I became a councillor and treasurer of the TCT in 1996. At that time, I was treasurer of the Tasmanian Environment Centre, now known as Sustainable Living Tasmania, and also treasurer of the local landcare group. Neither took a great deal of time and effort on my part, so when I was approached by Michael Lynch (former Director of the TCT) to replace Helen Hortle as treasurer, I was pleased to accept.
While I was still working for remuneration, I used to call in to the TCT during the lunch break to discuss accounts, budgets etc with Michael. The public service agency I worked for at the time had rather an oppressive atmosphere engendered by the motivation of monetary reward and personal advancement.
Walking into the TCT was a breath of fresh air. The atmosphere was light, optimistic and inspirational. Everyone was focused on working towards the common goal of obtaining good conservation outcomes. They certainly weren’t there for status and monetary reward. I was very impressed by the quality and breadth of the work produced. One could not help but be infected by the enthusiasm and good faith the staff and volunteers brought to their work.
I didn’t have much to do with the day-to-day operations or know much about the history of the TCT until last year when I was involved in researching and putting together the 40th anniversary retrospective. Perusing newsletters over the whole period of the 40 years of its history, I found that the TCT had always been served by people of a similar ilk and that they had achieved some outstanding outcomes, albeit not very well recognised or celebrated. However, it is our intention to highlight some of those achievements on the updated and revamped website, currently under construction. We also intend to make use of some of the material from the 40th anniversary retrospective available there.
While reading back issues of the Tasmanian Conservationist I realised that the TCT has remained true to its original purpose, stated at the meeting proposing the formation of the TCT in 1967.
‘That a Society to be known as the Tasmanian Conservation Trust be formed for the purpose of promoting and encouraging the wisest use and conservation of natural resources and wildlife’.
The priorities I would like to see the TCT focus on this year include:
· building staff capacity so as to maintain the high level of independent and informed comment on conservation issues.
· provision of improved access to information on the TCT’s many activities for members, government departments and other interested people.
Having taken early retirement from the public service in 2008, I have more time now to spend on my volunteer commitments as President of the TCT, the convenor of Tranmere–Clarence Plains Land & Coastcare Inc (the result of a merger between two smaller groups) and also as the treasurer of Sustainable Living Tasmania.
Finally, in taking over the role of TCT President, I wish to extend the appreciation of Council, staff and Trust members, for the magnificent contribution outgoing President, Bob Graham, has given over the past three years. His advice and guidance on many issues has been invaluable and, luckily for us, Bob will remain as an ex-offico member of the TCT Council.