MORE tree planting on private properties in the Gunnedah shire will continue to help koalas thrive.
It's the direct opposite of what Shenhua's coal project would have done, if it went ahead, landholders have said.
Multiple landholders gathered at Andrew Pursehouse's property Breeza Station on Friday morning, to provide an update on the Saving Our Species (SOS) Koala Habitat Restoration Project. This has been under way since 2018.
Mr Pursehouse has lived on the property since 1984, back when there was a large population of koalas in residence.
After the drought, koalas couldn't be found for months, but now they're slowly spotting more here and there.
But the farmer said if Shenhua had gone ahead, it would've "devastated" a natural corridor.
"The great news this week gives us some hope for koalas in the future," he said.
"It doesn't matter how many corridors you put in, and what you do to make everything sound warm and fuzzy, it was going to annihilate this population.
"The koalas, if we do the right thing, I'm sure we can get them back."
When he and his family first moved into the property they planted trees for the koalas almost immediately.
The meeting itself on Friday was held near a corridor of trees planted in 1997.
I believe 16 landholders have been chosen to be involved to have some of our land dedicated to provide habitat to our uniquely Australian iconic species - the koala.TRLA Wayne Chaffey
As part of the SOS project, Tamworth Regional Landcare Association (TRLA) vice chair Wayne Chaffey said the original plan was to have about 30 hectares of koala-friendly food and shelter trees planted, but there would now be 45 hectares.
"In addition, there are another 42 hectares set aside as conserved habitat and yet another 38 hectares that are being enhanced. What a great outcome," he said.
"I believe 16 landholders have been chosen to be involved to have some of our land dedicated to provide habitat to our uniquely Australian iconic species - the koala."
As part of round two of the project, Mr Pursehouse alone will be planting three, new 30-metre-wide (and up to 420m long) corridors, adding another three hectares to his existing koala corridors.
Seventy per cent of a $145,000 state government grant for the state-wide program will be going to landholders locally.
"This is a significant contribution as part of the SOS program, it's all about making sure we're doing everything we can to protect koala habitat and rejuvenate and reinvigorate the areas that have been decimated, either by drought or fire, to provide that habitat so koalas can move between colonies and ultimately grow their numbers," Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said.
"The money will go toward fencing, trees, saplings, any work that needs to be done so they'll just be able to put their claim into the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and they will be able to be reimbursed for the work they're going to do which is valuable work."
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