Gunnedah’s Project Koala - championing the cause of a local Australian icon

Group delivers a suite of community-led initiatives to support local koala populations

Gunnedah’s Project Koala - championing the cause of a local Australian icon

Group delivers a suite of community-led initiatives to support local koala populations

Making a Difference

The issue

Gunnedah has long been coined the ‘Koala Capital’, however local populations are suffering the effects of severe heat waves, prolonged drought, land clearing and disease, and it is estimated that koalas may well be extinct in NSW by 2050 (ABC News 2019).

Gunnedah’s Project Koala (PK) is a committee of local community members who share a common desire to raise awareness and ensure that koalas and their habitat are supported in every way possible.

The solution

Project Koala's social purpose is to ensure that the community a) has the knowledge and skills to support koala populations in their own back yard, and b) can work together with others to support koala populations and habitat more broadly.


The PK committee also provides strategic direction to reduce population decline, improve and increase habitat, and reduce possible threats.


PK harnesses a wealth of expertise from a wide range of disciplines which contributes to the projects and initiatives they support and deliver. This includes WIRES carers with decades of experience at the frontline of conservation; dedicated local staff from state government departments who are expert in building relationships and providing the latest applied technical and scientific knowledge; and, of course, dedicated landholders and members of the community who share invaluable local knowledge and insight into what will work best on-ground.

The impact

Project Koala is all about collaboration and recognises that the key ingredient to creating effective social change is to embrace a participatory approach involving a mix of community volunteers, stakeholders and experts.

Working closely with Sydney Uni enables PK to use latest research findings to support community messaging. PK also contributes to delivery of two NSW OEH Saving Our Species Program projects involving landholders working to restore remnant koala habitat on local farming properties and maintenance of over 20 drinkers providing water for koalas.

PK is working with the Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce to develop a 'Koala-Friendly Business Initiative' for the town, and the Shire Council to encourage the inclusion of a wildlife hospital into a proposed koala park development.

Key facts

  • PK raises awareness via newspaper articles, TV media, brochures, field days, school workshops, conference attendance and provision of strategic advice to government, industry and businesses
  • 350+ community members on PK Facebook and Instagram; 50+ koala sightings posted in the last 12 months

Project Partners