7 Dec 2022
The Ross Trust is joining seven other philanthropic funders and 11 major universities to support a new body that will advocate for Australia’s biodiversity.
The Biodiversity Council will foster public, policy and industry recognition of the biodiversity crisis, the importance of biodiversity for wellbeing and prosperity, and positive opportunities and solutions to address the challenges.
The Federal Minister for Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, launched The Biodiversity Council at the University of Melbourne on Wednesday 7 December 2022.
Incoming Council Executive Director Ilsa Colson said there was growing momentum and investment to find solutions to the biodiversity crisis.
“Biodiversity loss and climate change are the two existential challenges of our time, yet biodiversity loss receives much less attention than the climate crisis - The Council will seek to change this,” Ms Colson said.
Inaugural Chief Councillor Dr Jack Pascoe, Yuin man and Conservation and Research Manager at the Conservation Ecology Centre, says the recently released State of the Environment report underscored a growing recognition that Australia’s biodiversity is declining dangerously fast.
“It also highlights the importance of Indigenous Knowledge in addressing these challenges,” he says. “The Biodiversity Council will provide a platform to ensure First Nations voices are heard in advocating for healthy country.”
Due to the national significance of this project, and strong alignment with the Ross Trust’s strategy, the Council was invited to apply for – and was granted - a four-year challenge and change grant for their Director of Policy and Innovation role.
The Ross Trust CEO Sarah Hardy says the grant of $400,000 will enable the translation of the Council’s work into policy and practice change in government and business.
“The Ross Trust has a history of supporting a diversity of approaches to conservation including land and sea management, community development, education, action-oriented research, communications, conservation finance and advocacy,” she said.
“We believe the establishment of the Council will contribute to these approaches and fulfill a gap we had identified in the sector – an independent, evidence-based voice for biodiversity conservation that seeks to communicate and advocate on the problems and solutions to a broad audience including the public, community, government, business and industry.”
You can read more about the Council at biodiversitycouncil.org.au