Koalas and Blue-gums

Koalas are protected under the Wildlife Act 1975 (Wildlife Act) and it is illegal to kill, injure or disturb them without authorisation. The welfare of all animals, including native wildlife, is also protected under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1988.

Blue-gums (Eucalyptus globulus) are a preferred food tree of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus). There are approximately 130,000 hectares of commercial Blue-gum plantations within the distribution range of the koala in the Green Triangle region in south west Victoria.

Blue-gum plantations provide a highly suitable habitat and significant numbers of koalas live in the plantations in the Green Triangle region. Harvesting and other operations conducted in these plantations pose welfare risks for koalas. Koalas may be injured, killed or displaced as a result of plantation management operations.

DELWP has been working with the Blue-gum plantation industry to improve their harvesting procedures to minimise the impact to koalas.

Representatives from the Blue-gum industry, DELWP, Traditional Owners and wildlife rehabilitators developed voluntary industry guidelines which outlined key processes to be followed by Blue-gum plantation companies prior to, during and after harvesting to minimise impacts to koalas.

While significant changes to practices have been made as a result of the voluntary guidelines, there is now a need to ensure that plantations are managed in a way that protects the welfare of koalas in the short and longer term, while providing certainty and sustainability to the Blue-gum plantation industry.

The minimum requirements were developed by DELWP based on the voluntary industry guidelines and recommendations from an independent expert panel.

The expert panel included a koala biology and behaviour expert, an animal welfare expert and a plantation forestry expert. The panel provided recommendations on best practice for protecting koalas during plantation management operations.

New Regulatory Approach

To minimise the risks to koalas from plantation management operations, DELWP has a new regulatory approach which sets mandatory minimum requirements for koala management during operations in Blue-gum plantations in the Green Triangle region of Victoria. 

Plantation owners and management companies in the Green Triangle region that wish to undertake operations that may impact koalas must now apply for authorisation to disturb koalas under Section 28A(1A) of the Wildlife Act. They also need to develop a Koala Management Plan that meets the minimum requirements which have been set by DELWP to minimise risks to koalas during operations.

Application process

Deadline for applications: 7 April 2017

To apply for authorisation, plantation owners and managers must submit the following:

  1. completed application form
  2. Koala Management Plan that meets the minimum requirements set by DELWP
  3. copies of training materials that will be used to train personnel in koala management
  4. results of koala population assessments.

For further information on who should apply for authorisation and the application process, including instructions for completing the Koala Management Plan, a list of topics the training must cover and the methodology for conducting the koala population assessments, see the ‘How to apply’ fact sheet.

How to apply for an authorisation to disturb koalas during plantation management operations (PDF, 1.5 MB)

Download the application form, Koala Management Plan template and population assessment templates.

Application form body corporate (PDF, 445.7 KB)
Application form body corporate (DOCX, 100.5 KB)

Application form natural person (PDF, 391.3 KB)
Application form natural person (DOCX, 94.8 KB)

Koala Management Plan template (DOCX, 201.3 KB)

Koala population assessment reporting template (Excel, 28.1 KB)

Koala population assessment field record sheet (DOCX, 33.1 KB)

Deadline for applications: 7 April 2017

Owners and managers of Blue-gum plantations who require authorisation have a three month application period, to 7 April 2017, in which to apply for an authorisation.  

Operations do not have to cease during this time, however, they must be conducted in such a way as to minimise impacts to koalas.

The Green Triangle region of Victoria

Who should apply for authorisation to disturb koalas?

The new authorisation approach applies to owners and managers of all Blue-gum plantations in the 'Koala Zone' of the Green Triangle region of Victoria (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Map of the Koala Zone in the Green Triangle region of Victoria.

Koala Zone in the Green Triangle map  (PDF, 770.1 KB)

The new authorisation approach also applies to owners and managers of Blue-gum plantations in the Green Triangle region outside the Koala Zone (see Figure 2), where the koala density is greater than 1 koala per hectare.

Figure 2. Map of the Green Triangle region of Victoria.

Green Triangle map (PDF, 654.3 KB)

Owners and managers of Blue-gum plantations outside the Green Triangle region do not need to apply for authorisation at this time.

Together with the Blue-gum plantation industry, DELWP is considering whether the authorisation approach should be implemented in other areas of the state.

Deadline for applications: 7 April 2017

For further information about the authorisation application process, email koalas.bsw@delwp.vic.gov.au.