Act for Birds community forum - Melbourne

BirdLife Australia is conducting a series of community forums at metropolitan and regional centres across the country to highlight local issues affecting bird populations, and how our current national environmental laws are failing to adequately protect Australia’s threatened birds. These forums will be run from Perth to Brisbane, from Cairns to Hobart, and many places in between. 

Proceedings were kicked off in Melbourne last week. 

BirdLife Australia hosted the first of its ‘Act for Birds’ community forums at the BirdLife Melbourne branch meeting, talking with attendees about the need for stronger nature laws, how BirdLife Australia is planning to achieve them, and what everyone can do to get involved. 

It was a huge success! A capacity crowd piled in to hear about the issues and contribute their ideas. 

“We received really positive feedback from those in the room, and are feeling charged up and ready to launch into our epic mission to replicate this right across the country.” 

Kim Garratt, BirdLife Australia community organiser 

Each community forum will focus on a specific example of how environmental laws are failing Australia’s threatened birds — in Melbourne, this was Hooded Plovers in the Belfast Coastal Reserve. Attendees heard from Sean Dooley who gave an overview of the threats to the Hoodies in the Reserve, and then from on-the-ground volunteer Sue Guinness, a Hooded Plover volunteer co-ordinator who has grappled first hand with the problems in our nature laws. The forum shone a spotlight on the national nature laws that affect conservation efforts and looked at why they aren’t working adequately to protect birds against pressing threats. Questions from the audience were answered, and audience suggestions taken on board. 

It wasn’t all talk though. Inspired by the speakers, the audience contributed a plethora of great ideas about actions that they can take back to their communities to raise the profile of this important issue and build momentum towards our proposed solution. To get the ball rolling, many attendees wrote hand-written letters on the spot for BirdLife to post to their Members of Parliament or local media outlets.  

“If we can turn the silent birding community into champions for birds, politicians will listen if they want to keep their jobs!” 

—Paul Sullivan, BirdLife Australia CEO 

Do you want to be part of an Act for Birds community forum? Do you have any questions about nature laws or ideas that could help us raise the profile of the problem and secure lasting reform? Click here to see if there’s an event taking place near you. If you’re interested, why not come along? 

Image: from left Alison Street, John Barkla - BirdLife President, Mark Anderson birdLife Victoria Group President, Anna Lanigan.