Koala Road Sign Appin Road

As the holiday season approaches, 12 NSW Environment Groups have written to NSW Roads Minister John Graham, calling on the Department of Transport to urgently address known Koala killing hot-spots, which also put motorists and wildlife rescuers at enormous risk. In the last year more than 40 koalas have been killed on Appin and Heathcote Roads, with more deaths in hotspots in Kurrajong and Port Stephens. 

“Koalas are on the move across NSW at the same time as the holiday season and will see more inexperienced drivers on peri-urban and rural roads. We are calling on the Department of Transport to lower speed limits and enforce with speed cameras in known Koala roadkill hotspots while best practice overpasses, underpasses, and appropriate fencing are installed. This is for the safety of both people and our endangered icon,” said Stephanie Carrick of the Sydney Basin Koala Network.

The groups, including IFAW, WIRES, and the Total Environment Centre say they are losing faith in the Department after its failure to prioritise the issue. “The absolute minimal interventions are only made after intense lobbying by groups on a case by case basis, and important mitigation measures, such as underpasses on Appin Road, are being delayed because the department will not commit to best practice designs. NSW residents want koalas protected, and are being let down badly,” said Jeff Angel, Executive Director of the Total Environment Centre.

Action was also taken at the recent Nature Conservation Council’s Annual General Meeting with a motion by Sutherland Shire Environment Centre passing to urgently address the issue statewide.

Along a 2km stretch of Appin Rd, 30 koalas have been killed in the last year and 8 koalas have been killed along a 2km stretch of Heathcote Rd at Sandy Point. Koalas have also been killed on Bells Line Road in the Hawkesbury, and on Port Stephens drive.

Koala road-kill is also a significant issue in northern NSW with Friends of the Koala recording 120 koalas being struck on Northern Rivers roads in the last 12 months.

A recently released Biolink report, commissioned by the Sydney Basin Koala Network (SBKN), shows that koala vehicle strikes have nearly doubled in Campbelltown, Wollondilly, and Liverpool, and quintupled in Sutherland Shire and Wingecaribee (Southern Highlands) over the last generation of koalas (6 years).

The letter to NSW Roads Minister John Graham has been signed by Sydney Basin Koala Network, Total Environment Centre, WIRES, IFAW, Greater Sydney Landcare, Sutherland Shire Environment Centre, Hawkesbury Environment Network, WinZero, Hills-Hornsby Rural Koala Project, Koala Koalition Port Stephens Eco Network, Save Appin Inc., and Wilton Action Group.