Individuals, groups and organisations have been recognised tonight for their outstanding contributions in protecting Queensland’s Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, which is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world.
In attending the awards, Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said the ten award recipients did amazing work in ensuring the region was protected.
“The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is vital to Queensland,” she said. “It includes the oldest living tropical rainforest, the Daintree, and supports the highest biodiversity of any region in Australia.
“The Palaszczuk Government recognises this, and we allocated $9 million in this week’s Budget to continue work to eradicate yellow crazy ants, which is an invasive pest.
“The Wet Tropics Management Authority’s Cassowary Awards recognise the outstanding conservation efforts being undertaken to ensure the protection of the World Heritage Area.”
The Minister congratulated the ten award recipients who were recognised at tonight’s awards, which were established in 1999.
“The Cassowary Awards are a fantastic way to recognise the hard work that this community does to support the conservation and preservation of this culturally and environmentally significant World Heritage Area,” Ms Enoch said.
“The work celebrated tonight reflects the diversity of the Wet Tropics. There are projects that focus on the conservation of land and endangered species, sustainability education programs and unique cultural experiences, as well as climate change initiatives.
“The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area encompasses more than 30 national parks, and includes the Daintree Rainforest, which is the oldest tropical rainforest in the world, estimated to be 180 million years old.
“It is also home to about 40% of Australia’s bird species, 30% of mammals and 60% of the country’s butterfly species.
“It is imperative that the region is protected, and that is why awards such as these are important, to recognise the ongoing work, commitment and dedication of those individuals, groups and organisations carrying out this work.”
Member for Barron River, Minister Craig Crawford congratulated the award recipients.
“There are so many great works happening in North Queensland and the projects recognised tonight show what we can achieve as a community,” Mr Crawford said.
Member for Cairns Michael Healy said that the Cassowary Awards recognise important conservation work done by all members of our community.
“The Wet Tropics is an important part of our state and there were some fantastic projects that were recognised tonight that do a great job protecting it.”
Ms Enoch said this year’s award ceremony also paid tribute to two Wet Tropics conservationists, Mrs Margaret Thorsborne AO and Mr Peter Hitchcock AM.
“This year I had the honour of presenting the ‘Thorsborne Award for Community Conservation and Rehabilitation’ – an award renamed in 2016 to acknowledge Margaret and her late husband Arthur’s contributions to the Wet Tropics.
“Peter Hitchcock’s remarkable work was also acknowledged as the inaugural Executive Director of the WTMA, who’s efforts to conservation and World Heritage are also recognised on a global scale.
“It was heart-warming that these two Wet Tropics advocates were honoured at this year’s Cassowary Awards. Their legacies will live on through the countless people they continue to inspire.”
Wet Tropics Management Authority’s Chair, Leslie Shirreffs presented the special Chair’s Award to Allison Halliday.
“This year I was honoured to present the Chair’s Award to an amazing leader—Allison Halliday—a Malanbarra Yidinji Traditional Owner, who has provided a strong, unwavering voice for Rainforest Aboriginal People,” Ms Shirreffs said.
“We are so grateful for Allison’s extensive contributions and the outcomes she has successfully pursued to benefit Rainforest Aboriginal People and the Wet Tropics.”