New threatened species listings for Queensland

Three notable changes to threatened species listings have recently occurred in Queensland that have the potential to impact on proposed projects

The Koala Phascolarctos cinereus has been listed as vulnerable throughout Queensland (previously only vulnerable in South East Queensland (SEQ) bioregion), and the Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis and Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea have been listed as critically endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The Koala Phascolarctos cinereus

Ecology and Heritage Partners: Koala Phascolarctos cinereus Koala Phascolarctos cinereus

The Koala has been listed as vulnerable in SEQ for several years and as special Least Concern throughout the regional areas of Queensland.  However, in 2012 Koala (combined populations of Queensland, NSW and the ACT) was listed as vulnerable at the Federal level under the EPBC Act.  It was recognised the species continued declines in these regions.

The extension of the vulnerable listing under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 means that the regional imbalance has been corrected, which will lead to less confusion about the level of protection afforded to Koala and an increase in certainty for project proponents.

It is not known whether the legislative framework that currently operates for Koala assessments in SEQ will be extended throughout Queensland; however in the interim, potential impacts to Koalas are likely to be assessed as for other vulnerable species under existing assessment pathways.

Shorebirds - Eastern Curlew and Curlew Sandpiper

Eastern curlew inskip' by Aviceda - Own work
Eastern Curlew inskip by Aviceda

Two migratory shorebirds occurring along the Queensland coast have been included in the critically endangered list under the EPBC Act, the Eastern Curlew and Curlew Sandpiper.

Both species are summer breeding migrants to the Northern Hemisphere and occur along the Queensland coast during the Austral summer.  Neither species breeds in Australia, although some juvenile birds do not undertake a full migration.

The listing of both species in the critically endangered category recognises that they are  facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future.

Projects that are likely to have a 'significant impact' on coastal habitats (e.g. intertidal mudflats) for the curlew and sandpiper, but have not yet been referred to the Department of the Environment, will be subject to the new listings as part of the assessment and determination under the Act.

Projects that have been referred, but not yet decided may be subject to the new listings and advice should be sought from the Department.



We are currently assisting proponents with these recent changes, and if you require further information on how these near listings may affect your project please contact one of our Zoologists on 03-9377-0100 or


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