230ha of old pine plantation to sprout new wildlife habitat

Published 22 February 2022

Picture of trees looking upwards

Hundreds of hectares of former pine plantation south-west of Caboolture will be transformed back into habitat for native wildlife, Moreton Bay Regional Council has announced.

As part of strong development conditions for the planned Pine Valley community considered by council last week, Mayor Peter Flannery said 235 hectares would be required to be handed back to council for wildlife habitat while a further 10 hectares would become parkland.

“The old Morayfield pine plantation saw hectares of native habitat razed for timber farms. This decision will see a huge parcel of that land returned back to nature, and protected by council,” Mayor Flannery said.

It’s part of a push by council to ‘go green as it grows’ in 2022, protecting the region’s environment while also accommodating thousands of young families eager to move to Moreton Bay.

The new parcel of native habitat links with another 220 hectares of land also being turned into wildlife conservation in Moorina, creating more than 400 hectares of habitat for koalas, kangaroos and other native animals.

“Under the conditions imposed by council, not only will this land be revegetated but we’ll also see important infrastructure installed to regrow native wildlife populations in the area.

Development conditions will also see the developers build fauna rope bridges and underpasses, nest boxes, koala fencing and restoration of riparian, waterway and wetland habitats.

“This is about protecting and growing the local environment, while also meeting the demand from families who want a place to call home and raise their family - something which I’m sure many current residents can relate to.

“Moreton Bay is unique to many other areas in the south-east with its national parks, reserves and green spaces, and this is a huge step towards not just protecting but growing our local environment.”

Division 12 Councillor Tony Latter welcomed the announcement, and said the work would build on major efforts by council in recent years to protect native wildlife and create new habitat.

“In just the last few years, council has planted 80,000 trees, built 10,000 metres of koala fencing and dozens built crossings for animals to safely move between habitat,” Cr Latter said.

“This application will see the delivery of approximately 123.5 acres of environmental corridor as well as 462.58 acres of offset where the applicant will have to satisfy the conditions of the EPBC Approval.

“It is fantastic to see the offset site on Moorina Road, Moorina is less than 4km from the Pine Valley site, and is adjoining another 543-acre Offset site.

“This has the potential to be a significant koala and wildlife conservation area of over 1000 acres.”

Division 11 Darren Grimwade welcomed the outcome, and said it would join plans to plant a further 45,000 trees in coming years across the region as well as council’s ambitious Land Buyback program.

“Now is not the time to let the momentum we’ve gathered when it comes to protecting and enhancing our environment,” Cr Grimwade said.

“This is something our community has been keen to see more of, and I’m glad that council has been able to deliver this outcome.

“We’ve done a significant amount of legwork to drive better outcomes for our region, and we’ll continue to do that with a record $743 million budget this financial year.”

Mayor Flannery said as part of the application for Pine Valley, conditions would also be imposed to require public transport connections for families, upgrades to local roads and intersections as well as financial contributions from the developer towards future park infrastructure.

“Moreton Bay has grown up - we’re no longer the bit between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane,” Mayor Flannery said.

“We’re a region that will capitalise on the opportunities of the 2032 Olympics to better our community. We’re a region that will create jobs and new pathways for education, give people a place to live and protect the environment.”

For more information on council’s green initiatives head to: https://www.moretonbay.qld.gov.au/Services/Environment