$3.2m funding won't save koalas, says Coast conservationist
A $3.2 MILLION State Government investment into koala research will do little to save the species, a Sunshine Coast koala conservationist has claimed.
The government announced the funding yesterday to support research into disease, death, injury and illness of the state's koala population.
But Sunshine Coast Environment Council liaison officer Narelle McCarthy said extra funding should have been allocated to protect and preserve koala habitats.
"The loss of habitat for our koala population is one of the biggest issues we are facing and the reason why these animals' lives are listed as vulnerable," Ms McCarthy said.
"Their health is affected because they are not able to live in a safe and healthy habitat that has the range of trees needed for them to live properly.
"This money will go a long way into helping with their care and treatment, but we need to go back to the start and stop them getting sick to start with."
Environment Minister Andrew Powell said while habitat loss was one contributing factor, the issues could not be looked at in isolation.
"These koala research grants are part of the Newman Government's $26.5 million investing to protect our koalas initiative," Mr Powell said.
"We have had great interest in our habitat acquisition program, allocating almost $280,000 in the first round of our rescue and rehabilitation grants.
"By delivering this much-needed funding in the area of koala disease research, we can take a holistic approach to protecting Queensland's koalas.
"There was a high level of interest in these grants and the applications were of a very high standard.
"The research will provide tangible outcomes to better inform koala management in the field."
The funding has been divided between eight university studies across Queensland.