Boost for wildlife protection along highway north of Cooroy

Work will begin this month on a $1 million wildlife protection project to improve fencing on the Bruce Highway between the Cooroy southern interchange and Sankeys Road.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said works will involve retro-fitting existing fencing and installing additional fauna exclusion fencing to fill in the gaps.

“The project team worked closely with wildlife groups to identify areas of risk along this section of the Bruce Highway,” Mr McCormack said.

“This included carrying out a review of wildlife fencing installed as part of the Bruce Highway upgrade between the Cooroy southern interchange and Sankeys Road, which was completed in May 2017. 

“Additional fencing will also be installed to direct wildlife away from high-speed traffic and encourage it to safely return to nearby bushland.”

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said the fencing contract was part of a $3 million investment to conserve koalas in the local area.

“The koala habitat offset program involves revegetating 12 sites between Federal and Coles Creek, owned by Transport and Main Roads, with native trees and managing these areas until the bushland is self-sustaining and capable of supporting koalas,” Mr Bailey said. 

“More than 98,000 native tube stocks have already been planted as part of this initiative. 

“Importantly, these koala habitat sites have been classed as high-nature conservation value and are protected from future clearing under environmental legislation.” 

Mr Bailey said by keeping the work flowing on this project and others like it, the government was investing in the community during this difficult period.

“The contract has been awarded to local company Ford Brothers Fencing, which will support about 10 jobs at a time when creating and maintaining jobs has never been more critical,” he said.

Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien said these works would help conserve one of Wide Bay’s key assets – its native wildlife.

“Our unspoilt natural environment makes our region a great place to live and it’s important to protect and preserve Wide Bay’s abundant wildlife, a key drawcard for tourists,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Tourism and a healthy environment go hand-in-hand, and as we begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to strengthen our local economy, and I am pleased the Queensland and Australian Governments are investing in this project to safeguard local wildlife, and create local jobs.”

The $1 million of works is jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland Governments as part of the $490 million Cooroy to Curra Section A project, with the Australian Government contributing $500,000 and the Queensland Government $500,000.

The 62km Bruce Highway upgrade between Cooroy and Curra is estimated to cost approximately $2.3 billion in total, including $1 billion for the Woondum to Curra realignment of the highway around Gympie.