24/12/21: Koala concerns regarding plantation clearfell Gordon, Victoria

Koala safety concerns over plans to clear-fell a Gordon blue gum plantation

Dec 24 2021


Plans to remove a 16-hectare plantation next to the Western Freeway near Gordon has sparked opposition from locals worried about the safety of koalas spotted within the blue gum trees.

Owner Midway Pty Ltd plans to clear-fell the plantation in early 2022, retaining a strip of trees along the southern boundary to accommodate any wildlife living there.

Stephen Derrick has met with landowner Central Highlands Water and believes that koalas may die in their attempt to find new habitat in bushland to the south.

“They’re bounded on the southern side by the Western Freeway, a 110kph divided road, and on the eastern boundary by Cartons Road which is a 100kph zone,” he said.

‘Significant koala populations in area’

Midway conducted a drone survey of wildlife as part of its Koala Management Plan and identified a handful of koalas, however Mr Derrick said more surveys and monitoring is needed to track wildlife population and their movements.

“We’ve tried to encourage Central Highlands Water to undertake more systematic monitoring of the koalas and other wildlife in the area to establish just how many there are and what their movements are,” he said.

Mr Derrick estimates there are hundreds of koalas livingĀ among bushland surrounding Gordon, across a combination of privately owned bushland and reserves.

“From what we can see around Gordon and the forested area on the northern boundary of Gordon [between] the Western Freeway, there would certainly be hundreds,” he said.

In a statement, Central Highlands Water said they had met with concerned community groups and made changes to accommodate koalas beyond the requirements of their Koala Management Plan.

“These additional commitments include a long-term revegetation project on the property for the enhancement of the biodiversity of the area, while managing the treatment and recycling of reclaimed water and the retention of a buffer strip on the edge of the plantation,” the landowner said.