Conservation Connectivity – a living network of Private and Public Reserves and protected environments.
It is the Pallin families’ belief that it is not just National and State parks that comprise the significant habitats of our country that need to be preserved and conserved. In many cases every day Australians need to live next to, alongside and even may own land on which natural and significant ecosystems can, with appropriate care, thrive. In these cases, the family saw the need for there to be a better framework in place to encourage private landholders to be able to both voluntarily register the conservation protection mechanism on their property and to be able to access funds to support that mechanism. In 2008, the Paddy Pallin Foundation joined with the National Parks and Wildlife Foundation and others to set up a prototype model called The Private Land Conservation Grants (PLCG) Program which was designed to recognise and support landholders for activities that enhance the biodiversity conversation value of their registered properties. There were a range of grants available ranging from those properties that were operating under a Conservation Agreement, or an In-perpetuity Registered Property Agreement, to those properties offering a wildlife refuge or a conservation vegetation plan.
Then between 2012 and 2017, the partnership grew. With extensive lobbying, the Foundation & Partners were able to get the NSW Environmental Trust (on behalf of the NSW Government) on board with funding for the PLCG. At that stage, the major fund was $2 million spread over six years to 2017. This was a huge win toward securing the future of a wide range of unique and fragile eco-communities that exist on our private lands and connect to and maintain the health of our public Reserves and National Parks.
Partners in 2015 included
- Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife
- New South Wales Environmental Trust
- Office of Environment and Heritage’s Conservation Partners Program
- Nature Conservation Trust of New South Wales
- Paddy Pallin Foundation
- Wildlife Land Trust
- Diversicon Environmental Foundation
- Community Environment Network
- Local Land Services
- Humane Society International
Today the legacy continues with even greater funding. Now, the government is the sole provider of Voluntary Conservation Agreements, this is done through the NSW Biodiversity Trust BCT established in 2017.
Rob and Nancy Pallin, are hoping that these aids to private conservation will enable more people like them to be able to contribute to the care of our unique Australian bush. Their own story is as shareholder owners in a property that they have been able to see become an In-perpetuity Registered Property ensuring that its eco-system and landscape has a secure environmental future. This project has helped to demonstrate how valuable ongoing conservation work can be.
Voluntary Conservation Properties
Ben Ricketts Environmental Preserve
Ben Ricketts Environmental Preserve is a property on the Illawarra escarpment that manages most of its property for conservation under a Voluntary Conservation Agreement with the Minister for the Environment and rents out cabins for low key holidays at very good rates. The property adjoins Barren Grounds Nature Reserve and is nestled in sub-tropical rainforest.
Falls Forest Retreat
The Voluntary Conservation Agreement protected forests and creek at Falls Forest Retreat below Middle Brother Mountain enclosed in a secret valley. Here, 5 townhouses and a Conference Centre offer peaceful retreats, family reunions and holidays, business & educational meetings and activities – with time to re-establish connections to Nature through bushwalking and birdwatching.