Annual Report 1997-1998 | Australian Alps Program

Australian Alps Liaison Committee
ISSN 1320-8594

Introduction

Mr. Brendan Symth, MLA
Minister for Urban Services (ACT)

The Hon. Pam Allan
Minister for the Environment (New South Wales)

The Hon. Marie Tehan
Minister for Conservation & Land Management (Victoria)

Senator the Hon. Robert Hill
Minister for the Environment (Commonwealth)

Dear Ministers,

We have pleasure in presenting the report of the Australian Alps Liaison Committee for the period 1st July 1997 to 30th June 1998 in accordance with the requirements of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Cooperative Management of the Australian Alps.

Yours sincerely

Dr Colin Adrian
Executive Director
Parks & Conservation Service
Environment ACT
Brian Gilligan
Director General
NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service
Mark Stone
Chief Executive
Parks Victoria
Colin Griffiths
Director of National Parks & Wildlife
Environment Australia

Return to top

Foreword

The year 1997/98 was one of further achievement for the Australian Alps national parks in attaining excellence through a continuing strong program of cross-border cooperation. I am pleased to include in this report the realisation of a number of significant projects that emphasise this level of cooperation.

As in other years, agencies and staff involved in the cooperative management program can be justifiably proud of the projects that have been conducted to enhance consistency in the management of the unique alpine and sub-alpine environments of mainland Australia.

A major initiative completed was the commissioning and implementation of an external evaluation by management consultants AACM International. The review examined the effectiveness and relevance of the Australian Alps cooperative management program. The Australian Alps Liaison Committee (AALC) was found to be highly regarded for having addressed matters of coordination across the Australian Alps national parks in a world-class manner, and for delivering excellent value for the relatively modest annual investment.

Consistent with AACM’s recommendations I am pleased to report that the AALC has implemented a number of changes relating to the increased involvement of Working Group Convenors in the development of the annual works program. The AACM assessment also identified that the investment by participating agencies acts as a significant catalyst in achieving economies of scale in developing best practice guidelines, staff training and resource manuals along with community education materials.

The role and activities of the AALC in introducing innovation, providing a forum for staff networking and coordination continues to be highly valued by staff managing the Australian Alps national parks. The Committee’s works program provides an opportunity for the professional development of staff that may not be otherwise available. The response of staff has been to give their time in addition to their normal duties, to become involved with and ensure the success of the Alps program. Without this level of staff commitment and the energy and enthusiasm of the working groups, the overall program would not have received international recognition as a model of excellence in achieving cross-border cooperation.

During the year a number of major reports and investigations were completed which provide guidance for agencies in their management of the Australian alpine environment and its sustainable use. Education, staff training, natural and cultural resources have all been targeted in the past year and valuable outcomes achieved. Recreation management was also identified as an issue and through the work program a model aimed at assisting managers to gather information about the range of settings and activities they manage is being developed.

The year has seen the program management of the MOU transferred to Environment ACT, with the secondment of Brett McNamara as the Program Coordinator from the ACT Parks and Conservation Service. I would like to record my sincere thanks to Neville Byrne, former Program Coordinator, for the outstanding job he has done in coordinating and promoting the Alps program over the past three years. The membership of the AALC has also changed during the year, the Liaison Committee’s thanks go to outgoing members Gregor Manson (NSW NPWS), Bob Jones (Parks Victoria) and Peter Hann (ACT Parks & Conservation Service) who served on the Committee during this period.

Lee Thomas
Environment Australia, Convenor, Australian Alps Liaison Committee

Return to top

Australian Alps cooperative management program

Stretching from Canberra through the Brindabella Range in the ACT, the Snowy Mountains of NSW and along the Great Dividing Range through Victoria, the alpine and subalpine environment is a unique part of Australia, a mountainous biogeographical region in a predominantly dry and flat continent.

The national parks and reserves in the Australian Alps cross State and Territory borders, forming a 1.6 million hectare chain of protected areas across Australia. Eight conservation reserves are collectively referred to as the Australian Alps national parks. The major reserves, Kosciuszko, Namadgi, Alpine and Snowy River National Parks, are well known to much of the community of south-eastern Australia. Brindabella National Park, Bimberi Nature Reserve, Scabby Range Nature Reserve and the Avon Wilderness are also becoming better known. This cooperation ensures the national parks and reserves in the Alps are managed as one biogeographical entity.

Other conservation areas and resorts with alpine and subalpine environments on the mainland and in Tasmania also benefit from regular contact and information developed through the cooperative management approach to the Australian Alps national parks.

As well as containing Australia’s highest peaks, the majority of its mainland hydro-electricity generating resources, and primary water supplies for Canberra and mountain towns, the Australian Alps national parks also protect Australia’s unique alpine flora and fauna, a rich Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal heritage and a highly valued recreation resource for many Australians.

To assist conservation agencies to manage these precious resources in comparable and compatible ways, the Ministers responsible for the management of alpine areas in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Victoria, in conjunction with the Commonwealth Environment Minister, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in relation to the cooperative management of the Australian Alps (MOU) in July 1986. The MOU was revised and re-signed in 1989 when self-government in the ACT and the new Alpine National Park in Victoria led to amendments to the original document. It has been further amended and re-signed since then; with the latest commitment being made in 1996.

Return to top

Vision Statement

The vision of the Australian Alps cooperative management program is one of participating Agencies working in partnership to achieve excellence in conservation management and sustainable use through a strong program of cross-border cooperation.

Return to top

Mission

Through the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) participating agencies cooperate in the management of the Australian Alps national parks to promote:

  1. the growth and enhancement of inter-governmental cooperative management to protect the nationally important values of the Australian Alps national parks, and
  2. cooperate in the management of the Australian Alps national parks for the:
    • protection of the unique mountain landscape;
    • protection of the natural and cultural values specific to the Australian Alps;
    • provision of outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities to encourage the enjoyment and understanding of the alpine environment;
    • protection of mountain catchments.

To achieve this mission, the agencies which are party to the MOU will continue to strive for excellence in their own corporate missions.

Agencies will cooperate in establishing best practice management to protect the scenery, water catchments, and natural and cultural heritage of the Australian Alps, while providing the opportunities for the public appreciation and sustainable enjoyment of our parks.

Return to top

Terms of Agreement

The working arrangements agreed to under the MOU require agencies to:

  • consult in the preparation and amendment of management plans to ensure complementary policies and management practices throughout the Australian Alps national parks.
  • consult on resource data collection and, where possible, cooperate in joint actions and other operations relevant to the coordinated protection of the values of the Australian Alps national parks.
  • exchange information, ideas and expertise relevant to the protection of the nationally important values of the Australian Alps national parks, and cooperate in the training of staff to manage the Australian Alps national parks.
  • cooperate in the enhancement and monitoring of public awareness programs about the Australian Alps national parks.
  • cooperate to provide opportunities for public participation in the management of the Australian Alps national parks.
  • strive to adopt complementary recreation management policies and where appropriate, provide recreation facilities and services to enable visitors to effectively use adjacent areas.

Return to top

Lands Under the MOU

Areas covered by the MOU include:

Victoria Size (ha)
Alpine National Park 645 615
Snowy River National Park 98 100
Avon Wilderness Park 39 650
New South Wales Size (ha)
Kosciuszko National Park 690 000
Brindabella National Park 12 000
Scabby Range Nature Reserve 3 449
Bimberi Nature Reserve 7 100
Australian Capital Territory Size (ha)
Namadgi National Park 105 900

Return to top

Organisational Structure

Under the MOU, a Liaison Committee is established comprising of an officer from each of the MOU agencies. The function of the Committee is to coordinate the development and implementation of cooperative work programs and other arrangements made under the MOU.

A Program Coordinator is seconded from one of the agencies. Mr Neville Byrne, who was seconded from Parks Victoria, completed his final year in the Program Coordinator’s position.

A number of working groups are established to advise the Liaison Committee on specific matters, and to assist with the implementation of the cooperative management program. Under the Liaison Committee guidelines, working groups may be disbanded once their objectives have been achieved.

Return to top

Program Budget

To assist in the achievement of the objectives of the MOU, an equitable financial contribution is made by each of the agencies to a central account managed by the Program Coordinator within the accounting system of the Program Coordinator’s agency. During April 1998, the position of Program Coordinator was vacated by Neville Byrne (Parks Victoria) and filled by Brett McNamara (ACT Parks & Conservation Service).

A total annual budget of $400,000 is provided from the agencies with Victoria, New South Wales and the Commonwealth governments contributing $120,000 each and the Australian Capital Territory $40,000.

Allocation of funds is made by the Liaison Committee and approved through each of the MOU agencies. Project proposals are sought from staff within the agencies and must be within the goals of the strategic plan. Working groups consider the projects submitted and make recommendations to the Liaison Committee. Individual officers who represent their agency on the various working groups or alternatively identified project officers, oversee and manage the projects. The financial statement for the reporting period is presented in Attachment 2.

Return to top

Australian Alps Liaison Committee

The Memorandum of Understanding makes provision for the Australian Alps Liaison Committee to be established to coordinate cooperation between agencies involved in the management of the Australian Alps national parks.

Membership of the Australian Alps Liaison Committee (AALC) is defined in the MOU to be a senior officer of each of the relevant land management agencies in ACT, NSW and Victoria together with a senior officer from the relevant Commonwealth government department dealing with conservation reserves.

The AALC members are managers with direct responsibility for implementing the projects and outcomes of the cooperative management program within the Australian Alps national parks. These senior officers are also able to approve the involvement of field staff in the various programs, training and projects that make up the Australian Alps cooperative management program.

Return to top

Working Group Structure

Working Groups are established to guide and direct the implementation of the Australian Alps annual works program in conjunction with the Australian Alps Liaison Committee.

Working Group members operate as a team with similar staff from other land management agencies involved in managing the Australian Alps national parks. Working Group tasks include seeking new cooperative projects in the key result areas as outlined in the Strategic Plan, recommending priority projects for Australian Alps funding, and managing consultants and project officers to complete approved projects on time and within budgets.

The criteria for membership of a working group is based on the technical skills and expertise that an individual officer can bring to achieving the objectives of the working group under the Australian Alps Strategic Plan.

The Australian Alps Liaison Committee seeks to achieve a balance in terms of practical field experience and specialist advice within the membership of the working groups. Working groups benefit from having more than one agency representative, allowing the workload and demands placed on the group to be spread across the board. Membership of the working groups also encourages professional development and fosters a holistic approach to viewing and managing the Australian Alps national parks.

During the reporting period four working groups operated under the Australian Alps cooperative management program. Refer to program structure, Attachment 1.

  • Community Relations Working Group
  • Natural Heritage Working Group
  • Cultural Heritage Working Group
  • Recreation and Tourism Working Group

The Strategic Plan for the cooperative management of the Australian Alps identifies the main areas for works under the MOU including key result areas. Working Groups take primary responsibility for projects in each specific key result area.

Return to top

Key Result Areas

Community Awareness

Community Education

Increased public awareness of the important values of the Australian Alps is a major goal of the cooperative management arrangement. Awareness is achieved through publicising, particularly in regional media, the programs and projects that enhance the management of the Australian Alps through cooperation.

A part-time Community Education Officer Ms Cath Renwick, was appointed to increase the community awareness of the values of the Australian Alps and of the benefits of the cooperative management program. The Education Officer supported both the Community Relations and Recreation & Tourism Working Groups and worked on a range of projects. These projects included finalising two Community Service Announcements for television, assisting with the organisation and promotion of the Annual Field Workshop and developing an exhibition on the flora of the Australian Alps for the Australian National Botanical Gardens.

Regional media is one of the most effective modes for informing neighbours, local government and interested individuals of the progress of projects and cooperation in managing the Australian Alps. Over 20 media releases and feature articles were supplied to regional media and over 100 news and current affairs stories about the Australian Alps were carried by broadcast and print media organisations.

Field Guide to the Australian Alps

A major review of the anticipated Field Guide was undertaken and comparisons made with other field guides covering the Australian Alps and other conservation reserves. This resulted in a much more focussed project that will be habitat based, and will not directly compete with privately produced guides for the Australian Alps. When complete, the Field Guide will help to increase community understanding and appreciation of the unique natural heritage values of the alpine and sub-alpine environments and the importance of conserving the Alps.

The target audience for the Field Guide is the general visiting public who may not have training or experience in the scientific or taxonomic identification of alpine species.

Annual Report

Reporting on the activities and successes of the cooperative management program is an essential task of the Liaison Committee to raise awareness and to communicate the benefits of the MOU. The 1996/97 annual report provides a review of the Australian Alps cooperative management program for that year, the organisational make-up of the Liaison Committee and Working Groups and contains the financial report on projects undertaken. The report continues to serve as an important information source on the cooperative management program for members of the public, tertiary institutions and libraries. Over 600 copies were distributed.

Internet Web Site

The Australian Alps national parks web site was further developed and expanded to include copies of the Australian Alps newsletter, abstracts from recent publications and a full copy of the Annual Report. The Web site is supported by Environment Australia, and information at the site covers the parks that make up the Australian Alps, key issues and values of the Australian Alps from nature and water conservation to seasonal grazing, recreation opportunities, resources for further study and a questions & answers section.

The Australian Alps site can be found at: www.australianalps.environment.gov.au

In addition to the Alps Homepage, the year also saw the launch of the Australian Institute of Alpine Studies (AIAS) web site. The Australian Institute of Alpine Studies is an umbrella organisation for alpine researchers of all disciplines. The Institute has no permanent geographic location other than a web site address in cyberspace. The aims of the AIAS are to promote research in the alpine and sub-alpine areas of Australia, to share information on current alpine research both in Australia and overseas while liaising with international mountain research organisations and to convene a biennial seminar session on alpine research.

The web site can be found at : www.aias.org.au

Tour Operator Training

Another popular series of Tour Operator training workshops was held in Kosciuszko National Park. The three-day residential workshop was a precursor in developing an accredited training module for tour operators in the Australian Alps national parks. The workshop supported the regional tourism industry by providing quality information and interpretation training and promoted increased cooperation between Australian Alps national parks and the broad tourism industry.

Community Service Announcements

Final versions of the 30 and 60 seconds community service announcements were released to regional television stations around the Australian Alps and nearby capital cities. Television stations during normal programming free of charge are running the community service announcements. The Community Service Announcement aims to inform the public about the unique aspects of the Australian Alps as a single bio-region which crosses state and territory borders and the role played by the Australian Alps national parks agencies in working together to manage and protect this region.

Return to top

Natural Heritage Conservation

Alps Invaders – weed identification booklet

This guide to weeds of the Australian Alps national parks has been produced for those concerned about weed invasion in our parks. By identifying weeds that pose the greatest threat to native vegetation, all users and visitors to these parks can assist land managers to locate and control the spread of these invasive species.

A large number of weed species described in the book invaded the Australian Alps many years ago. Others are more recent arrivals. All pose a threat to the long-term survival of wildflowers and other vegetation in the Australian Alps, as well as a threat to the food source of native animals. The weed booklet includes over 50 existing and potentially invasive weed species and provides an avenue for visitors and others to report the occurrence of particular species to park managers.

Fire Management and Fauna

The impact of fire on native fauna is not well understood. A detailed investigation of available reports on the impacts of fire on alpine and sub-alpine native species has reinforced the need for additional studies to be undertaken. Such studies to develop information, which will allow managers to predict the likely impacts and effects, prescribed burning and wildfire will have on native species in alpine and sub-alpine regions. The current project collates all available reference material on the specific habitat of alpine fauna into a database for use by fire planning and incident management staff across the agencies.

Spot-tailed Quoll

Video surveillance cameras were established at quoll latrine sites to provide further information and population data that will assist the protection of this potentially threatened species. The monitoring of latrine sites will provide land managers a better understanding of the behavioural interactions of quolls along with foxes and dogs at these sites.

A report, which examines the risk posed to Spot-tailed Quolls by the buried bait technique, was released during the year. The report “Tigers and 1080: The Threat posed by buried poison baits to spot-tailed Quolls in the Australian Alps national parks” indicated that dog control programs can be “quoll-friendly” if baits are buried to a depth of at least 10cm or more.

A determined effort has been made to produce a series of recommendations that can be applied in the field. The recommendations are designed to minimise the risk of Spot-tailed Quolls locating and consuming baits, and at the same time ensuring that successful and cost-effective canid control programs can be undertaken. The conservation of the endangered Spot-tailed Quoll will rely heavily on the adoption of appropriate predator control techniques within the Australian Alps national parks.

Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby

During the previous year, studies identified the remaining habitat sites of the endangered Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby (BTRW) in the Australian Alps national parks. Only four small and isolated communities remain occupied by BTRW in the Australian Alps; all of these are located in highly inaccessible areas adjacent to the Snowy River in the Snowy River National Park (Vic.).

A further project was undertaken to identify the key parameters to be taken into account in the monitoring of these remaining populations. An effective and species-sensitive monitoring program is also vital before any re-introductions of the Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby are commenced.

Rabbit Calicivirus Disease

The spread and effectiveness of the rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD) in the higher altitude and wetter areas of South Eastern Australia has been significantly slower and less devastating on rabbit populations than in other drier areas of Australia. This has resulted in a much-reduced impact of the virus on rabbit populations in and around the Australian Alps national parks.

The program of monitoring rabbit populations and their response to the virus along with the associated impact of prey-switching by foxes continued at a reduced scale to take account of the slower acting effects of the rabbit calicivirus. The results are expected to provide alpine park managers with better information on which to base fox control programs to ensure the optimal survival of native species as RCD spreads into alpine and sub-alpine environments.

Costin Photographic Collection

Over 1,500 photographs taken during scientific survey work throughout the Australian Alps over the past 50 years were catalogued and archived for future research and referencing. The project has resulted in the long-term protection of highly valuable scientific records of prominent alpine researchers such as Alec Costin and Dane Wimbush.

Significant photographs were also selected to show the long-term changes that occur to alpine environments as a result of fire, rehabilitation and reduction of grazing pressure.

A selection of the most important scientific and illustrative records have been transferred to CD-ROM to enable greater access by teachers, researchers and the general public to this wealth of information on the process, threats and recovery of alpine and sub-alpine environments.

Broom Strategy Review

In 1992 a strategy was developed to control the spread of Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) in the Australian Alps. During the year a very successful Broom Workshop was held to discuss the progress to date, determine the ongoing problems and revisit the strategy.

Key stakeholders from the Keith Turnbull Research Institute along with representatives from CSIRO and NSW State Forest provided delegates with up-to-date information on biological control agents such as the Broom controlling twig-mining moth and seed-eating Brucchid. The Australian Alps national parks assisted in providing financial support in establishing “nursery sites” for these important biological control agents, ongoing monitoring of their success is continuing.

Disturbed Mountain Catchments

Training of field staff in the most effective methods of protecting and rehabilitating disturbed mountain catchments was undertaken. Major threats to mountain catchments including resort development, access and industry infrastructure were considered. A training manual is being developed to provide ongoing support into a number of techniques which can be employed by field staff and contractors when undertaking work within the Australian Alps national parks.

Global Threats to Snow Conference

An international conference to examine the potential impacts of global warming on the Australian Alps was held during the year to explore the long-term implications for management. The conference resulted from land managers concerns on the impacts of increased ultraviolet light due to the thinning of the ozone layer and the predicted models of global warming facing the Australian Alps.

The conference brought together experts from Australia and overseas in fields as diverse as meteorology, climate modelling, glaciology, pedology, zoology and botany. The participants explored the possible consequences of global warming and increased levels of ultraviolet light on the natural environment of the Australian Alps.

The conference provided the framework for future cooperative research and monitoring and the means to compile an inventory of our present knowledge.

The results of this stocktake have been presented in the book “Snow: A natural history – an uncertain future” edited by Dr Ken Green from the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service.

Return to top

Cultural Heritage Conservation

Oral Histories of the Australian Alps

Several years ago, the Australian Alps Liaison Committee commissioned a project to record the oral histories of Aboriginal communities throughout the Australian Alps as well as European oral histories and experiences in the high country.

To enable the information to be widely available to researchers and the general community, the Australian Alps recently had the tapes transferred to archive quality format for long-term storage and protection in the National Library Canberra. Duplicate copies of the tapes were also provided to each of the participating agencies.

Human Movement Pathways Project

A preliminary report on how people accessed and used the Australian Alps in bygone days was received. The project plots the routes used by Aborigines, explorers, pastoralists, miners and even postal deliveries. The locations of these access routes is of great interest to park managers in their efforts to ensure that any evidence such as scar trees, bridal paths or stockyards are protected and, if appropriate, interpreted. Many of the pathways used over the ages actually overlap, as could be expected as successive patterns of movement (eg. exploration, mining) follow the easiest paths used by Aboriginal communities through and around the Australian Alps.

Cultural Significance of the Australian Alps

A major report to examine the cultural values of the Australian Alps national parks against international criteria was commenced during the year. The examination extends the earlier AALC work in convening a symposium (1991) that identified the range of cultural values in the Australian Alps, from Aboriginal heritage through various phases of occupation and use such as exploration, grazing and mining to more recent land uses of tourism and hydro-electricity generation. The assessment against international criteria will document the significance of the cultural values in international terms and provide a greater understanding of the need to protect cultural values of international importance.

Return to top

Visitor Facilities & Services

Australian Alps Walking Track Management Strategy

The Australian Alps Walking Track, opened in 1995, provides an identified route through the Australian Alps between Walhalla in Victoria and Tharwa on the outskirts of Canberra. In 1997, the Australian Alps Liaison Committee allocated funding for the development of a management strategy to ensure the ongoing consistent management of the track by all three agencies.

The Australian Alps Walking Track and its accompanying Map Guide have been one of the most popular publications of the Australian Alps. The management strategy team established to ensure the Australian Alps Walking Track is maintained in a condition acceptable to users, continued its valuable work of identifying particular sections of the 650 km track that are in need of attention.

The involvement of key walking groups including the Federation of Victorian Walking Clubs and the Canberra Bushwalking Club is vital to ensure user group input into the long-term management of this important track.

In addition, work was completed to install information displays at each end of the 650 kilometre Australian Alps Walking Track along with the installation of interpretive signs at strategic locations along the track. The trailhead displays at Walhalla in Victoria and the Namadgi Visitors’ Centre in the ACT provide visitors to these locations with an overview of the track and encourages people to experience at least a small section of the track.

Vehicle Touring Guide

The visitor guide documents 2WD and 4WD touring routes through the Australian Alps national parks and includes easy to follow routes into and through the parks. Six different sub-regional sections help visitors to follow circuit routes to take in the wide range of features able to be visited in each local area.

A ‘Grand Tour’ also documents a two-wheel drive holiday through all the national parks in the Australian Alps. Small location maps provide visitors with short walks and wilderness views along the touring routes. The joint publication (with Beaten Track Press and New Holland Publishers) is the first partnership between the Australian Alps Liaison Committee and a commercial publisher to market the values and recreation opportunities of the Australian Alps.

Lookout Interpretive Displays

Many people get their first glimpse of the Australian Alps from major lookout points located outside the Australian Alps national parks. In conjunction with owners and managers of key lookouts near the Australian Alps, a series of interpretive panels are being developed for installation at these key vantage points. A multi-year program has been developed to locate interpretative signage for visitors to areas near the Australian Alps in Victoria, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory.

The first interpretative lookout sign was installed at The Horn, Mt Buffalo, from which visitors are able to identify the major mountains of the Australian Alps from Mt Howitt to Mt Kosciuszko and Mt Jagungal. A second information display and illustrative diagrams was installed in the Telstra Tower at Black Mountain in the Australian Capital Territory. Visitors to this popular tourist destination can now appreciate the northern end of the Australian Alps including Kosciuszko, Namadgi and Brindabella National Parks.

Recreation Management Strategy

A model for assessing and managing recreational impacts in various settings was introduced to participants at the annual field workshop. The model looks at the recreational settings and environmental management factors inherent across the Australian Alps and provides a suite of acceptable methods for dealing with those impacts.

A comprehensive management planning program was developed for Agency staff to use when confronted with managing recreational impacts in a range of settings. This planning tool was further developed and promoted through a staff training seminar at Currango Homestead (New South Wales).

This consistent guide to identifying the acceptability of the impact and the options for minimising these, enables staff to implement management actions so that visitors to the Australian Alps are not confronted with a confusing array of approaches to impact management in similar environments.

Bushwalking Code

A further 100,000 copies of the popular Bushwalking Code were reproduced during the year. This code is the most popular in the series of minimal impact recreation codes produced by the Australian Alps Liaison Committee. The Tasmania park service requested over 6,000 copies of the popular code for use throughout the state.

The leaflet explains minimal impact bushwalking techniques. Fortunately many walkers have adopted a new bushwalking ethic, minimal impact bushwalking. Without it we run the very real danger of ‘loving our natural areas to death’.

By learning to ‘walk softly’, we can minimise the damage to the natural environment and reduce the need for restrictions on walker numbers and track closures.

Return to top

Management Expertise

Ecological Sustainable Symposium

Fifteen staff from across the Australian Alps management agencies attended a one-day symposium organised by the Royal Society of Victoria. With highly regarded guest presenters, participants were exposed to the full range of scientific research conducted in the alpine areas of Victoria over the past thirty years. Delegates attending were exposed to the principles of the scientific basis for managing the fragile alpine area and the likely impacts of various recreational other uses.

Cross Border Law Enforcement

Ranger staff from Khancoban, Buchan, Bendoc and Jindabyne converged on Willis on the NSW / Victoria border during the year to coordinate a number of joint law enforcement activities of mutual interest. The training workshop included consideration of differences in legislation, wilderness boundaries and management, along with brumby-running, closed road infringements and the ongoing issue of rubbish removal from popular recreational areas.

Rangers jointly patrolled the Indgegoodbee Track and identified major causes of damage to park infrastructure such as locked gates and other illegal activities. Illegal campfires were identified as a focus for ranger patrols in border areas over the summer period. Access to common radio frequencies was confirmed and authorisations for ranger staff to act in adjacent States were gained.

Alpine Ecology Workshop

The Australian Alps Liaison Committee sponsored five field staff to attend the 1998 Alpine Ecology Workshop held at Bogong High Plains (Victoria). The four-day intensive residential course, provided an ideal opportunity for field staff to refresh their knowledge about the complex ecological balance of alpine environments, learn new information from highly qualified instructors and to review management practices.

Australian Alps Newsletter

Regular communication with staff throughout the Australian Alps national parks and with others interested in the management of the Australian Alps is seen as vital to continued support, co-operation and involvement. The Australian Alps newsletter is the major method for keeping staff of the alpine parks in touch with progress on Alps projects and activities of other Australian Alps national park agencies. It is also a valuable method of raising and maintaining community awareness of the Australian Alps national parks and the benefits arising from the cooperative management program. Circulation of the newsletter was increased with distribution to other Australian Alps stakeholders including local Councils, tour operators who have undertaken Australian Alps programs, and adjacent catchment management agencies.

Annual Field Workshop

The annual field workshop is the primary opportunity to gather together field staff from the Australian Alps national parks and to provide training to a wide cross-section of park managers. Held in October 1997 at Jindabyne, New South Wales, the annual field workshop concentrated on issues related to community education and information. Field staff examined issues including visitor centre management, schools education, and regional radio and tourism opportunities. Agency approaches to face-to-face interpretation and use of the Internet for conveying information were also examined in detail.

Return to top

Inter-Agency Liaison

Heads of agencies meeting

This annual meeting provides an important opportunity for Directors and/or their representatives of the MOU agencies responsible for managing the Australian Alps national parks program to come together, to review progress and to discuss the future directions and projects for the cooperative management of the Australian Alps national parks. This year, as in the past, the meeting was held in conjunction with the Annual Field Workshop and addressed a range of issues including the budget, achievements to date of the cooperative management program, and future directions for the program. At that meeting, Heads of agencies reviewed an evaluation of the Australian Alps cooperative program undertaken by AACM International consultants.

Cross border seminars

Small-scale face-to-face workshops have been found to be the most successful way to ensure that staff are kept informed and involved in the Australia Alps program. Agency staff provided valuable input which assisted in developing the cooperative approaches under the management program. These workshops, together with regular meetings and teleconferences of Working Groups, provide some of the strongest evidence of the success and commitment of staff to the cooperative management program. During the year Ranger staff, planners and other Agency staff participated in workshops dealing with cross-border law enforcement, Peregrine Falcon habitat training, advanced first aid training for alpine areas, and alpine ecology.

Return to top

Outside Involvement and Evaluation

Evaluation of the Australian Alps Cooperative Program

At the request of Heads of agencies, the Liaison Committee commissioned AACM International to undertake a thorough evaluation of the Australian Alps Cooperative Management Program against MOU and Agency objectives.

The study compared the operation of the program with similar environmental management programs and made recommendations for improvements in the overall and detailed management of the Program.

The Consultant’s report was presented to Ministers and Heads of agencies for consideration and a number of important recommendations have been implemented to further improve the acknowledged high-quality program already undertaken.

Standards Australia

During the year the Technical Steering committee convened by Standards Australia, develop a new Australian standard for the marking of walking tracks. The Program Coordinator represented most of the Australian Alps management agencies on the Technical Steering committee that re-wrote the 1978 Standard to take account of changes in management and community expectations that have emerged over the past 19 years.

Return to top

Attachment 1 – Program structure

Australian Alps Cooperative Management Program

Agencies Commonwealth New South Wales Australian Capital Territory Victoria
Conservation Agencies Involved Environment Australia National Parks & Wildlife Service ACT Parks & Conservation Service Parks Victoria
Responsible Minister Senator
the Hon Robert Hill
Minister for the Environment
The Hon. Pam Allan
Minister for the Environment
Mr Brendan Smyth MLA
Minister for Urban Services
The Hon. Marie Tehan
Minister for Conservation & Land Management
Head of Agencies Colin Griffiths
Director
Robyn Kruk
Director General (until Feb 98)
Brian Gilligan
Director General
Dr Colin Adrian
Executive Director
Environment ACT
Jeff Floyd (until April 98)
Mark Stone
Chief Executive
Program Co-ordinator Neville Bryne (until April 98), Parks Victoria
Brett Macnamara, ACT Parks & Conservation Service
Australian Alps Liaison Committee Lee Thomas
Director
Area Management Planning Environment Australia
Gregor Manson (until Feb 98)
Janet Mackay
Snowy Mountains Region
Peter Hann (until Nov 97)
Stephen Hughes
Manager
ACT Parks and Conservation Service
Bob Jones (until April 98)
Chris Rose
Chief Ranger
Alpine Park Management Area
Recreation & Tourism Working Group David Phillips Pam O’Brien Geoff Young Peter Jacobs
(Convenor)
Community Relations Working Group Ann Jelinek
Peter King
(Convenor)
Stuart Cohen Brett McNamara
(Convenor until April 98)
Ian Foletta
Natural Heritage Working Group Mark Hallam
Greg Hayes
Graeme Enders
Mick Ivill
Trish Macdonald
(Convenor)
Frank Ingwersen
Nigel Watts
(Convenor until Dec 97)
Andy Murray
Cultural Heritage Working Group Kathryn Maxwell Janice Cawthorn
Phil Boot (until Feb 98)
Colin Killick
Virginia Logan
Debbie Argue
Dennis Matthews
(Convenor)
Daniel Catrice

Return to top

Attachment 2 – Financial Statements

Financial report Year Ending 30 June 1998

Fund Sources
Opening Balance $ 169,010 Expenditures during year $ 451,503
Revenue (Contributions/Grants) $ 400,000 Carry-over commitments $ 101,553
Revenue (Programs/publications) $ 63,016 Uncommited carry-over $ 80,070
Total Fund Sources $ 632 026 Total $ 632 026
Project Allocation
$
Expenditure
$
Commitment
$
Uncommited
$
Community Awareness map poster 3,653 3,653 0 0
Community Education Officer 42,000 36,000 0 6,000
Field Guide to the Australian Alps 48,000 0 48,000 0
Program co-ordination 75,600 69,830 0 5,770
97/98 Annual Field Workshop 10,000 10,000 0 0
98/99 Field Workshop (deposit) 3,000 3,000 0 0
Annual report 4,000 3,487 0 513
Management staff exchanges 10,000 10,511 0 -511
Newsletter 5,000 2,300 0 2,700
Evaluation of AALC program 28,000 20,224 0 7,776
Establish Alps program in ACT 5,000 570 0 4,430
Interpreting Aboriginal Perspectives* 2,000 0 0 2,000
Aboriginal history guide* 1,600 0 0 1,600
Human pathways thru the Alps* 8,100 0 0 8,100
Oral History Tapes – Protection 6,025 6,025 0 0
Tour Operator Training 20,000 15,000 0 5,000
Australian Alps Lookout Displays 10,000 3,880 0 6,120
Cultural Significance investigation 23,000 23,000 0 0
AAWT Management Strategy 25,000 22,228 0 2,772
AAWT Trailhead Displays 13,500 4,850 0 8,650
Minimal Impact Recreation education 9,000 11,405 0 -2,450
Vehicle Touring Guide 10,000 0 10,000 0
Horseriding Strategy 4,000 0 0 4,000
Recreation site management 32,000 19,600 6,000 6,400
Brush-tailed rock wallaby monitoring 3,900 3,900 0 0
Fire effects monitoring plots 60,000 60,000 0 0
Fox Controls & Spot-tailed Quolls 14,950 0 14,950 0
Scientific plots survey 2,500 2,800 0 -300
Protection of Costin Collection 3,000 0 3,000 0
Alps Invaders weed identikit 24,300 13,940 11,603 -1,245
Broom Strategy Update 20,000 6,800 0 13,200
Disturbed Mtn Catchments Manual 30,000 30,000 0 0
Behaviour of Spot-tailed Quolls 8,000 8,500 0 -500
Global Threats to Snow conference 35,000 35,000 0 0
Australian Institute of Alpine Studies 3,000 0 3,000 0
Feral Horse monitoring 10,000 5,000 5,000 0
Fire and fauna investigation 20,000 20,000 0 0
TOTAL $451,503 $101,553 $80,070

* Project to be completed in 1998/1999

Return to top

Attachment 3 – Publications and reports received

The Australian Alps Liaison Committee has received the following publications and reports this financial year:

1998

  • Australian Alps Liaison Committee (1998) Alps Invaders: Weeds of the Australian High country
  • Australian Alps Liaison Committee (1998) Snow A Natural History; an uncertain future Edited by Dr Ken Green
  • Murray, Andrew (1998) Tigers and 1080. The threat posed by buried poison baits to spot-tailed Quolls in the Australian Alps national parks
  • Charles Sturt University (1998) The effects of fire on fauna in the Australian Alps national parks: a database

1997

  • Australian Alps Liaison Committee (1997) Australian Alps Walking Track Management Strategy
  • AACM International (1997) Evaluation of the Australian Alps Liaison Committee
  • Forward, L & Hall R.M (1997) Australian Alps national parks Fire Response Monitoring System
  • Australian Alps Liaison Committee (1997) Huts Code for visitors: a minimal impact guide

Return to top