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John B. Fairfax kickstarts landmark Murray-Darling project with $2 million gift

Australian business leader John B. Fairfax AO(1) has made a $2 million gift to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in support of the Gayini Nimmie-Caira Project – the most ambitious conservation project ever undertaken in the Murray-Darling Basin. The gift also establishes the John B. Fairfax Conservation Fellowship.

Mr Fairfax’s gift will fund the operational costs of Gayini Nimmie-Caira over a two-year period including the creation of the fellowship. Mr Fairfax said “I was inspired by the ambitious vision for the property, including enhanced Aboriginal cultural heritage, sustainable agriculture and the conservation of world-class waterbird breeding habitat”. Mr Fairfax said he hoped his commitment to fund the operating costs of the project will inspire others to donate to conservation and culture.

The inaugural John B. Fairfax Fellow is Indigenous leader Rene Woods of the Nari Nari First Nation. Mr Woods is the Chair of Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations and was recently appointed as the Gayini Nimmie-Caira Project Manager.

“I am looking forward to working with TNC as the Gayini Nimmie-Caira Project Manager, helping to provide opportunities for the Hay and Balranald communities to reconnect with Country”, said Mr Woods. “I’m thrilled to receive the fellowship. Being a traditional custodian of the Country, I’m honoured to manage, protect and enhance Country. I thank John B. Fairfax for the opportunity to further develop my conservation and leadership skills during the fellowship” he added.

Gayini Nimmie-Caira is 85,000 hectares of internationally significant Murrumbidgee floodplain in south-west NSW. In May, the NSW Government announced it had appointed a consortium, comprised of TNC, the Nari Nari Tribal Council, the Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group and the Centre for Ecosystem Science at UNSW Sydney to manage the property .

The project is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a new, sustainably managed and financed conservation property for the benefit of people and nature. This creates a ground-breaking win for nature, the local economy and Indigenous re-connection to Country. The project is supported by the NSW and Commonwealth governments(2).
 
(1) John B. Fairfax is a former director of the media group that bears his family name.
(2) Read more about the announcement and the future management plans for Nimmie-Caira here.