Bush Heritage’s central purpose is to buy back threatened land and water of high conservation value and manage it for conservation. Our reserves are not islands in the surrounding terrain but a part of the broader landscape or seascape. Thus it's vitally important that we're a positive influence for the natural environment beyond our reserve boundaries.
Neighbours, locals, reserve visitors and volunteers are all part of our ‘beyond the boundaries’ network. Our neighbours, and the uses to which they put their land, are diverse. They include rural and residential allotment owners, the national parks services, pastoralists, agriculturalists and tourism operators, to name a few.
We're working to build with them inclusive and enduring relationships that will enhance habitat and wildlife conservation in their region.
The gift of land at Agnes Waters on the Queensland coast – from Michael and Dellarose Baevski – gives us another such opportunity in the globally significant Great Barrier Reef Marine Park seascape, one of the most important and biologically diverse places on the planet.
Bush Heritage will be managing its 17th reserve here, as well as the areas of native bush that are part of the ‘common property’ areas in the neighbouring residential development. We will be working closely with this new community and our role will be a positive one, will be free of conditions and will provide real conservation benefits.
We thank the Baevskis for selecting Bush Heritage to receive this generous gift of land and for their extensive planning. We hope that their innovative idea of making nature conservation an integral part of a residential development will be adopted by others. We also thank Ian Hodgetts at Allens Arthur Robinson, our pro bono legal firm, for his exhaustive discussions to ensure that Bush Heritage’s interests were protected.
On another note, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Indigenous Land Corporation last year, members of the Bidjara people from central Queensland visited Carnarvon Station Reserve. It was the first visit in over 30 years for some. With their permission we were delighted to view some of the astonishing paintings and petroglyphs at Carnarvon and to have these interpreted for us by representatives of the Bidjara people.
We were subsequently invited to visit a nearby Bidjara property and hope to provide advice on the environmental management of remnant bushland there. Traditional owners have also recently visited Charles Darwin Reserve in Western Australia to assess the cultural sites on the property. We need the involvement of the indigenous communities to ensure that their cultural heritage sites on our reserves are adequately maintained and protected.
With this positive news it's unfortunate that I have to report that the Tasmanian Minister for Tourism, Parks and Heritage Ken Bacon has written stating that the Government is unable to approve the transfer of the Hunter Island lease to Bush Heritage ‘at this stage’. We have a contract to buy the lease on the island and it should be a standard commercial property transaction. The contract still stands. The Government has invited us to be involved in further consultation on the island.
Doug Humann, CEO