Koalas at centre of Queensland coal battle

Graham "Skroo" Turner, whose $365 million fortune makes him one of Australia's richest people, is setting up a koala sanctuary in Queensland in a bid to stop a coal mine.

The Queensland Times reports that Turner, a wealthy resort owner, is spearheading a legal challenge to coal projects at Ebenezer and Grandchester.

Lawyers for the groups opposed to the mine submit that Mines Minister Stirling Hinchliffe had no legal right to renew Zedemar Holdings' lease on the mine.

Zedemar is selling the 675-hectare Ebenezer mine and the nearby 9202ha Bremer View coal project to OGL Resources, which plans to reactivate the mine.

Queensland Times quotes Turner saying the area's wildlife needs protecting, especially koalas, whose numbers are down 40% in the Ipswich region.

His plan is to fence off about 800 hectares and plant trees as habitat for the cuddly creatures.