A PROJECT to ensure the longevity of a Wimmera conservation reserve has achieved national recognition.
The Bank Australia Conservation Reserve at Minimay was a world-first project when the bank bought the West Wimmera land in 2008.
This week, the organisation won a Banksia Sustainability Award for its work to protect and restore the reserve’s diverse flora and fauna.
The Banksia Foundation, which runs the awards, works with governments, industry and community members to highlight excellence in sustainability work.
The award specifically recognised Bank Australia’s 10-year conservation strategy for the reserve, released in 2017 and developed in partnership with Greening Australia and Trust for Nature.
More than 220 native plant species and 270 native animal species – including 13 threatened species – live on the reserve.
Bank Australia’s Damien Walsh said the award was testament to the organisation’s partnership with Greening Australia and Trust for Nature, formed in 2016.
“Both organisations worked closely with Bank Australia to develop an approach to managing our reserve that is bold, innovative, and best-practice,” he said.
“We’re delighted to win the award and hope that this recognition will show the way for other organisations who might look to develop similar approaches to protecting and restoring precious biodiverse Australian habitat.”
Greening Australia corporate partnerships manager Kate Smith said she was thrilled with the recognition for the Wimmera project.
“The 10-year strategy called Reimagining the Future had a focus on key actions including wildlife and land conservation, climate change, and engaging community members in our work,” she said.
“Since the bank purchased the reserve in 2008, they have planted more than 85,000 trees, so there’s been some substantial rehabilitation of that landscape.
“We've had a big focus on working with the local Indigenous land council Barengi Gadjin.
“Another key focus is continuing re-vegetation, taking into account the changing landscape.
“Part of the 10-year plan is to also focus on those threatened species.
“The reserve is a real hub of biodiversity. It's got a profile from a global perspective, in terms of conservation.”
The three groups hope its model for the Minimay reserve can be shared with other corporations to enable more investment in private land conservation and environmental protection.
Each Bank Australia customer is a part-owner in the reserve, which comprises three properties.