Fresh from the sting of revelations in the past week that the government had chosen to re-route money to protect koalas, diverting it instead to a Dreamworld rollercoaster to help the theme park’s Covid recovery, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the land acquisition was “fantastic news” for the endangered wildlife.
The newly purchased 400-hectare Greenridge site at Pimpama pumps up the ballooning amount of high value conservation area at the Gold Coast’s northern end, sitting alongside the existing Pimpama River Conservation Area.
Palaszczuk said about 98 koalas had already been identified at the Greenridge site.
“As the State Government, we have purchased that property for $24 million to be a dedicated conservation area,” Palaszczuk said.
“We know the Gold Coast is a growing city and we also know that there are land developments happening around Pimpama and Coomera and this means our furry friends are going to be protected for ever more.”
Palaszczuk said the government was in the process of purchasing a total of 900 hectares of koala habitat in the south-east.
The 400 hectares at Pimpama will be joined by “another big parcel of land” near Beaudesert. “As quickly as we are identifying it we are actually purchasing it,” she said.
The purchase of the Greenridge property also scuttles some of the environmental roadblocks to the progress of the Coomera Connector, known as the second M1.
Legal action had slowed the start of the second M1 from Coomera to Nerang, where construction on the 16 kilometre-section had been slated to start from mid-2022.
Palaszczuk said the funding for koala protection zones added to the State’s budget commitments of $262.5 million to expand the state’s network of protected environmental areas and almost $40 million for the protection of threatened species, including the koala.
However, she said the almost $3 million handed to Dreamworld, that was initially tagged for a state-of-the-art facility to protect endangered koalas only to be used to build the theme park’s new Steel Taipan attraction, would not be recovered.
“I’m hoping that Dreamworld will now do the right thing and they will invest their own money into it,” she said.
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