There are only few koalas (including a baby) that are surviving in the Acland district and they are regarded as at grave risk of extinction according to Oakey residents. We explain:
Koalas have always lived at Acland. The now closed Acland State School, even used the koala as a school emblem on their banner and newsletters. They live in their favourite Poplar Box trees which are dispersed right over the New Hope Stage 3 mining lease area, but are frequent visitors to other tree types found across thousands of hectares of Acland land .
New Hope Coal were sent back to the drawing board by the Queensland Government in November 2012 after the LNP’s election promise to stop the original Stage 3 project. The company were instructed to submit a new Terms of Reference for the revised project by the Queensland Coordinator General because it was a substantially altered proposal.
This is a different project to the original Stage 3.And the koala was listed as ‘vulnerable’ in May 2012 according to the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, before the New Hope Group re-applied for this modified project. This mob, who state they are a proud Australian company, are trying to use a legislative technicality to avoid having to put in place any meaningful conservation measures to protect the local Koala population. They have claimed their Environmental Impact Statement need address only issues of National significance that were listed on or before 2007.
Many koalas have been killed by trucks on the haul road to the mine, yet Acland is an area which is remarkably free of the other major threats faced by Koalas in urban areas, such as dog attack. The impending massive land clearing and increased mine traffic is now the greatest risk to the local population’s survival.
Despite their extensive advertising campaign promoting themselves as part of the local community, New Hope’s actions indicate quite the contrary. They are prepared to do only the bare minimum to contribute towards local environmental values and the long term sustainability of our region. Our group will use every resource we have to protect these few remaining Acland koalas. We will not stand by and watch one koala tree be destroyed or any more koalas put at risk for the sake of a rich city-based company profiting from coal. We are sure many other Australians will join us.