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The 20th WA Wetlands Conference

2 February 2024

Today is World Wetlands Day which is celebrated each year on 2 February.

This morning I had the honour of opening the second day of the 20th WA Wetlands Conference  at the Wetlands Centre near Bibra Lake.

In preparation for my talk I did some research on Wetlands policy in WA. It was a pretty picture.

The CURRENT Wetlands Conservation Policy was put together in 1997 when Richard Court was Premier! Created long before the pressing issue of climate change and its impact on wetlands was well understood.

A new draft was prepared in 2008 but not released or implemented.

Similarly, WA’s Wetland Buffer guidelines go back to 2005

Worryingly, WA has not added to its list of Ramsar Wetlands since 2000 – 22 years ago. As a result only 12 out of Australia’s 66 Ramsar wetlands are in WA – despite WA covering one-third of Australia’s land area.

There’s a great opportunity for WA to get serious about the wetlands that we have and ensure we have a science-led, updated and well-funded approach to wetland protection.

Imagine if our bicentenary project in 2029 for WA was not a moment or new building but the reinstatement of continuous green corridors connecting Perth’s wetlands. A project of reconciliation led by First Nations elders and experts.

Thanks to the Wetlands Education Centre for inviting me along today. A worthwhile forum indeed.


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