Perth NRM Message to our Community – COVID-19

18th March, 2020

In light of the growing need to ‘slow the curve’ of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are undertaking a comprehensive review of our activities and practices in the months to come.

Perth NRM provides solutions that mitigate the environmental impact of climate change, population growth and unsustainable land and water management practices. Our business model as a for purpose organisation is all about bringing people together to do good things.

We organise, support and attend workshop and events, meetings and conferences, educational and community programs. We work across landscape restoration, sustainable food production and behaviour change, interacting with tens of thousands of people each year.

Perth NRM works with individuals, organisations and government representatives, practitioners and experts. Whenever possible, we are in the room and at the table.

In light of the growing need to ‘slow the curve’ of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are undertaking a comprehensive review of our activities and practices in the months to come.

We have already announced the postponement of events, including the CSBP Coastal Connections Challenge and the RegenWA sustainable agriculture events planned as part of the Food for Thought Festival.

The work we do will continue, and as always, we will pursue our goals through engagement with our community. This is what is meant when we say #WeMakeChange.

Just as this pandemic poses an imminent threat that must be managed collaboratively, our efforts to face longer term environmental threats will require us to work together.

While many events are indefinitely postponed, Perth NRM is exploring a range of virtual/digital opportunities for the information-sharing that our events normally provide stakeholders across our Environment, Sustainable Agriculture and Community Engagement programs.

In coming weeks we will announce our first webinar featuring a nationally recognised land management expert.

Perth NRM will also restructure its consultation process for the development of a Food Security Plan for Western Australia. More than 170 stakeholders have pre-registered to participate in this process, which seeks to ensure our ongoing ability to produce and provide access to safe, nutritious food to a growing population.

To maintain momentum in this important work, the Food Security Plan consultation will proceed using webinars, video conferencing and moderated virtual events. With our improving capacity for producing visual media, it is possible we can engage an even broader audience than typical roundtable discussions over the long term.

However, there are many natural resource management activities that can’t simply be postponed. At present, there are hundreds of groups preparing for planting season. These include coastcare groups and bushcare groups, many of whom have worked hard to secure funding for on-ground works.

These groups are reliant on the hard work of their regular volunteers (who are often in the higher risk categories for this health crisis), but also the support of corporate volunteering groups or community engagement with schools, social clubs etc.

It seems unlikely at present that the landcare community can expect business as usual this season.

Obviously, this will affect our stakeholders, but it will also impact the broader community. Every year, our sector plants hundreds of thousands of trees in the Perth region alone. Missing a season may impact our native public spaces, our wetlands and foreshores, our bush reserves.

Perth NRM is in talks with its primary funding bodies to examine what on-ground outcomes are still possible under the necessary public health restrictions. The West Australian State Natural Resource Management Office has confirmed that project variations in support of public health and safety are to be supported, and encouraged the postponement of physical events.

We will consult with all groups over the coming days about how best to deliver on-ground environmental activities and share this information with everyone. We encourage our stakeholders to reexamine their goals for the year, and we will support their decisions with the best information we have available.

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