Koalas now safer on Port Stephens Drive

19 October 2023

Koalas in the Port Stephens area are now better protected from vehicle strikes on Port Stephens Drive thanks to funding from NSW State Government.

The Port Stephens Drive Koala Vehicle Strike Project, delivered in partnership with the NSW Koala Program was completed this month aiming to reduce Koala fatalities along one of the worst Koala road-strike locations in NSW.

Port Stephens Council delivered the project which was funded by the NSW State Government as part of the NSW Koala Program.

Member for Port Stephens, Kate Washington said koalas are a beloved member of our community.

“I’m delighted the NSW Government has been able to partner with Port Stephens Council to make their movements safer.

“Our local koala population is iconic but in decline, so every single life we save matters,” Ms Washington said.

Port Stephens Council Deputy Mayor and Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management (CKPoM) Chair, Leah Anderson said this project significantly benefits our koala population with over 80 koala road strikes recorded on Port Stephens Drive during a 10 year period.

“This project was initiated from a motion that came out of one of Council’s Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management Committee meetings back in 2019,” Cr Anderson said.

“The project includes 3.7km of new fencing to prevent koalas from crossing the road and direct them and other wildlife to safely cross at the newly constructed underpass.

“It also includes 3 koala grids and 22 one-way koala escape structures along the fence line to allow koalas to climb back to safety, should they accidentally enter the roadway.

"While these measures will help koalas to safely access habitat in the area without the threat of being struck on the road, it's important to remember that we all have a part to play in keeping koalas safe from harm on our roads.

“Motorists can do their bit by slowing down and taking care while driving within known koala hotspots and during the breeding season when koalas are often on the move.

“Until February, koalas are at the height of their breeding season and most active – so we’ll continue to educate and inform locals and visitors about the measures we can all take to help avoid future fatalities,” Cr Anderson added.

This project brought together a range of stakeholders and specialists from Port Stephens Council, the Port Stephens Koala Hospital, Koala Koalition, Transport for NSW and the NSW Koala Program team to deliver an important project for conserving our local Port Stephens koala population.

“Port Stephens Council will continue working with our partners to identify future opportunities for conserving and enhancing our local koala population,” Cr Anderson said.

“We’ve recently started a Landholder Partnership Program to encourage community members on private land to work with Council to provide safe environments for our koalas.

“We’re looking for landholders to plant koala food and shelter trees and remove weeds to create koala friendly backyards.

“Those that register for the program before 30 November, go in the draw to win a stay at Koala Sanctuary,” Cr Anderson added.

To become a Koala Landholder Partner, enter the competition, or find out how you can help keep our koalas safe in our community, visit pscouncil.info/koalas