Inaugural Australian Biosphere Conference under way

The inaugural Australian Biosphere Conference begins in Maryborough.
Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey with Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG) chief executive Sheila Charlesworth, Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch and BMRG chairman Tony Ricciardi.

Links between science and conservation, sustainable development and learning are topics of discussion at the inaugural Australian Biosphere Conference in Maryborough.

Environment and Science Minister Leeanne Enoch said the conference brought together a diverse range of experts to explore the challenges we face as population growth puts pressure on the natural environment.

“Queensland is home to two of Australia’s 14 Biosphere Reserves — the Great Sandy Biosphere Reserve on the Fraser Coast and the Noosa Biosphere Reserve,” she said.

“A biosphere reserve is a UNESCO designated area containing one or more protected areas and is managed to combine both conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

“They encourage communities and visitors to work, live and play in ways that support the resilience of ecosystems and improve our society’s ability to cope with climate change.”

The Australian Biosphere Conference was coordinated by the Great Sandy Biosphere Management Group and the Burnett Mary Regional Group.

It includes topics such as eco-champions and reef guardians and the role of community in economic development.

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey today officially welcomed visitors to the Wide Bay.

“It's great to be able to attend with Cr Wayne Honor, portfolio representative for parks and gardens, and liaise with biosphere representatives from all around the world,” he said.

“It's also a great opportunity to invite Minister Enoch to our beautiful part of the region and promote Bundaberg for the opportunity to host the biosphere conference in the future.

Chair of the Great Sandy Biosphere Management Group and CEO of the Burnett Mary Regional Group, Sheila Charlesworth, said she was thrilled with the response to the conference, with speakers and delegates attending from throughout Australia and overseas. 

“This inaugural conference is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the Great Sandy Biosphere”, Ms Charlesworth said.

“The Great Sandy Biosphere is an important site for conservation at a state and global scale, including habitat for more than half of Australia’s bird species, more marine fish diversity than the Great Barrier Reef and 40 per cent of the world’s perched lakes.”

About 50 Reef Guardian students from the Bundaberg Region will be attending the conference on Thursday.