We have a great many iconic animals in this wonderful country, perhaps one of the most iconic, the Koala, has long been under threat from suburbanisation, disease and many other trials. A recent plan by the GC council to swap a 'Coffee for a Koala' might help sustain these beautiful animals.
Ratepayers on the Gold Coast will be charged a $3 koala tax from July this year in an Australian-first program to buy land to protect their habitat.
The tax will contribute towards a $10 million fund that the Gold Coast City Council will primarily use to purchase land. The council said it is the first time a local government has created a levy specifically to help a species.
Mayor Tom Tate said there are a number of ways the fund will help protect koalas.
"We are going to be protecting the two main things that are dangerous to koalas — that is domestic dogs and getting hit by cars — so we will be spending money also to put in protective fence to areas that is of high risk to the koalas," he said.
"I believe the $3 levy is a small price for all of us to pay," he said.
The northern Gold Coast has become a battleground for koala conservation in recent years. It is home to the East Coomera koalas, one of the biggest koala populations in SE QLD.
But the same area has also seen a housing boom in recent years with the suburbs of Coomera and Pimpama recording some of the largest population growths in Queensland.
Coomera Conservation Group spokeswoman Karina Waterman welcomed the koala tax. Ms Waterman said her organisation would judge the success of the tax and the koala fund on their ability to save animals.
"Do they manage to persist into the future? Will we see a decrease in spread of disease? Will we see a decrease in stress? Will we see a decrease in areas in what we would call overcrowding? Will we see a decrease in those things?" she said.
The conservationist said the tax could be replicated in other parts of the country if successful.