A five-year project to plant and establish 12,500 koala habitat trees has been successfully completed at Grandchester near Ipswich.
The Grandchester Koala Offset Project was delivered in partnership between Powerlink Queensland, Healthy Land and Water, and Ipswich City Council to rehabilitate 26 hectares of cleared grazing farmland in the Mt Grandchester Conservation Estate.
Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said the native trees first planted in 2013 had an outstanding 98 per cent survival rate and an average height of five metres, with some trees even towering eight metres high.
"This project has delivered significant environmental and biodiversity outcomes, as well as offering broader community, recreational and social benefits for the Ipswich area and beyond," Ms York said.
"We take our environmental commitments seriously so it’s been really encouraging to see this important conservation site transformed in just a few years – and the exceptional tree growth rates show no signs of slowing down.
"The rehabilitation of this site is a commitment Powerlink made as part of recent our project work in the Ipswich region.
"This initiative provides ongoing benefits to strengthen koala habitat connectivity and protect the environmental values of this green corridor."
Healthy Land and Water Chief Executive Officer Julie McLellan said project outcomes had exceeded expectations and showcased the tangible value of government, industry and community partnerships.
"This is one of the best revegetation sites we’ve ever seen in South East Queensland. Over the past five years, the trees have endured very challenging weather conditions – large periods of drought conditions interspersed with patches of extreme wet weather," Ms McLellan said.
"Despite these difficult conditions, the trees have thrived as a result of our dedicated project team using effective planting strategies and best-practice maintenance techniques to ensure strong survival and growth rates.
Ms McLellan, who was recently appointed to the Queensland Government’s newly formed Koala Advisory Council, said Healthy Land and Water was dedicated more than ever before to making a real difference in enhancing and extending vital koala habitat to protect this unique species.
"It's pleasing to see this project successfully conclude with such outstanding results for our natural environment," she said.
Ipswich City Council Works, Parks and Recreation Chief Operating Officer Bryce Hines thanked Powerlink and Healthy Land and Water for their commitment to rehabilitating the important Council-owned site over the past five years.
"The Mt Grandchester Conservation Estate is part of the highly valued Little Liverpool Range environmental corridor in the Ipswich area. These plantings have created a vital link for active koala populations and other local native wildlife throughout this important corridor.
"Council will continue to maintain the plantings into the future through managing fire risk, invasive weeds and feral pests on an ongoing basis.
"As these new trees further integrate with existing natural bushland, we look forward to soon seeing koalas call this site home."