State Environmental Planning Policy

State Environmental Planning Policy (Koala Habitat Protection 2019) the Koala SEPP

The new Koala SEPP replaces SEPP 44. The new SEPP commenced in March 2020, however the Koala Habitat Protection Guideline which is central to the operation of the SEPP is yet to finalised. The exact impacts of the new SEPP on development activities will not be known until the acceptance of this new guideline along with its interpretation through various Development Applications.

The Koala SEPP is triggered when a development under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act where the land in question is covered by the Koala SEPP. This is any land within a specified list of local government areas.  The trigger for the application of the Koala SEPP is an application for development consent under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act on land covered by the SEPP. This is any land within a specified list of local government areas.

The SEPP also facilitates the preparation by local councils of Koala Plans of Management. Many councils have existing Koala Management Plans or Koala Plans of Management (KPOM) which then become the basis for assessing any development application (DA), rather than the SEPP.

A 1 hectare trigger applies to the size of the land which is the subject of the DA and any adjoining land within the same ownership.

When determining whether the land includes feed tree species or is core koala habitat, the whole lot is considered and not just the development area.

Whether Koala feed tree species are present relates to whether the land is “highly suitable koala habitat”, The list of Koala feed trees has as been significantly expanded – from 10 species under SEPP 44 to 123 species under the new SEPP and these lists are specific to the regional Koala Management Areas.

Compared to SEPP 44 the threshold of what constitutes core Koala Habitat has been lowered. Core koala habitat as defined by the SEPP is as follows:

  • An area where koalas are present;
  • An area which has been assessed as being “highly suitable koala habitat” and where koalas have been recorded as being present in the previous 18 years.

With experience since 1992 as Ecologists and qualified BAM 2020 Assessors we are here to assist our clients with  their developments from Koala SEPP assessments to 5-Part Tests and BAM Assessments.

Why not give us a call to discuss your project requirements.