Wow! Another year is coming to its end and we are close to celebrating Christmas again. As we head towards the festive season I would like to wish you an enjoyable break, and I hope that you relax, recharge and enjoy time with those closest to you.
2017 has been another exciting and fruitful year and I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Wet Tropics Management Authority, to thank our partners for your dedication and passion in collaborating to manage and present the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in 2017.
A big highlight for this year—not to mention a big workload—was the completion of phase one consultations of the Wet Tropics Plan Review. I am proud of the community engagement that has occurred for this Review. Following the release of the public notification we sent out 272 letters to landholders; 1,857 letters to neighbours of the World Heritage area; contacted all Prescribed Body Corporates, tribal groups, land councils and Aboriginal corporations; and sent a further 335 letters and brochures to our partners and clients.
This was followed by a series of meetings with community members, members of the tourism industry, conservation groups, local government, infrastructure providers, State and Commonwealth government agencies and, of course, Rainforest Aboriginal organisations and individuals. We received 91 submissions on the plan review and will take on all feedback as we move towards phase two of the process, comprising a draft Amended Plan to be released again for public comment.
Our program to eradicate yellow crazy ants continues to go from strength to strength. This year, with the funding support of the State and Commonwealth, we were able to employ more field staff. This is leading to some great results and we are delighted to announce the recent successful eradication of yellow crazy ants at a site south of Bentley Park. The program is successful due to our many truly dedicated partners in the program, including James Cook University; Gimuy Wallaburra Yidinji; North Queensland Land Management Services; the Kuranda Envirocare Yellow Crazy Ant Taskforce and Djabugay; the Yellow Crazy Ant Reference Group and Steering Committee; Biosecurity Queensland; and all the farmers and residents out there keeping an eye out for this invasive pest.
2017 also saw the revamp of our website, providing an attractive and intuitive portal to all things Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. I hope you agree with me that it is a much more visually stimulating website. We are always looking to improve, so if you have any feedback, please let us know. The Board also endorsed the “Share, Connect, Protect - best practice World Heritage Presentation Strategy” this year. This strategy will identify new ways to share the special values and attributes of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
If you haven’t yet organised your 2018 calendar, we recently released the 2018 "People Country Culture" calendar, showcasing some of the projects undertaken by Rainforest Aboriginal Grant recipients. You can request your free copy here.
Thank you again for your support in 2017, and we look forward to working with you in the new year.
Wet Tropics Management Authority