President's Annual Report

Presidents Report to the 55th AGM of Noosa Parks Association for year ending December 2016

Noosa Parks Association has now been protecting Noosa’s environment, both natural and built, for 55 years.

In 1962 we formed to prevent proposed development around the coastline of Noosa’s headland, and to have it protected as national park. Then within a few years we were leading what turned out to be Noosa’s thirty year plus struggle to prevent highrise buildings.

Each year for the past 55 years, NPA has been in the business of protecting Noosa’s superb natural environment, preferably by progressive conversion of the most significant areas to national park, while at the same time campaigning for low-key and human-scale development that sits lightly on the natural regional landscape, while fiercely opposing, if necessarily legally, development that doesn’t.

Our successes have made us the largest and most successful volunteer driven and local community environmental organisation in Australia. Out top line results speak for themselves.

Over the past 55 years we’ve taken the Noosa region’s national park estate from just over 200 hectares to 90,000 plus hectares spread across an extended Noosa National Park (from approx 200 ha to approx 3,000 ha), Cooloola National Park (from zero to  approx. 85,000 ha) and more recently Tewantin National Park (from zero to approx 3,500 ha).

At the same time we’ve led the Noosa community’s expectations for an enlightened Noosa town planning approach that delivers a built environment that respects the self-renewing capacities of local ecosystems, best exemplified by Noosa’s ground breaking town planning population or development cap.

Year 2016 saw NPA continuing this tradition by progressing two bold new initiatives: a ‘bring back the fish’ project to start rebuilding the once prolific abundance and marine biodiversity of  the Noosa River and Lakes system and  Laguna Bay; and a  ‘connecting up our national parks’ project to start linking up Cooloola, Tewantin and Noosa National Parks.

For these two major initiatives to be successful, NPA is committing to invest significant volunteer and financial resources. Over the past decade we have been quietly and successfully developing a business model to enable such investment. NPA volunteers at the Noosa National Park Visitor Information Centre and at Double Island Point are generating income of over $100,000 per year.

Income generated by NPA volunteers at Double Island Point is enabling us to initiate the ‘bring back the fish’ project, investing some $45,000 over a three year period in order to lever investment funding in excess of $400,000 from the Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation and The Thomas Foundation.

Income generated by NPA volunteers at Noosa National Park Information Centre is being placed in a dedicated NPA fund to facilitate the transfer of environmentally significant land into perpetually protected conservation tenures under Queensland’s Nature Conservation Act: National Park, Conservation Park, or Nature Refuge. In 2016 NPA identified a significant opportunity to start linking Tewantin and Cooloola National Parks, and initiated commercial-in-confidence discussions with Qeensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Noosa Council about each party funding one third of the cost of achieving this.  Because the discussions are commercial in confidence, further detail cannot be released at this stage, but I look forward to being able to report success in my 2017 President’s report.

Clearly NPA’s dedicated volunteers at Noosa National Park and at Double Island Point are now NPA’s frontline heroines and heroes in enabling NPA to be in a position to propose and lever these significant conservation projects. On behalf of all NPA members, I thank them for their contribution.

As has been the case for many years, during 2016 NPA’s range of community educational, recreational and social groups have been active: NPA Friday Environment Forum, NPA Greening Noosa, NPA Noosa National Park Weeders, NPA Bird Observers Group, NPA Botany Group, NPA Cooloola Bushwalkers, NPA Noosa Trampers, and NPA Extended Outings. On behalf of all NPA members, I thank all involved.

Finally, on behalf of all at NPA, I wish to acknowledge the significant contributions of NPA’s 2016 Management Committee and Volunteer Project Officers: Darlene Gower and Duncan Hogg (vice Presidents), Liz Smits (Acting Hon Sec), David Anderson            (Treasurer), Valerie Williams, Prue McGowan, John Chester Freeman, and Mike Sackett (Committee Members), Bryan Walsh (Noosa River and Lakes voluntary PO), Darlene Gower (DIP voluntary PO), Kay Cartwright and Valerie Williams (NNP VIC voluntary POs), Duncan Hogg and Gina Carruthers (Forests voluntary POs), Vivien Griffin (Climate Change voluntary PO), Libby Winter (Noosa Surfing Reserve PO), Richard Erhardt (Girraween and West Lake Weyba voluntary PO), and Mike Sackett and Di Shun Wah (voluntary FEF POs).

Dr Michael Gloster OAM

President

Noosa Parks Association.


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