New road signs strive to keep Koalas safe

Published on 05 September 2023

Port Macquarie Hastings Council (PMHC) has rolled-out new line marking signs across the region to help save our endangered koala population.

A key component of PMHC’s Koala Recovery Strategy aimed at reducing koala road strikes, multiple green and gold ‘Koala Zone’ signs have now been installed at multiple sites across Port Macquarie.

NSW Government-funded vehicle activated digital signs will also be installed in the coming weeks, to remind motorists to be koala aware and to reduce speed in koala road strike hot spots. Together, these initiatives will aim to educate motorists about the critical need to take care while driving.

With more than 30 incidents of koala strikes locally this year, Mayor Peta Pinson said the road campaign was a positive step in stemming the decline of our endangered koala population.

“While the Port Macquarie Hastings region has one of the largest koala populations in NSW, current trends suggest that without significant intervention the population could be extinct by 2050,” she said.

“With these new green and gold road markings now in place, it is now up to the community to take action and heed to the warnings. I also encourage our community to complete the ‘drive with care, be koala aware‘ safety pledge online, which puts an extra layer of responsibility on individuals to be more responsible on the roads.”

The new line markings have been installed in both directions at:

  • Ocean Drive, Laurieton
  • Ocean Drive, Port Macquarie - Port Macquarie Golf Course
  • Ocean Drive, Port Macquarie - Mackillop Catholic College
  • Lake Road, Port Macquarie
  • Lord Street, Port Macquarie
  • Kennedy Drive, Port Macquarie
  • Central Road, Port Macquarie (pavement marking only)

The soon-to-be installed activated road signage, courtesy of NSW Government’s Koala Recovery Strategy, features images of koalas smiling at drivers when driving to the speed or frowning if they’re over the limit. These will be rolled out at the same locations as the marked road signs by October.

PMHC Ecologist Byron Reynolds said the road markings and digital signs are a key action of the PMHC’s Koala Recovery Strategy, which not only considers important road strike interventions, but other initiatives such as the prevention of dog attacks.

“Our strategy outlines that disease, loss of habitat, road strikes and dog attacks can be attributed to a high number of koala fatalities - all of which can be linked directly to human action and intervention,” Mr Reynolds said.

“In order to counteract our declining population, we need to educate the community about the unprecedented rate of decline in the local population and encourage people to reduce speed, reduce harm from pets, and equip their properties with koala-safe climbing implements to escape yards and pools.

Mr Reynolds said if you have a metal fence around your property, a way to avoid a dog attack is to position a branch to the fence so that the koala can climb, get off the ground and away from any danger.

It is just one method, he said, to help make properties more koala friendly places.

“Up until February, we’ll be seeing predominately more koalas searching for a female to mate - so we’re now looking at the ways we can engage, educate and inform the community about the measures we can all take to help prevent future fatalities,” Mr Reynolds.

For more information or to read the Koala Recovery Strategy, visit Koalas Port Macquarie Hastings Council (nsw.gov.au) Drive With Care, Be Koala Aware - ConnectEd PMH (nsw.gov.au).
To take the online pledge, visit Drive With Care, Be Koala Aware - ConnectEd PMH (nsw.gov.au).