Biodiversity Forum

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Biodiversity Forum

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The issue

The NSW Government released a controversial piece of legislation in May, 2016 that proposed reforms to long-standing biodiversity laws. Many GSLN members expressed interest in understanding these legislative changes, how they affect their work or volunteering and the environment, though few workshops educating the public about the proposed legislation were available in the Greater Sydney area.

The solution

GSLN organised an event titled Maintaining Biodiversity and Land Management Law Reform to educate interested people in Greater Sydney to the key issues in the debate surrounding the law reforms as part of Landcare NSW’s LEARN SHARE CONNECT series. The event also aimed to raise awareness about GSLN and the Network’s profile in the region.

The forum featured a morning session with case studies from landscape scale volunteer bushcarers’/ landcarers’, land managers’ and farmers’ projects in Greater Sydney. After lunch, expert panel speakers representing Environmental Defenders Office (Rachel Walmsley), Ecological Consultants Association (Dr Martin Denny), NSW Farmers (Adair Moar), Local Land Services (David Warburton), and Research lecturer in corporate social responsibility and sustainability, Dr Neil Perry, presented on the reforms and then answered questions from the floor from audience members with specific questions.

The impact

A boosted Facebook post for the event reached nearly 5,000 people, resulting in 147 likes, 45 shares, and 148 post clicks. Over 50 people from all over the Greater Sydney area attended the forum. GSLN collected many forms submitted with feedback on the legislation, which was collated into a submission to Government and also submitted to Landcare NSW. Many attendees expressed concern that the proposed legislation would relax environmental regulations, lead to development of remnant bushland fragments and further environmental destruction.

Feedback was also received on the forum itself, with valuable insight gained about the value of the forum to members and how our forums can be improved in the future. The majority of feedback indicated that the forum helped improve attendees’ understanding of the proposed legislation and thought the forum was good for the community. Four new members joined GSLN as a result of the forum, 3 groups and 1 business, which reach thousands of individuals in Greater Sydney.

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Key facts

  • Featured case studies on restoration projects
  • Included expert panel
  • Over 50 people attended
  • Feedback from members & attendees
  • Increase in membership

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