The new Committee had its first meeting in March, when we welcomed our new Committee members, Conrad White and Wendy Crebbin.
Committee of Management for 2015–2016, Elected Friday, 27 February 2015.
President: Peter Forster
Vice-President: Neil Tucker
Immediate Past President: Helen Tutt
Secretary: David Williams
Treasurer: Conrad White
Ordinary members of the Committee:
I wish to thank our Immediate Past President for her invaluable contributions onver the last three years, and am pleased that she remains on the Committee, where we can reap the rewards of her previous work over the last three years. Her extensive experience and local knowledge will be invaluable.
We also have a new, “recycled” meeting table! Many thanks to Jim Tutt for providing and installing the table, and Jim, David and Christine Williams for its rejuvenation.
In the past month ANGAIR has made two submissions; one was to the IGEM (Inspector General for Emergency Management) concerning a review of performance targets for bushfire fuel management on public land, and the other was to the Western Coastal Board concerning the draft Western Regional Coastal Plan 2015-2020.
Other activities that ANGAIR contributes to:
Moolap Wetlands Under Threat
Kangaroo Advisory Group
The Kangaroo Advisory Group (KAG) is quite active, and has plans for increasing the public awareness of kangaroos as driving hazards, especially for the Queens Birthday weekend. The Surf Coast Shire will be using a variable message, mobile sign to warn motorists of “roos on the move – slow down” or words to that effect.
ANGAIR President’s Report for 2014, Presented at the AGM, 27 February 2015
My hopes for 2014 being a year of ‘steady as she goes’ were somewhat dashed, when almost exactly 12 months ago, Alcoa announced its intention to sell the Anglesea Coal Mine and Power Station. In 2013, Alcoa had released its Mine Plan for beyond 2016, indicating its decision to go deeper, rather than extending the footprint of the mine. This would provide the power station with enough coal to continue operating until 2022.
We hoped that this Mine Plan would see out the operation of the Anglesea Power Station, removing any threat to the Heath that an increased footprint would bring. This announcement of sale immediately raised several serious concerns. It was difficult to believe that another company would buy the mine, and plan to cease operation in 2022, so an extended footprint would seem inevitable. When Alcoa renewed its lease in 2011, it guaranteed to restrict mining to 665 hectares, with the remaining 6556 hectares (known as the Anglesea Heath) continuing to be managed cooperatively. It was reassuring to find that this cooperative management must remain even if Alcoa does sell.
The Committee of Management felt it was extremely important for Governments at all levels to be aware of the significance of the Anglesea Heath. Should the complex fail to sell, the Heath Management Plan would cease if Alcoa relinquished its lease. A Working Group was formed to develop a strategy, with the aim of getting a commitment form all Victorian political parties, that, should the lease be relinquished, the Anglesea Heath would become part of the Great Otway National Park. We wrote many letters to members of all parties, and relevant politicians. We requested meetings, as we believed a personal approach would be more effective, and had reasonable success, meeting with ministers, shadow ministers and their advisors. We were delighted when the ALP gave a commitment to incorporate the Heath into GONP, and disappointed that the Greens, other than the candidate for the Upper House, showed no interest at all. The then Minister for Mines noted our request. I would like to acknowledge the support of the working group, in particular Christine Forster, whose wisdom and expertise were invaluable.
The annual Wildflower Show remains to many the public face of ANGAIR. In his 1992 book Barrabool, Land of the Magpie, Ian Wynd says “ANGAIR conducts annual shows of wildflowers and art and crafts, which attract thousands of visitors”. I’m not sure about the thousands, but the weekend remains popular, and is seen as an important local event. I would like to acknowledge the Anglesea and District Community Bank for its sponsorship of the Art Show, and the Surf Coast Shire for its continuing support for the wildflower weekend.
During 2014, social evenings covered a range of topics, including Birds of the Anglesea and Aireys District, Fire Ecology, and Kangaroo Management Research. We were also treated to a fascinating, audio-visual presentation of life in the intertidal and marine zone around Eagle Rock. We thank all involved in organising these evenings.
ANGAIR has been extremely fortunate to be the recipient of a generous bequest from the estate of Peter Godfrey. Peter, from Aireys Inlet, was a committed weeder, and we are considering how best to reflect Peter’s passion for the environment. Members have also been generous with donations, and the Committee of Management would like to acknowledge these contributions, and the role they play in enabling ANGAIR to achieve its goals.
The Environmental Care program covers some 27 reserves in and around Anglesea and Aireys inlet. During 2014, ANGAIR’s work concentrated on 4 areas – Soapy Rocks, the Saltmarsh Community on the eastern bank of the Anglesea River, Anglesea Bushland Reserve and the Camp Rd–Firebreak track area.
Early in 2014, ANGAIR and the leaders of the Gordon Institute’s Conservation and Land Management Course had discussions on how we work together in a mutually beneficial way. ANGAIR has had the benefit of additional hands, and the students have had a variety of learning opportunities, from formulation of project topics to valuable and relevant work experience. We thank Janet Stephens for establishing this program.
The working bees conducted by various groups, such as Friends of the Aireys Inlet and Anglesea Coasts, Alan Noble Sanctuary, and Painkalac Creek, continue to make an impact, as do the maintenance, planting and information sessions held in conjunction with parents and students at Anglesea Primary School.
The Propagation Group continues to grow in numbers and expertise, and is extremely productive, propagating over 8000 plants in 2014. The group is looking for a new home from 2016, and a working group is investigating possible new sites.
ANGAIR has established an indigenous, cottage garden, in front of the Historical Society premises. The Propagation Group provided the plants and labour, and GORCC provided the mulch. We hope that it will provide home-owners with ideas of how indigenous plants can be used in a domestic setting. We are delighted with the progress of the plantings, and hope to complete the project during 2015.
ANGAIRS latest publication, Fungi of the Surf Coast, showcases Neil Tucker ‘s expertise in this area. The publication was funded by Alcoa, the Surf Coast Shire and donations. You can obtain a copy of the brochure from the ANGAIR Natural History Centre when the library is open, or it can be downloaded from the ANGAIR Website, www.angair.org.au/ and selecting Knowledge Bank and then Fungi.
ANGAIR continues to have a good working relationship with the Surf Coast Shire. Projects such as a biodiversity asset survey, bluebell creeper eradication in Aireys Inlet and discussions related to pest, plant and animal priorities, are just some of the activities undertaken cooperatively with the Shire.
The Newsletter and website maintain their outstanding quality and are a credit to both their producers and ANGAIR. The Committee had been aware for some time that ANGAIR needed to face the social media challenge. Jan Lovejoy, from GORCC, gave the Committee an inspiring presentation on the benefits of ANGAIR embracing Social Media. A working group has been formed and you can now like us on Facebook. Christine Forster has been the driver, and we are grateful for this.
The Committee of Management values the input and advice given by the Flora and Fauna Interest Group. We have reluctantly accepted Margaret MacDonald’s resignation as chair, but are delighted that she will remain a member, and that we will still have the benefit of her expertise.
The monthly Get to know your Track nature rambles, and bird walks, continue to be well supported, and appreciated. We thank those who made these happen.
The newly formed microscope group meets monthly, and continues to be popular. We are indebted to Gail Slykhuis for her leadership and for sharing her expertise, enabling our members to increase their knowledge of the local flora.
There are many to thank for their contribution to ANGAIR during 2014, organisers, membership administrator, weeders, propagators … and so the list goes on.
Lynn Rayner, this time we have taken seriously your wish to retire from the position of assistant treasurer; we really have appreciated you helping out, yet again, in 2014.
Dot Hutton and Carl Rayner did not renominate for Committee. I thank them for their contributions both on the Committee, and other activities. We are delighted that Carl has agreed to stay involved with the program as a member of the Environmental Care Working Group.
I would like to thank the Committee of Management for its support and commitment, and also those outside the Committee who have taken on management roles, and those I have called on for advice.
Thank you to all our members for their support in 2014, and ANGAIR looks forward to your continuing support in 2015 and beyond.