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If you were offered the chance to drive up and down the east coast of Australia with three mermaids you'd do it, right?

If you were offered the chance to drive up and down the east coast of Australia with three mermaids you'd do it, fight?

That's exactly what Chris Smyth, our former healthy oceans campaigner did in his last few months at ACE Our mermaids have day jobs as marine scientists. Chris and the mermaids were very effective in drawing community and media attention in a fun sort of way to the importance of the new national network of marine protected areas. They have become law.

When the mermaids showed up at Bondi and other Aussie beaches, they were mobbed by mums and kids. People had their photos taken with the mermaids and these were sent on to Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke as evidence of the importance of oceans in the lives of most Australians. Chris Smyth has now left ACF after a decade of outstanding contributions to the life of our organisation and the cause of marine conservation. He went out with bang.

After decades working on the conservation of Tasmania's native forests, in November last year an historic agreement was made to put large areas into national reserves. Months of negotiations with the Tasmanian forestry industry, the workers union, the timber community and environmental groups allowed us to reach an agreement that will create a sustainable industry future, generate new jobs and protect over half a million hectares of irreplaceable Tasmanian native forests in reserves. The agreement still needs to be passed by Tasmanian Parliament. The Australian Government has released the first National Wildlife Corridors Plan. ACF along with the National Farmers Federation, The Wilderness Society, Bush Heritage, Landcare, ecotourism and business representatives worked together to pull the plan together. It's an important framework for supporting large scale connectivity conservation initiatives flourish across the continent.

The Murray-Darling Basin plan passed through Federal Parliament and signed in to law in late November, 2012. The plan calls for 3,200 billion litres to be returned to the fiver by 2024--seven times as much water as the entire population of Melbourne uses in a year? If the water is delivered, around two-thirds of the wetlands of the Murray-Darling Basin could return to long-term health. ACF remains committed to making the plan as strong as it can be. We'll keep trying to do that until all hope is extinguished.


Dr Paul Sinclair

Healthy ecosystems program manager

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Title Annotation:CAMPAIGN UPDATES; Australian Conservation Foundation's Chris Smyth and marine conservation
Author:Sinclair, Paul
Publication:Habitat Australia
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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