The Koala Koalition EcoNetwork Port Stephens (KKEPS) welcomes the opportunity to comment on the application to build a two storey dwelling and swimming pool on land designated as C4 Environmental Living that includes core koala habitat and preferred koala feed trees.
The site is identified (under B2 natural Resources) as containing environmental significance (biodiversity, wetland and threatened species).
KKEPS acknowledges the plan to incorporate methods and practices to limit harm to native fauna as detailed in the submission documents, but has concerns regarding a number of key issues.
Limited fauna surveys and the impact of not recognising koala activity
The submission documents looking at the biodiversity of the Study Area/ Project Site/ IBVMP Area present a confusing picture when it comes to threatened fauna living in or using the project site.
- “No threatened or migratory species listed under the EPBC Act were detected during the assessment.”
- “No koalas were observed during the fauna survey and there was no evidence (scats or scratches) of current Koala habitation recorded from the study area.”
Yet the documents state that:
- “Koalas have been recorded onsite and the property has been utilised as release point for
Koala based upon BioNet records”.
- “Fifty-one threatened fauna species were identified as a result of the database searches…
as occurring or having potential to occur within the locality of the study area… No threatened
fauna species were identified within the subject property at the time of the surveys”.
Not finding the species that were expected to be on site is perhaps not surprising given the surveys were relatively limited. Threatened Species Surveys for fauna were undertaken over four days on 22 May, 2-4 June 2021 to assess and map the presence of ‘candidate species credit species’. Spotlighting for koalas, sugar gliders and other nocturnal species was completed between 7.30-9.30pm on two consecutive nights: 13-14 April 2021.