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Yellow-Box Dispatch

May 2013


Executive Director's Letter
 

Hi everyone,
 
In our 'temporary' demountable accommodation, where we have been for six years, we are all abuzz with the excitement of the pending move to a new office. The reality of it has taken hold as actual building work started this week. By next week the floor will be down. So we are now very focused on making sure it is as sustainable as feasible within budget and practical restraints. We'll get the exact timetable next week, however, we expect to relocated by early July.
 
A major focus in April was our input into the North Gungahlin Strategic Environmental Assessment. See more on this below. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our submission. We met with ACT Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Shane Rattenbury MLA and put a case to him of his need to be involved in the Gungahlin Strategic Environment Assessment. Although the SEA process is being conducted by other Directorates actual delivery of any agreed Biodiversity Plan will largely be the responsibility of TaMS.  We also expressed our frustration at the lack of a progress on moves to establish an Integrated Conservation Agency despite there being tripartisan support for this. Please contact me if you would like more information on where this is up to. 
 
Our Heritage Festival events where we held walks and talks to introduce people to the 'Natural Treasures of the ACT' were very well received by both our co-partner organisations and participants. In addition, the launch of Tuggeranong Treasures was a great networking event which also was thank you to the 40 or so people who contributed to the publication in various ways -- writing text, providing photos, developing maps, editing or providing advise. A wonderful collaborative effort that has resulted in a 'must have' guide to the Tuggeranong area.
 
We are also busy behind the scenes on a few exciting projects which we will let you know about in next email bulletin.

Cheers,











Clare Henderson
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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World Environment Day Dinner - 1 June

 


Join us to celebrate World Environment Day with a scrumptious four course feast and live entertainment at the Conservation Council’s annual fundraising dinner.

 

  • Live entertainment – music for your ears as Canberra duo Chris Endrey & Bec Taylor of Yes/No (and Fun Machine) delight us with their sweet sounds
  • Prizes to win!
  • Gourmet four course meal cooked by Merici College Year 10 students
MC for the night will be the esteemed Canberra radio journalist Alex Sloan, presenter of ‘Afternoons’ on 666 ABC Canberra.
 
Where: Merici College, Wise St, Braddon
When: Saturday 1 June 2013 @ 7pm
Tickets: $80 Conservation Council member group individual or $100 non-member group individual
 
Information: communications@conservationcouncil.org.au or 02 6229 3200
 
All funds raised go to support the Conservation Council’s vital work to continue to be a voice for the environment in the ACT.

Biodiversity Offsets Forum - 11 June

 
When: 11 June, 12:00 – 1.30pm 
Where: Alan Barton Forum room, Level 2, ANU College of Business and Economics Building. 
A light lunch will be provided.
 
While other States have had offsets schemes in place for quite some time, and the Commonwealth adopted its own policy in 2012, the ACT is yet to adopt a policy on offsets. This is despite offsets being employed by the ACT Government as a major tool to compensate for impacts on biodiversity from ongoing development and urban expansion in Canberra and the ACT region, including for example in North Gungahlin. The Conservation Council is hosting a members and experts’ forum specifically on the development of biodiversity offsets policy in the ACT.
 
Dr Phil Gibbons from the Australian National University Fenner School of Environment and Society, who played a major role in the development of the Commonwealth Offsets Policy, will be our guest speaker. 

RSVP to Julie Melrose: campaign@conservationcouncil.org.au

 The fit out of our new office begins!

Executive Director Clare Henderson and Assistant Director Projects discussed the floor plans for our new office with the builders this week as the long awaited office fit out begins. We are making sure our new office will be a showcase of sustainability. Energy, water, waste, transport and purchasing with minimal environmental impact will be considered in all facets of the fit out and operation of the new office.
 
Some of the sustainability initiatives forming part of the new office include:
  • North facing office to make the most of solar gain throughout the office
  • Insulated plywood flooring throughout 
  • Recycled furniture, including desks and other appliances
  • Energy efficient lighting with the use of LEDs, purchased with a Sustainability Grant from ActewAGL 
  • Open plan area that makes the most of natural light and solar gain
  • Manual override switches on air conditioning and heating to control thermostat and save energy;
  • A sustainable office and transport guide
  • The use of indoor plants and artworks to enhance the natural aesthetics of the office environment and to make the office an inspiring and productive place to be in
The move will take place in early July 2013. We will be located on the Ground floor, Lena Karmel Lodge (part of UniLodge @ ANU), 26 Barry Drive, Canberra. We look forward to welcoming member groups and others from the community to our new sustainable place of work.
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Discover the Treasures of Tuggeranong


On the 16 April the Conservation Council launched Tuggeranong’s Treasures, the third in our Treasures series. Tuggeranong’s Treasures celebrates the heritage, history and beautiful natural features of the Tuggeranong Valley. The booklet describes nine cultural heritage sites and seven natural heritage sites and also includes a guide to plants and animals likely to be spotted in the area.

This publication was a collaboration between individuals and groups who are passionate about the ecological and historical values of the area. The Conservation Council collated the collective information through funding support from the ACT Government Heritage Grants Program. The book will guide residents and visitors to outdoor activities to enjoy in the valley while gaining an understanding of the valley’s heritage and environment.

To order your own copy of Tuggeranong's Treasures, Gungahlin's Treasures or Belconnen's Treasures please email the Conservation Council.

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North Gungahlin Strategic Environmental Assessment

During March and April, the Conservation Council actively participated in the consultation around the Strategic Environmental Assessment of urban development expansion at North Gungahlin, including holding a member's forum on the 28 March. A forum was held during the consultation period for members and experts to ask questions and raise issues with the Principal Consultant for the assessment. The forum was very informative and well attended by key members of the conservation community, ACT and Federal Government Departments.
 
The Conservation Council was pleased to work with its member groups such as Friends of Grasslands, Canberra Ornithologists Group and National Parks Association of the ACT to highlight key issues and “sticking points” in regard to the conservation of biodiversity at North Gungahlin, including for example:
  • the importance of the development of an ACT offsets policy and register to ensure the use of offsets is consistent and achieves positive biodiversity outcomes 
  • the appropriate size and management of buffer zones between urban development, protected areas and species
  • the importance of minimising indirect impacts of development on the Superb Parrot in Throsby (such as the impact of invasive species like the Common Myna)
  • the terms of reference and financial commitment to the establishment of a ‘Plan Implementation Team’ to manage direct and indirect offsets, as well as arguing for a community representative on the team. 
We look forward to seeing the outcome of the SEA process and ensuring that commitments to biodiversity conservation are met under the Biodiversity Plan. Please contact us if you would like a copy of our submission.

What is a Strategic Environmental Assessment? These are landscape scale assessments undertaken to enable environment and heritage protection and biodiversity conservation under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Unlike a project-by-project assessment, which will look at individual actions, an SEA considers a much broader set of actions.

Member Group Feature - Bush Heritage Australia


Bush Heritage is a national non-profit organisation that protects Australia’s unique animals, plants and their habitats. Thanks to generous supporters, Bush Heritage currently owns and manages 35 reserves throughout Australia, covering over 960 000 hectares. The reserves are managed in a similar way to national parks – the land is legally protected, with the intention of safeguarding it forever. They also build partnerships with other landowners, to manage important areas of their land for conservation. These partnerships account for a further 2.5 million hectares of land under conservation management. You can find out more about volunteering, donating or supporting at http://www.bushheritage.org.au/





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Global Warming: Do the Math - Bill McKibben

Award-winning author and environmentalist Bill McKibben is coming to the ANU to speak about global warming and our country’s planned expansion of coal mining.
When: Wednesday 5th June @ 7:30pm – 9pm
Where: Manning Clarke Theatre 1
Info: http://billmckibbencanberra.eventbrite.com.au/
Also, “Do the Maths” film screening, 6pm, MCLT, 16 of May and National Press Club talk at the National Press Club, $70, 12.30pm, Thursday, 6 June
For further information go to http://maths.350.org/australia/ or contact Tim Hollo from 350.org, 0409518452 or Geoff Lazarus, Climate Active Australia, 0419 369 206
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Fossil Fuel Damages - Who Pays?

Conservation Council member groups Climate Action Canberra and Nature and Society Forum, along with the Public Health Alliance, will present a workshop to explore the feasibility of a project to obtain a legal ruling on who is responsible for the legal liability for payment of damages and/or compensation to those adversely affected by the health and social effects of coal and unconventional gas use.
When: 15 May at 7:30pm
Where: ANU's Frank Fenner Building, cnr of Daley Rd and Linnaeus Way
Info: http://www.natsoc.org.au/events

National Campaigns

  • Save the Reef - take action to save the Great Barrier Reef from dredging for coal seam gas facilities and the reckless expansion of the coal industry. Sign the petitions from Greenpeace and GetUp or participate in the national day of action tomorrow organised by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition - Canberra event details on Facebook.
  • Paid to Pollute - end polluter handouts! The Australian government gives over $10 billion worth of handouts to big polluters every year! Take action now, before the federal budget on 13 May, and tell the government it’s time to end polluter handouts.

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Support our work

We are a non-profit, non-government organisation. Help safe-guard the ACT's environment by becoming an 'EcoACTivist' with a regular monthly donation. One off donations are also appreciated. All are tax deductible.

How you can help:
  • Make a one off donation here.
  • Make a regular monthly 'EcoACTivist' donation here.
  • Donate over the phone on 02 6229 3200.
  • Bequest a gift for the future by contacting Clare Henderson, Executive Director on 02 6229 3200 or email to request a brochure.
  • Volunteer your skills and knowledge.
Our 'Bush Capital' thanks you!
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