News: First learning collaboration for Australia and Asia Pacific

Sunday 16 November 2014

First learning collaboration for Australia and the Asia Pacific region: Protecting globally significant natural and cultural heritage

The Protected Areas Learning and Research Collaboration (PALRC) was launched at the World Parks Congress in Sydney on 16 November.

The PALRC will offer courses, scholarships and mentoring opportunities for students keen to develop their skills and competencies in managing critical areas of natural and cultural significance on land and sea. The PALRC is the first of its type in the Australasian region.

Initial courses will be offered from early 2015 at graduate certificate, masters and short course level at the Universities of Tasmania, Murdoch (Perth) and James Cook (Townsville). Further courses will follow from Charles Darwin University and other institutions in Asia and the Pacific.

“We see this initiative as a critical means to provide a focussed learning opportunity for students and professionals in our region. Whether they are managing traditional lands in Australia or a regional community village environment; whether they are a park agency head or manager of an NGO; the PALRC courses will offer students the opportunity to develop their skills in a varied, dynamic and international learning environment,” said Professor Margaret Britz, Dean of Science, Engineering and Technology from the University of Tasmania.

“The overwhelming need for this collaboration is evidenced by the number of protected areas throughout the region and the need for more professionalised management to ensure their adequate management and governance.”

Jane Hutchinson, CEO of the Tasmanian Land Conservancy which provided seed funding for the initiative is also Chair of the PALRC Steering Group:

“The PALRC offers a means to better promote the opportunities for learning in the “protected areas” field both in Australia and through our neighbours in the Asia Pacific, along with the ability to share course content and access different learning environments”, Ms Hutchinson said.

Dr Vinod Mathur, a Collaboration partner and Steering Group member who heads up both the Wildlife Institute of India and the UNESCO Centre on World Natural Heritage Management and Training for Asia and the Pacific Region said, “There is much to learn and to share across the Asia, Pacific and Australian regions, and in India we look forward to the opportunities to broaden this Collaboration.  It is professionally very rewarding to be here in Sydney and be a part of this initiative.”

Daniel Oades from the Kimberley Land Council, and a Collaboration partner and Steering Group member said, “The PALRC will help professionalise the management of Australia’s Indigenous Protected Areas through opportunities for Aboriginal people to access courses, gain skills and competencies and be responsible for management and governance of our own lands.  This is as important as ensuring the funds for management is increased.”

Development of the PALRC has been supported financially by the University of Tasmania, Tasmanian Land Conservancy, private donors and the Australian Government.

Website: www.palrc.com

Twitter: @PAcollaboration

Download this Media Release [PDF, 100 KB]

Accompanying releases from participating universities and the Australian Government can be provided on request.