NATIVE wildlife is feeling the brunt of Ipswich's rapid development and the future is looking bleak unless changes are made.

That is the warning from long-time conservationist Ted Fensom, who believes more needs to be done to secure the future of native animals like the koala as Ipswich's population is set to rise from about 360,000 to 553,000 by 2030.

The Brisbane Region Environment Council co-ordinator said the amount of bushland being cleared for residential development was "tragic", particularly in Springfield and surrounding suburbs.

"What's left in Springfield is just 10ha out there on the Centenary Highway," Mr Fensom said.

"Ipswich had the highest amount of urban land clearing in 2017, which was about 298ha.

"The problem is the assessments weren't done properly for the SEQ Regional Plan."


Aerial photo of Springfield from June 2019
Aerial photo of Springfield from June 2019

He said Ipswich was down to about 20 per cent of its original vegetation, which he claimed was the lowest in southeast Queensland, and the amount of people moving into the region was "unsustainable" for wildlife.

"It's not being assessed properly under environmental impact assessment, whether it be council level, developer level or by the Federal Government," he said.

"The whole assessment process is falling away and they're just knocking it down."

Mr Fensom said trying to find local koala breeding pairs is difficult with the amount of land clearing occurring.

"You're losing the corridors but also losing the core areas. Trying to depend on wildlife just living on steep slopes and mountains like at Spring Mountain is tragic," he said.

Conservationist Ted Fensom talks about the impact of development around Springfield on koalas.
Conservationist Ted Fensom talks about the impact of development around Springfield on koalas. Rob Williams

He called on authorities to implement more green fauna infrastructure to negate the high levels of local development and buy back more native land to protect it from development.

"They've got to look at trying to maintain corridors on some of the big creek systems," he said.

"Some at Ripley and Deebing Creek, there's cultural as well as environmental grounds for buying it back.

"Ripley is a priority development area and we've got dozens of them. Logan wants to upgrade the road to Springfield. It's just tragic for the people of Ipswich because there's only a few big parcels (of bushland) on the outer limits.

"They've got to start looking at what's left of Rosewood rainforest and try to sustain that and look at where this railway line is going to go from Calvert to Ebenezer. That's a koala hotspot out there.

"We're not going to have any koala habitat or rainforest left. There has definitely got to be some buyback (of bushland) and the roll back of this sprawling development of little boxes."

Comment was sought by Ipswich City Council but it did not respond before deadline.

Review into development approvals are long overdue

IPSWICH Ratepayers and Residents Association president Jim Dodrill said a review into development approvals was long overdue.

"We've been pushing for a more considered way of new development (for many years)," he said.

"The quality of residential development has gone downhill really quickly. Part of that is just fitting more and more residential blocks onto smaller and smaller blocks of land.

"To do that you have to remove every tree. There's no room for trees or wildlife corridors. The concept of leaving green spaces and corridors seems to have been lost somewhere along the line."

Mr Dodrill said the ratepayers association had been urging Ipswich City Council to rethink what they are approving to allow more green spaces and wildlife corridors.

"There will be nothing left, no birds even," he said.

"You can go to some of these places where they've cleared everything above the ground and there's not even a bush left down to the creek. It's created local extinction."

He said a once-thriving koala community in Collingwood Park near his home around Six Mile and Goodna creeks was now gone.

"As far as we know there are none left," he said.

"We've found several several dead ones and (dead) platypuses. We've only seen dead ones recently, no live ones. It's all because of the kind of development council is approving.

"Ipswich is a great place, it has always been a great place with potential. Approving the development they are approving is creating slums for the future. Everybody needs open green spaces and walks down to the park."