Changes to Steve Irwin Way could threaten 75 hectares of prime koala habitat.
Changes to Steve Irwin Way could threaten 75 hectares of prime koala habitat. Nev Madsen

Fears Steve Irwin Way changes will destroy koala habitat

SUNSHINE Coast Koala Wildlife Rescue aims to put a stop to the realignment of Steve Irwin Way, fearing it will decimate one of the few remaining koala habitats left on the Coast.

Volunteer Ray Chambers said the Federal Government's proposal to upgrade the Caloundra interchange and realign the Steve Irwin Way, as part of the Bruce Hwy upgrade, threatened to destroy 75 hectares of prime koala and wildlife habitat and "needs to be stopped at all costs".

"The forested area within the project footprint has exceptional ecological values that will either be lost entirely or be subject to a gradual process of degradation if this proposal proceeds in its current form," he said.

"Why can't they leave something alone for once?

"They took a lot of timber when they widened the Steve Irwin Way to two lanes.

"Koalas need a lot more than a few trees."

Sunshine Coast Koala Wildlife Rescue has sent a letter to the Transport Minister calling for him to consider another route.

They have also lodged a petition in the last week which had attracted the support of more than 300 residents.

Mr Chambers said the highway upgrade, coupled with the 334-lot rural residential development behind Aussie World and the Ettamogah Pub, was "a total disaster".

"It'll decimate the whole area," he said.

"There are only 2000 koalas left in south-east Queensland, about 100 left on the Coast.

"With the current rate of decline, within four years it'll be all over."

Mr Chambers said the forest from the Caloundra turn off, north to Chevallum was once a thriving koala corridor that had been severely fragmented.

"It's all fragmented by two main roads, Bruce Hwy and the Steve Irwin Way," he said.

"There should be wildlife fencing on the highway; that's not even there."

To support Sunshine Coast Koala Wildlife Rescue's petition, visit their Facebook page and follow the link.

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