The Australian Alps national parks co-operative management program had another effective and productive year with over 20 different projects, workshops and products produced or continued to be developed throughout the reporting period. This report outlines those achievements and highlights the ongoing success of the Program.
The most notable matters dealt with during this reporting period were the development of a new Strategic Plan for the Program for the period 2008 to 2011 and the development of the bid to have the Australian Alps Region recognised under the National Landscapes Program.
The development of the 2008-11 Strategic Plan was driven largely by the outcomes of the Alps futures workshop held at Thredbo in June 2007 and recognition that there have been a number of changes affecting the Alps and the management of the Program. They include increased knowledge and certainty on climate change and its impacts on the Alps; a more coherent approach desirable for the Alps landscapes as a whole; the need to expand awareness of the Alps landscapes and the Alps Co-operative Program to a wider audience; increasing risks to ecosystems posed by invasion by pest plant and animal species; recognition that recovery from the 2003 bushfires is now well under way and no longer needs the high level of co-ordination provided by the previous plan; and a diminishing capacity of working group members to devote the amount of time they have in the past to Program projects.
This has resulted in the development of ten key result areas (KRAs) for the Program that will be the focus for six new Reference Groups and the Program Manager.
A significant achievement was the announcement on 15 June 2008 that the Australian Alps Region had been accepted as one of the first eight National Landscapes recognised under the innovative program managed by Tourism Australia and Parks Australia. The Australian Alps national parks Program has provided the executive support for the bid and associated meetings and the Australian Alps Liaison Committee Convenor has been the chair of the bid Steering Committee.
The Australian Alps Program continued to show international leadership this year with the AALC Convenor and the former Program Manager attending the Parks, Peace and Partnerships conference at Waterton Lakes, Canada in September 2007. The conference provided the opportunity for International Peace Park and transboundary academics and management professionals from every continent to meet to discuss trends, experiences and best practices in transboundary protected areas management. The Australian Alps presentation focused on 11 lessons learned during the previous 21 years.
In July 2007 the program administration was “handed over” from Victoria to the ACT as the continuance of the process where every three years the Program Manager’s position is hosted in turn by each of the State and Territory participating agencies. The AALC takes this opportunity to acknowledge the considerable contribution that Gill Anderson made to the Program as Program Manager for the years 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07.