Safe & Happy Christmas!
The Board of Wet Tropics Management Authority held its 87th Board meeting in Cairns on 31 October 2011.
Joining Board Directors, Peter Valentine, Alastair Birtles and Julia Leu for the meeting were observers from the Rainforest Aboriginal community, Leah Talbot and Ernie Grant; Departmental Representatives from Queensland Parks and Wildlife (QPWS), Wolf Sievers and Peter Ogilvie, and the Chair of the Community Consultative Committee Chair, Moni Carlisle.
Key points of Board discussion included:
Development of a framework for the 2012-13 WTMA workplan. The Board reaffirmed WTMA’s Mission Statement from the 2008-13 Strategic Plan; i.e. to ‘Lead, inspire, advise and support the Australian and global community to protect and share the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in perpetuity’. The Board acknowledged that new climate change legislation and recent announcements for national environmental law reform, continue to change the national and state policy and planning context in which WTMA operates.
Prospective National Heritage Listing of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area for its cultural values provides opportunities to partner with Rainforest Aboriginal People, QPWS and others in the region.
Presentation of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) discussion paper; WTMA’s Strategic Direction for Responding to Climate Change. The paper responds to the management challenge posed by Climate Change on the integrity of the World Heritage Area.
Farewell to outgoing QPWS Officer, Peter Ogilvie. Peter is retiring after serving 46 years in the public service.
>> For a summary of the Board meeting click here.
WTMA Executive Director, Andrew Maclean, has recently been elected Chair of the Australian Committee for IUCN.
WTMA has for many years been a member of the IUCN – the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. IUCN is one of the oldest and most respected international conservation organisations. It has a presence on every continent with members ranging from national governments to small voluntary conservation organisations. Of particular interest to WTMA is the role IUCN has in relation to natural World Heritage places. It evaluates natural World Heritage Sites nominated for World Heritage Status, monitors the state of conservation of existing Sites, implements capacity building initiatives, and provides technical advice to the World Heritage Committee. Visit www.iucn.org.
The Australian Committee for IUCN assists in coordinating the activities of IUCN members in Australia and helps members gain maximum value from their membership of this international organisation. WTMA has been pleased to support a reinvigoration of the ACIUCN in the last 18 months. Contributions from members, in particular Parks Australia and Parks Victoria, have enabled the appointment of Ms Penny Figgis AO as the national committee’s first full time director.
One of the main activities of ACIUCN is to organise symposia and similar events to support information exchange in support of nature conservation. WTMA is in discussion with ACIUCN about a proposal for a symposium on a World Heritage theme, likely to be held in Cairns in July 2012.
Another significant IUCN event on the 2012 calendar is the World Conservation Congress to be held in Jeju, South Korea in September. WTMA, with support from Scientific Advisory Committee members has contributed a proposal for a conference event aimed at advancing WTMA’s goals of establishing the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area as a learning landscape.
The other ACICUN committee members elected this month were Peter Cochrane, (Commonwealth) Director of National Parks, Denise Boyd of the Australian Conservation Foundation and Peter Owen of the Wilderness Society. Professor Brendan Mackey is an ex officio member through his role as an Oceania Regional Councillor for IUCN.
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World Heritage Gateway Study
A pre-feasibility study of a World Heritage Gateway in Cairns is underway. The study, jointly funded by WTMA and the Queensland Government, will further develop a concept for a centre that will orient visitors to the Wet Tropics, the Great Barrier Reef and other World Heritage places in Australia. Tourism consultancy firm EC3 will undertake the study and will consult widely among regional stakeholders in preparing the report.
Cassowary Awards 2011
The new interpretive centre at the Cairns Botanic Gardens provided a contemporary and elegant venue for the 2011 Wet Tropics Management Authority’s Cassowary Awards on Saturday November 5.
More than 100 people gathered in the modern surrounds of the centre and amphitheatre admiring artwork and visual displays before the Cassowary Award presentations were underway.
Some of the World Heritage Area’s most inspirational people from backgrounds such as science, art, Rainforest Aboriginal culture were applauded for their tireless work in the Wet Tropics.
WTMA Board Chair Assoc Prof Peter Valentine said the Cassowary Awards continue to flourish every year.
“We are delighted to see the very high numbers of award nominations from the various sectors of World Heritage management, conservation, research and presentation. With the urgent need for higher investment for the future health of our environment, it is vital that we have a community that values, respects and cares for our World Heritage Area”.
Nature photographer Steven Nowakowski received an award in the category of Arts for his portrayal of Wet Tropics destinations that evoke passion and appreciation for the World Heritage Area.
Mr Nowakowski said he was thrilled to be acknowledged by WTMA and the Wet Tropics community for his photographic skills and volunteer work supporting environmental causes.
“You could say I have one of the best jobs in the world. I get to take photos of some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, and they are right here in our backyard. We are extremely lucky as a community to live nestled in a tropical green paradise and we should never take it for granted,” Mr Nowakowski said.
For a full list of Cassowary Award recipients click
Cassowary Award winners for the Science Category
L-R Dr Trevor Whiffin, Rebel Elick, Siobhan Duffy, Frank Zich.
the Reef and
Keep it Wild
An awesome 320 entries were received for this year’s Reef and Rainforest Keep It Wild Poster Competition. Judges had a difficult time choosing a short list from the entries that were thought provoking and highly entertaining.
WTMA project officer and coordinator of the competition Lana Lopatich said the poster competition grows in popularity every year.
“It’s so exciting to see the high calibre of entries and the ideas that the students come up with for their poster themes. It’s a really fun process for staff and judges to view and vote on the artwork,” she said.
The Cairns Regional Gallery hosted the award ceremony on 16 September. Students, teachers and parents gathered to admire the finalists’ artwork that was featured in the gallery and to cheer on the winners.
Poster competition winners Jessica Mitchell, Riley Thatcher and Isabell Azcuene from St Andrews Catholic College
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Chinese delegation gets friendly with cassowary
WTMA’s fibreglass cassowary situated in the foyer of the office posed for photo opportunities for a delegation of 20 Chinese officials who visited WTMA on 9 November. The fibreglass replica was the first cassowary the delegation had seen since arriving in Cairns and proved to be quite a hit.
The delegation was visiting WTMA to gain an overview of the Authority’s roles and responsibilities in management of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
The visitors were from Guangdong Nature Reserve Management Office and included the Directors and Deputy Directors of Nature Reserves from around the Province. Guangdong Province is the richest province in China in terms of GDP and is located next to Hong Kong.
Through an interpreter, WTMA staff provided a brief history of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and gave delegates an insight into the instruments and management tools used in planning and supporting management of the Area.
Delegates were also briefed on the role of tourism and community partnerships. Participants raised a number of questions relating to management arrangements and were particularly interested in the legislation and organisational structures governing the Wet Tropics. The visitors showed their appreciation by providing staff with baseball caps and documents about nature reserves in Guangdong Province.
WTMA Communities and Partnerships Manager Dr Paul Chantrill addresses the Chinese delegation
State of the Wet
State of the
The WTMA 2011 State of the Wet Tropics Report focussed on the risks created to the outstanding universal values of the Wet Tropics World Heritage area by exotic pests, weeds and disease in and around the World Heritage Area.
Over 508 exotic plants have become established in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area – that’s nearly 40 percent of Queensland’s total weeds.
The Report states that biosecurity threats to the World Heritage Area have increased with the mobility of people, plants, and animals - and that they will be magnified by climate change, interacting with wetter wet seasons and longer and dryer dry seasons. Many of these threats are almost impossible to control once they become established.
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It’s all stations go for the Making Connections connectivity project on the Southern Atherton Tablelands, with the coming Wet Season promising to be a busy time!
This collaborative project, funded by the Australian Government's Caring for our Country initiative, will help to restore connectivity between the World Heritage Area and patches of remnant rainforest on private lands at Rock Road (Upper Barron) and the East Evelyn Gap. Increasing habitat and restoring wildlife corridors in these critical high altitude locations, will help to buffer many iconic Wet Tropics species, like tree kangaroos and ringtail possums, from the effects of climate change.
Students from the Centre for Rainforest Studies monitoring the 2011 planting
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