existing land use zonings.
When did the plan take effect?
Council has applied the plan from 24 May 2011. Anyone submitting a development application which requires removal of native vegetation as a part of the development (and if the development is situated in the mapped area) will need to consult the plan to determine which of its provisions apply to the proposed development.