Members of the Victorian Rabbit Action Network gathered in Melbourne last week to celebrate their prestigious United Nations Award.
Agriculture Victoria received a United Nations Public Service Award this year for its work with the Victorian Rabbit Action Network (VRAN) in ‘delivering more inclusive and equitable services to leave no one behind’.
Representatives from Agriculture Victoria and VRAN travelled to Azerbaijan in June to receive the award.
Over the last six years, the network has delivered an innovative and integrated approach to managing rabbits in partnership with community, to address the destructive and costly pest, the European rabbit.
Chair of the Victorian Rabbit Action Network, Gerald Leach, said the event was about the network coming together and celebrating this significant achievement.
“We share this award with the VRAN committee members, mentors, government agency staff and broader communities in recognition of their tireless work and energy in sharing our states rabbit problem and solutions,” Mr Leach said.
About 30 people including network members, mentors, key contributors, founding members and Agriculture Victoria staff gathered at the Melbourne Museum tonight to celebrate the award.
Agriculture Victoria Acting Executive Director for Biosecurity Services Michael Rosier said it was proven that the most effective approach to manage pests was a suite of integrated management techniques owned and led by community who work in collaboration with one another.
“The network has shown exceptional leadership in being willing to take on an issue that knows no boundaries, and is incredibly invasive and costly to our agriculture,” Mr Rosier said.
Additionally, Mr Rosier acknowledged three of the VRAN committee members who had recently been accepted into the Academy of Community Engagement, recognising exceptional accomplishments in engagement.
“We’re recognising the great contributions of the community members to the network, and how their support and cooperation has helped make this network an international success.”
Since its establishment, VRAN has reached 6,000 people, covering more than 2.5 million hectares on public and private land. By the end of 2019, it is expected that a total of 10,000 people will have been engaged with the network.