World Wetlands Day tomorrow will be marked in Western Australia by the second annual Wetlands Management Conference.
East Metropolitan Region MLC Louise Pratt will officially open the conference at the Cockburn Wetlands Education Centre, which this year focused on protecting and appreciating the State’s wetland heritage.
Ms Pratt is representing Environment and Science Minister Judy Edwards.
“Essentially, the main objective of this conference is to provide an opportunity for the exchange of information and ideas between key stakeholders,” Ms Pratt said.
“By coming together in such a forum, participants will be able to discuss the sustainable management and restoration of wetlands, while raising the profile and public awareness of prominent issues.”
World Wetlands Day was introduced in response to an international convention on wetlands held 35 years ago in the Iranian city of Ramsar.
At that event, delegates formulated a plan to protect environmentally sensitive wetlands through conservation and the sustainable use of these areas through local, regional and national action.
Ms Pratt said she was pleased to see a wide variety of key stakeholders involved in today’s event, all of whom were working to achieve a common goal - the protection and sustainable management of the State’s wetlands.
Given the number of wetlands located in WA, organisations such as landcare groups, conservation associations and governments at all levels had a large part to play in the preservation of these areas.
“Out of the 56 listed Ramsar wetlands in Australia, 12 sites are in WA,” Ms Pratt said.
“This puts the local picture into perspective and highlights the important work being carried out at the Education Centre and across the State in the effort to protect and manage our wetlands.”
Ms Pratt said research showed that wetland areas had been reducing at an alarming rate over the past 10 years.
“The State Government will finalise a wetland policy this year,” she said.
“It will include a register of conservation category wetlands and those currently protected under the 1992 Swan Coastal Plain Lakes Environmental Protection Policy.
“Any proposed development, draining or clearing of these wetlands will require assessment by the Environmental Protection Authority.
“By identifying and registering our remaining conservation category wetlands we can avoid creating environmental disasters for future generations.”
Speakers at today’s conference include environmental academics, representatives from various Government agencies and community conservation members.
Minister's office: 9220 5050