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Tim Flannery to headline Portland event

ONE of Australia’s best-known conservationists will be the headline guest at a special community forum to be held in Portland in February.

Tim Flannery will be joined by Bureau of Meteorology senior climatologist Lynette Bettio to speak at the Local Action on Climate Change forum to be held at the Portland Arts Centre on February 19.

The free forum is being organised by the Southwest Environment Alliance and Natural Resources Conservation League of Victoria.

But despite its title, the forum will not be a public discussion on climate change – and it will be limited to about 60-70 participants.

SEA president Lynn Murrell, also a life member of the conservation league, said instead it was aimed at farmers who were interested in increasing the biodiversity of their properties by planting more trees, protecting and enhancing wetlands and creating biodiversity corridors within the next two years – with a view to receiving help in meeting those goals.

Mr Murrell got to know Professor Flannery when he went on a trip around various Indonesian islands, West Papua and New Guinea with him last year.

“I raved about Portland and told him to come down and see it,” Mr Murrell said.

“He was very interested in our Landcare work and I said to him ‘if you’re coming down we’ll put on something for you’.”

In the meantime the conservation league became flush with funds after selling land it owned in Melbourne’s eastern growth corridor.

“They wanted to run climate change conferences and they have. It was our turn and hence here it is.”

While the 2007 Australian of the Year was well known and will talk about climate change at a local level, Dr Bettio is also prominent in her field and had done a lot of research and modelling on the impacts of climate change.

“The modelling for south west Victoria is very positive,” Mr Murrell said.

“It will be warmer but won’t be drier and we’ll go away from a Mediterranean type climate (wet winters and warm summers) to a more ‘trades’ type climate like northern NSW.

“She’ll reinforce that (at the forum) and will talk about how it will give opportunities for farmers, particularly with different cropping.” 

There would also be panel discussions, which led to the other aim of the forum, Mr Murrell said.

“We want to try and formulate community environment priorities, what people want, and the (conservation league) want to see whether the community can justify them spending money here,” he said.

“What I’m hoping from it is when we hear from the farmers on what they see as the key priorities, the outcome could be more help on the ground such as people to help our (Landcare and other SEA member group) volunteers.”

To book a place at the forum contact Lynn Murrell at lynn.murrell47@gmail.com.

ONE of Australia’s best-known conservationists will be the headline guest at a special community forum to be held in Portland in February.

Tim Flannery will be joined by Bureau of Meteorology senior climatologist Lynette Bettio to speak at the Local Action on Climate Change forum to be held at the Portland Arts Centre on February 19.

The free forum is being organised by the Southwest Environment Alliance and Natural Resources Conservation League of Victoria.

But despite its title, the forum will not be a public discussion on climate change – and it will be limited to about 60-70 participants.

SEA president Lynn Murrell, also a life member of the conservation league, said instead it was aimed at farmers who were interested in increasing the biodiversity of their properties by planting more trees, protecting and enhancing wetlands and creating biodiversity corridors within the next two years – with a view to receiving help in meeting those goals.

Mr Murrell got to know Professor Flannery when he went on a trip around various Indonesian islands, West Papua and New Guinea with him last year.

“I raved about Portland and told him to come down and see it,” Mr Murrell said.

“He was very interested in our Landcare work and I said to him ‘if you’re coming down we’ll put on something for you’.”

In the meantime the conservation league became flush with funds after selling land it owned in Melbourne’s eastern growth corridor.

“They wanted to run climate change conferences and they have. It was our turn and hence here it is.”

While the 2007 Australian of the Year was well known and will talk about climate change at a local level, Dr Bettio is also prominent in her field and had done a lot of research and modelling on the impacts of climate change.

“The modelling for south west Victoria is very positive,” Mr Murrell said.

“It will be warmer but won’t be drier and we’ll go away from a Mediterranean type climate (wet winters and warm summers) to a more ‘trades’ type climate like northern NSW.

“She’ll reinforce that (at the forum) and will talk about how it will give opportunities for farmers, particularly with different cropping.” 

There would also be panel discussions, which led to the other aim of the forum, Mr Murrell said.

“We want to try and formulate community environment priorities, what people want, and the (conservation league) want to see whether the community can justify them spending money here,” he said.

“What I’m hoping from it is when we hear from the farmers on what they see as the key priorities, the outcome could be more help on the ground such as people to help our (Landcare and other SEA member group) volunteers.”

To book a place at the forum contact Lynn Murrell at lynn.murrell47@gmail.com.

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