Welcome to the third eNews for 2016, and the first for the financial year. I must say that we have had an incredibly busy start to this financial year and there is a lot happening in the Wet Tropics and in World Heritage management as the stories in this eNews attest.
As you will have read in the last eNews, the Board of Directors now has a complete quota with our newest director, Mr Phil Rist appointed in June. Well, we have quickly put Phil to work, and he, with the other Board members, had a busy three day schedule in August as we addressed some key issues. On 23 August, an innovative workshop was held with tourism, regional development, Aboriginal and environment representatives from the region. The objective of the workshop was to identify innovative and creative ways to meet current and future resourcing challenges for managing the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
The following day (24 August) the directors met for the Board meeting proper, and focused on strategic work programs for the Authority. More information on the Board meeting and the resourcing workshop is included in the WTMA Board Meeting 97 Communique.
A significant Joint Board meeting, with Terrain NRM Board, followed the next day (25 August). At the meeting, the two Boards acknowledged that there is some overlap in responsibility, and that both organisations have distinct and different objectives and obligations in some areas. The Boards agreed to map their respective roles and responsibilities and agree to some shared priority actions for the coming year. This process will ensure that efforts for both organisations will deliver maximum benefits for achieving common land management and community objectives.
In further exciting news, I have just returned from Hawai’i where I attended the World Conservation Congress with Rebecca Lagerroth, Manager, Aboriginal Partnerships. Held every four years, the Congress brings all members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) together to share learnings and to set direction for how IUCN can influence policy on the international stage.
The Congress has two components. Firstly, the forum provides an opportunity for members to share their learnings and to work through issues with a broad audience, thus engaging the wider community. Up to 10,000 attendees participated in this truly international forum. During the second component of the Congress, IUCN members vote on what will influence policy direction. More than 100 motions were dealt with during this Congress. IUCN members also approved a new programme for IUCN for the next four years and elected new IUCN leadership.
The theme of the Congress was ‘Planet at the Crossroads’, indicating that the world is now at a place where we need to make some big decisions and choose wisely to ensure the future protection of our planet. More information on the Congress is provided in the eNews.
There are a lot of good stories in this edition of the eNews; I hope you derive some pleasure and that you learn something from it. Before I leave you to it, I would like to draw particular attention to the story 'Steve and Mike hang up their boots', dedicated to the significant retirement on 1 and 2 September of two of our long serving employees. Mike Stott and Steve Goosem, together, provided over 50 years of exemplary service to the Authority. Mike was our mapping whiz, and most people who enjoy the maps that the Authority has produced over the years would know and appreciate the meticulous work that Mike put into making accurate and well-designed mapping. But not only that, Mike was generous with his time and has provided training and coaching to not only Authority staff but also to a number of Rainforest Aboriginal groups.
Steve Goosem has been involved in rainforest management and research in north Queensland for the last 30 years. It was his level of knowledge about rainforest ecology that first caught the eye of the Authority, and since he commenced, Steve’s encyclopaedic knowledge has only grown. Steve will be sorely missed as all of us here know that if they ask a question about the Wet Tropics or rainforest ecology Steve had the answer at hand or knew the exact spot to go to get the answer.
I wish both Steve and Mike and their partners, Miriam and Trudy, all the best in retirement and for an exciting future.