Construction has commenced on a new Council-funded scientific research centre, which will be an incubator for cutting-edge research into disease and genetics, to assist in the conservation of koalas.
Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said Council was investing up to $2 million in the development of the state of the art facility, located at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
“This world-class research centre will feature interactive learning displays, scientific research labs with public viewing areas and a koala observation area to provide a unique eco-tourism experience for visitors,” Cr Quirk said.
“The centre will serve a dual purpose, facilitating important research into key challenges facing koalas in the urban context, as well as offering visitors a memorable insight into one of Australia’s most iconic native animals.
“The centre will facilitate breed and release programs and focus on diseases impacting the health of koala populations, particularly koala retro-virus.”
Cr Quirk said that the koala research centre would be a self-powered facility, in keeping with Council’s vision of a clean, green and sustainable city.
“Solar panels located on the roof of the building will generate electricity for the day-to-day operations of the research centre and a geothermal cooling system will be used to air condition the facility,” he said.
“The geothermal power system is a renewable energy source, extracting warm air from the room and transferring it below ground to cool.
“Drilling for the geothermal technology is currently underway, with drills boring three 80 metre holes to install condenser loops.”
Cr Quirk said the innovative research centre was just one of several koala conservation initiatives supported by Council.
“Planting commenced in November on a new koala fodder plantation, with 8,000 gum trees to supply up to 120 koalas a day with much-needed food,” he said.
“Council is also investing close to $30 million this financial year towards the purchase of koala-habitat bushland, to preserve important land in public ownership for future generations.”
The koala research centre is expected to be operational in mid-2018.
For more information about the Koala Research Centre or Council’s other environmental initiatives, visit www.brisbane.qld.gov.au or call Council on 07 3403 8888.