At its meeting in July the Bush Heritage Board of Directors finalised a decision to move the national office. It will be relocated to Melbourne by early 2005.
This has been the toughest decision we have faced as a Board during my period as President. The decision was taken after hearing from members and staff, most of whom were passionately of the opinion that the organisation should remain in Hobart.
While we value tremendously what Tasmania and Tasmanians have given Bush Heritage, including its underlying values and ethos, the Board has keenly watched the balance of effort in land acquisition, land management and fundraising shift dramatically towards the mainland states. This is to be expected of a national organisation that's growing at a steady rate, with plans for at least seven new reserve acquisitions over the next five years.
An office in Melbourne will bring us closer to more of our existing supporters, and to a larger number of prospective supporters, trusts and foundations, and give us easier access to our increasing number of reserves. The Board also took the long-term view that if the move were not made now, it would be harder for and more disruptive to a bigger staff in the future.
We are convinced that the move will maximise our opportunities to achieve national biodiversity conservation.
I am delighted that our CEO Doug Humann will lead the move to the mainland and we hope that we can support as many of the staff as possible to join him. We already have an offer of appropriate office space at very reasonable rates.
We have no intention of abandoning our long-standing interests in Tasmania. We will continue with a land-management presence there and will put great effort into providing for the needs of our Tasmanian members and supporters.
On another matter, I am delighted to welcome to the Board Dr Steve Morton, Group Chair of Environment and Natural Resources at CSIRO and one of Australia’s most respected ecologists. He will add great expertise to our deliberations. Penny Figgis announced her resignation from the Board at the July meeting after seven years of dedicated service. Senator Bob Brown, who was present, commented on Penny's ‘phenomenal contribution’.
We thank Penny for her unfailing service and commitment to the organisation's activities through a period of sustained growth. I look forward to sharing with you in the future great gains for conservation, and thank you for your commitment to Bush Heritage.
Phillip Toyne, President