A successful dinner meeting was held by HMASA with a government minister and advisers, who explained about SA’s water plans and how Adelaide is set to become greener. They were well grilled by HMASA members!
More than 30 members of HMASA enjoyed an informative dinner meeting at the Robin Hood Hotel on June 17. Guest speaker was South Australia’s Minister for Environment and Water, David Speirs MP, who was accompanied by his Ministerial Adviser, Lucy Huxter, and Chief Executive of the Department, John Schutz. The Department of Environment and Water (DEW) plays a significant role in managing the state’s unique natural environment for the prosperity and well-being of current and future generations of South Australians.
Minister Spiers impressed his audience with his clear, concise presentation as well as his frank and open discussion on issues that mean so much to the horticultural industry in South Australia and in particular HMASA. He discussed critical issues such as climate change, the ‘Greening of Adelaide Plan’, planting and maintaining thousands of trees and the all-important and much-loved Adelaide Botanic Garden (ABG).
He said the ABG had received a large cut to its budget prior to his term as Minister but assured the audience he was committed to the Garden. “The Botanic Garden has now received $12.2 million for much-needed infrastructure projects including new toilets, new irrigation, better car parking and walking trails,” he said.
His answers in response to questions put to the Minister during the evening, were well received and may have left the audience feeling a little more confident for the future on many and varied areas of importance on the subjects of climate, water, flood plain harvesting of the Murray-Darling and greening of both urban and regional areas.
Trevor Nottle President of HMASA asked the Minister if trees selected for inclusion in the Greening Adelaide Plan would be able to handle the changing climate and how the parameters for selection will be decided.
Minister Speirs said the Landscape Management Boards and Greening Adelaide, with a strong involvement from local government, arborists and staff responsible for tree planting and maintenance, are looking into this.
HMA Committee Member Rebecca Mumford asked the Minister if our educators in schools will be offered physical hands-on support to contribute to the Green Adelaide nature education priority. He replied by saying the DEW and the Green Adelaide Board will encourage schools to visit their local parks, botanical gardens and national parks to promote connection to nature. He recognised that children spend much of their time in school so there is a need to consider how they can access nature in these environments. “The challenges of an already full curriculum are being acknowledged as well as the need to review the support offered to schools in contributing to nature education, for example the support offered by Nature Play SA,” Minister Speirs said.
The questions on raising awareness for more green space in urban communities was raised by Neville Sloss from the NGISA while Kim Syrus asked how does Green Adelaide intend to communicate its messages of cooler, greener, wilder and climate resilient metropolitan Adelaide to the broader community.
The evening was deemed as a very successful event with many issues addressed that has certainly created a good relationship and opened up the lines of communication for both HMASA members and the South Government for future communications as there are still a lot of important questions to be answered. The next HMASA dinner meeting to be held in South Australia will be the AGM to be held on Tuesday, August 17. For more information about this event, contact Dianne Hall on firstname.lastname@example.org.