News: Funding announcement

Thursday 13 November 2014

Australian Government commits to funding for new Protected Areas education initiative

The Australian Minister for the Environment, The Hon Greg Hunt MP, will announce funding in support of the new Protected Areas Learning and Research Collaboration tonight at the World Parks Congress in Sydney.

The Protected Areas Learning and Research Collaboration is a tertiary and vocational and research initiative that will be launched at the Congress on Saturday. It will offer courses, scholarships and mentoring opportunities for students to develop their skills and competencies in managing critical areas of natural and cultural significance on land and sea. PALRC will be the first of its type in the Australasian region.

Development Director of the PALRC, Mr Doug Humann said: “The initiative is focused on the Asia, Pacific and Australia region where there are thousands of land and sea protected areas, the need for increased professionalisation and where community and government-led initiatives tend to be cash strapped and often operating in isolation from each other.”

Globally, protected areas in 2014 occupy 15.4 per cent of the earth’s terrestrial surface and 3.6 per cent of its marine area.  In Australia alone, there are approximately 10,400 terrestrial protected areas covering 15.5 per cent of the land area and one of the world’s largest network of marine reserves.  Increasingly, protected areas are being managed not only by government, but also by indigenous communities, non-government organizations and individual landholders.  For example, in Australia around one third of the National Reserve System is in Indigenous Protected Areas.

Mr Humann said: “All over the world, the challenges facing natural areas are increasing and the problems are becoming more complex.  Not only do the “old” challenges still persist and need to be addressed (e.g. wildfire, poaching, invasive species, inappropriate developments and/or unsustainable use, inadequate plant and equipment), but there are additional global threats such as climate change, increasing biosecurity risks, competition for land and marine resources, growing population and economic pressures. These factors all point to a need for increasing commitment, resources and professional capacity to undertake the important responsibility of caring for the world’s natural and cultural heritage and protected areas.”

Whether working in public, private, Indigenous or marine protected areas, today’s protected area practitioners need to understand ecology, conservation planning, community engagement, risk management, visitor and tourism management, education and communications, business planning and financial management, governance, strategic planning, performance evaluation, and leadership.  And the demand for social and economic benefits and services associated with protected areas has never been greater —think water; food; recreation; tourism; wildlife and habitat protection; power generation; and carbon sequestration, to name but a few.

The Minister will attend an information evening from 8 – 9 pm tonight ahead of the official launch of the PALRC on Saturday evening.  The information evening tonight is for prospective students and others including agencies and organisations interested in utilizing the courses of the PALRC and hearing about course content for 2015 and beyond directly from the universities and the PALRC.

Further information:
Mr Doug Humann, PALRC Development Director 0409 801 233
Twitter @PAcollaboration

Download this Media Release [PDF, 100 KB].