For some years now, a growing number concerned people and I have been making strenuous efforts to get the noosa biosphere Reserve Foundation out of the cupboard to demonstrate to the community that it is eager to engage and to be more visible and disclosing about its decisions and its operations. But here we are in mid-2018 and that cupboard door has resisted all efforts to prise it open.
Before this current version of the Biosphere (NBRF v2 dates back to 2014), there was an earlier Noosa Biosphere Ltd (NBL v1, 2007-14). Both versions were established under a template provided by UNESCO. Both have had relatively the same annual budget.
So I wonder why, at the same time in its development, v1 was so far ahead of v2 in its community engagement, its wide acceptance, its range of activities and its revenue raising? In fact, by this time, four years in, according to UNESCO v1 was one of the top 20 Biospheres globally.
There is clearly something lacking in v2 in terms of organisational functionality, coordination, leadership and investment that is resulting in lack of engagement and outcomes and, even worse, community antipathy?
When v2 was established, it was boasted of by the then Council as a fix (albeit to something which wasn’t broken), people-run (although scores of volunteers were shown the door in favour of a small clique) and a deductible tax contribution magnet (although it turned its back on the revenue-raising which was a major feature of v1).
The truth is that the earlier v1 model achieved much, much more than its successor – which has developed as little more than a mechanism to hand out ratepayers’ funds to a relatively small number of organisations, something presumably Noosa Council could have done itself.
The bottom line on v2 is that its progenitors, in turning their back on the successes of v1, denouncing its leaders and demeaning its many activities, left Noosa with a struggling organisation.
Noosa Council is now applying Band-aids. They are unlikely the staunch the flow of credibility and goodwill that any successful community organisation requires.
What is the Noosa Biosphere Reserve?
Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation former Chair, Rex Halverson shares what makes the Noosa Biosphere Reserve special and what it means to live in a biosphere reserve. Learn more at www.noosabiosphere.org.au
This video was created in collaboration with Tourism Noosa as part of the EntertheBiosphere campaign.