WHEN IT COMES TO PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT, THE COMMUNITY TAKES THE LEAD

On World Environment Day, Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters MP met with members of the Biolinks Alliance and the Bendigo Field Naturalists to raise awareness and action for the protection of local native species at risk due to habitat destruction and climate change.

“Environmental issues are really important to Central Victorians. We live in a beautiful part of the world and I have spoken to many individuals, groups and organisations about their concerns for the future,” said Ms Chesters.

The Biolinks Alliance brings together 18 Landcare and environment networks from the Grampians to the Victorian Alps and from the Macedon Ranges to the Murray River.

“Science is showing us that species need to be able to move over large scales of 200-400 km to allow them to adapt to climate change. Connecting landscapes through private land at large scales is now internationally recognised as vital to conserve nature – with our National Parks simply not enough on their own.

“People have been working hard to keep their patch alive, to fight species loss but they’ve been working with little support and few formal networks for landscape scale conservation. There is a real danger that local individual conservation efforts will be wasted,” said James Nellson, Facilitator of Loddon Plains Landcare Network and Biolinks Alliance board member.

“From failing to act on land clearing to the largest removal of marine conservation in history, this Government has failed the environment.

“The Biolinks Alliance has really stepped into the gap. This innovative group has come together to coordinate action and pool resources to give our threatened environments and species a better chance,” said Ms Chesters.

Executive Director of the Biolinks Alliance Dr Sophie Bickford hopes that this ground-up movement will inspire more people to become involved in caring for our environment.

“For real change to happen, there has to be ambitious collective action – from individuals, to local Landcare groups to State and Federal government, we need to work together.”

The Biolinks Alliance is holding the 3rd of its unique central Victorian science and practice symposia in Ararat on June 22 & 23rd. With a focus on water, it will be looking at how we reconnect our rivers, floodplains, swamps and soaks. Key speakers for the symposium include Professor Nick Bond from the Murray Darling Research Centre, Professor Don Driscoll Director of the Centre for Integrative Ecology, Deakin University and Darren Griffin from Barengi Gadjin Land Council.

More information about the Biolinks Alliance and tickets for the symposium are available at www.biolinksalliance.org.au