Environmental Significance Overlay


The Koala Overlay is based on the recommendations contained in a 2006 study titled  Ballarat Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management, Parts 1 and 2, 2006.  The Study, prepared by Council and the Australian Koala Foundation, is aimed at providing for the long term survival of Ballarat’s koala population.  The Study can be found here: 

Ballarat Comprehensive Koala Management Plan Part 1

Ballarat Comprehensive Koala Management Plan Part 2

The Koala Overlay applies to areas in Ballarat that contain significant koala habitat.   Koala habitat comprises more than native gum trees.  In addition to the koala food trees of Manna Gum and Messmate Stringybark, koalas use other trees such as Blackwoods for shelter.  Koala habitat also includes linked patches of bush, known as corridors, that koalas use to move around their territory. 

The Koala Overlay aims to:

  • maintain koala habitat by ensuring development avoids removal of vegetation that koalas rely on for food, shelter and safe movement.
  • improve the koala’s ability to move around its habitat by encouraging the building of fences that koalas can climb over, through or under.

The Koala Overlay is detailed at Clause 42.01 of the Ballarat Planning Scheme. 

When is a Planning Permit Required?Top of document.

If your property is covered by the Koala Overlay a planning permit is required if you wish to:

• remove native trees;
• build a fence;
• subdivide land.

Permit Application Information

Constructing a Fence

An application to construct a fence must be accompanied by a scaled site plan detailing the location of the fence and a scaled elevation of the fence detailing the height and fence material.  Fences should be designed ‘koala friendly’ - fences that koalas can easily climb over, through, or under.  Fences should have a minimum 30cm gap between the bottom of the fence and the ground.   Koala friendly fences can include chain mesh fences, solid fences with regularly spaced timber posts on both sides, open post and rail or post and wire fences.   Photos of koala friendly fences are provided in the koala guide below.

Removing Vegetation

The level of supporting information to be provided will depend on the extent and type of vegetation proposed to be removed.  As a minimum, an application should detail the type of vegetation (i.e. species) and number of trees proposed for removal.  Upon lodgement of an application officers will undertake a preliminary review and determine whether more detailed koala information is required. 

If more detailed information is required in respect to potential koala impact, an environmental consultant can be engaged to assist with the planning permit process.  The following consultants are able to prepare the necessary documentation and advise on koala matters. 

Koala Overlay Consultants

Note:This list is provided for information only. Council does not recommend any particular service or the quality of the service provided. Other consultants may be available and it is the applicant’s responsibility to select an appropriate consultant as deemed necessary. 

Assessing Permit Applications

In assessing applications Council must have regard to Council’s local koala policy

Koala Overlay GuideTop of document.

Further information to assist in understanding the Koala Overlay can be found in Council’sKoala Overlay Guide 

Ballarat Planning Scheme - Clause 52.17 Removal of Native Vegetation

If you propose to remove native trees, shrubs or ground-layer plants from land which, together with all contiguous land in one ownership, has an area of 0.4 hectares or
greater [including Crown land (e.g. a road reserve, creek reserve, or recreation reserve)], you may require a planning permit under Clause 52.17 of the Ballarat Planning Scheme.

Refer to Department of Environment and Primary Industries 'Native Vegetation Permitted Clearing Reg's for assistance in preparation of a planning application in accordance with the requirements of Clause 52.17.

Helpful Links:

A Guide to Native Vegetation and Planning

Environmental Signficant Overlay (ESO)

Schedule 5 to the Environmental Signficance Overlay