We're the first Australian bank to have a conservation reserve – it’s one way we’re using the business of banking to create a healthier planet. Our reserve is home to 251 native plant and 283 native animal species.
The reserve is a group of four properties in Western Victoria, outside Horsham. They’re under a conservation covenant with Trust for Nature, which means they’re protected from development forever.
The impact of colonisation and agriculture in Victoria’s western Wimmera region means the native ecology is particularly vulnerable to emerging threats, like climate change.
We’re working with our partners Greening Australia and Trust for Nature, plus Traditional Owners from the Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagulk peoples, represented by Barengi Gadjin Land Council (BGLC), our reserve neighbours and local CFAs to ensure the reserve is a thriving and collaborative example of science-based conservation in action.
The four conservation reserve properties
Located on the northern side of the Little Desert National Park, Salvana is home to magnificent grass trees, stringybarks and buloke sprawling out across sandy rises. Hooded robins, little eagles, the fiery jewel butterfly can be seen moving through and above the trees. Stumpy tailed lizards and bearded dragons are also found among the ground vegetation.
Is home to magnificent yellow gums and bulokes, and has been the focus of significant habitat restoration efforts since its purchase. Diamond firetails and Fiery jewel butterflies make Minimay their home along with endangered slender cupflowers and western bitter cress. Large stands of buloke exist with colourful vanilla lilies, a known sovereign (bush) food tuber.
Read about 3 good news stories from the conservation reserve.
Is adjacent to the Morea State Forest and provides a vegetative buffer to Lake Morea and nearby private wetlands and Lake Carpolac. Heathy herb rich woodland and shallow sands woodland dominate the property providing habitat for bird life and mammals. Large sections have been planted with yellow gums and will be a focus for future biodiverse understorey plantings. Red-tailed black cockatoos regularly visit this property feeding on the stringybark and buloke.
Significant restoration efforts have occurred at Booroopki over the last 15 years with a result of an emerging biodiverse ecosystem supporting and buffering remnant heathy herb-rich woodland and shallow sands woodland on the property and adjacent Morea bushland reserve. This property along with the others contains culturally significant plants and animals.
Why a Conservation Reserve?
We purchased the first property in 2008, to act on our customers’ concerns about climate change and protection of nature.
The Bank Australia Conservation Reserve has grown hugely since 2008, in size and scope. We’re making tangible steps towards reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through our relationships and actions on the reserve.
The reserve also supports our planet through:
- Protecting culturally significant sites
- Providing ecosystem services to the wider landscape
- Providing a buffer to the Little Desert National Park
- Providing food and habitat for endangered species
- Protecting significant Mallee and Wimmera ecosystems
- Storing biodiverse carbon
Our 10-year strategy
Our strategy outlines five action areas:
- Wildlife and land conservation
- Climate change resilience
- Engaging the community
- Demonstrating corporate environmental leadership
- Delivering value to Bank Australia and our customers
We also identified priority threatened plant and animal species to protect, to provide a clear focus for land management.
We report on our work in our annual Impact Report so you can see how we’re tracking.
History of the conservation reserve
We purchased the first Conservation Reserve property at Minimay at 201 hectares.
We purchased the Ozenkadnook property, bringing us to 437 hectares.
We purchased the Minimay North property, making the reserve 657 hectares.
The Minimay West property joined, bringing the total to 760 hectares.
We added the Booroopki property, bringing us to our current total of 927 hectares.
We'd protected 590 hectares of remnant native vegetation (the type with the highest conservation value).
We grew our focus from carbon sequestration towards restoring biodiversity. This changes the way we do conservation and how we measure success.
We counted! And recorded a total of 226 native plant species.
We'd revegetated 350 hectares of native food sources and habitat for endangered species such as the South Eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo.
We partnered with Greening Australia to manage the reserve.
We released our 10-year strategy, Reimagining the Future.
We won the Banksia (Large Business) Award, in partnership with Greening Australia and Trust for Nature, for the reserve’s 10-year strategy.
We commissioned the Barenji Gadjin Land Council to conduct a Cultural Heritage Survey to reveal culturally significant sites across the reserve.
We commissioned the University of Melbourne to conduct a Fire Risk Assessment for protecting the reserve and our neighbours.
We began the Indigenous trainee programme to further integration Indigenous Land Management to the reserve.
We began the process for our first Traditional cool burn – a gentle practice for reducing pests and fire risk, and for Traditional Custodians to reconnect with a key practice of caring for Country.
We reached 100 hectares of land offset from our construction loans, which are currently growing at a bit over 10% per year in area.
We received results from the eDNA testing of the reserve wetlands and dams to help us restore these to their natural, healthy state.
We had our first bushfire from a lightning strike. With the support of our local neighbours, the CFA responded to the fire before it caused significant damage.
Bank Australia purchase Salvana, a new conservation reserve site. This purchase doubled the size of land under conservation.
Greening Australia completed a monitoring survey to evaluate the impact of 5 years of protection and regeneration work on the conservation reserve, which are published in the Big Spring Monitoring Report.