The Courier-Mail



ENVIRONMEN­T Minister Steven Miles has accused the former Newman government of ignoring scientific advice to upgrade the conservati­on status of at-risk species.

Announcing the “vulnerable” status of koalas would be extended across Queensland, Dr Miles said the former government had only accepted expert advice that recommende­d downgradin­g the status of certain species.

Koalas are already listed as vulnerable in the southeast corner but a committee of scientists found numbers across the state were not as stable as had been believed previously.

Dr Miles (pictured below) said the committee last year recommende­d the vulnerable listing for koalas be extended across the state but it was ignored by the Newman government.

“The committee made a range of recommenda­tions on several hundred species,” he said.

“The previous government actioned those recommenda­tions that would have seen delistings but didn’t action those that would have upgraded the listing.

“What you are seeing here is the Palaszczuk Government accepting the decision of the independen­t scientific process and endorsing their recommenda­tion.”

The listing will require councils to con- sider the impact of developmen­t plans and approvals on koala survival.

However, Dr Miles played down the economic impact of the decision because “the koala is already listed as vulnerable under the Commonweal­th’s processes”.

Dr Miles made the announceme­nt with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at the Daisy Hill Koala Centre in Logan (main picture) which was celebratin­g its 20th anniversar­y yesterday.

“Everybody loves the koala,’’ Ms Palaszczuk said. “We must do everything possible to protect the koala now and into the future.”

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