As a Bank Australia customer, you’re a part owner of our 927 hectare Conservation Reserve.
We’re the only bank in the world with a conservation reserve – it’s one way we’re using the business of banking to create a healthier planet. Our reserve is home to 225 native plant and 270 native animal species.
The reserve is a group of three 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 Custodians Barengi Gadjin Land Council, our reserve neighbours and local CFAs to ensure the reserve is a thriving and collaborative example of science-based conservation in action.
Why a Conservation Reserve?
We bought the first property in 2008, to act on our customers’ concerns about climate change and to offset the impact of our lending for construction and motor vehicles. For example, we protect land on the reserve equal to the size of the building lots of all new home constructions we finance.
The Bank Australia Conservation Reserve has grown hugely since then, 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:
- Helping wildlife adapt to climate change
- Providing food and habitat for endangered species
- Protecting high-value bushland
- 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 our conservation reserve
We purchased our first Conservation Reserve property at Minimay at 201 hectares.
We bought the Ozenkadnook property, bringing us to 437 hectares.
We bought 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'd planted enough trees to sequester thew equivalent of 66,000+ tonnes of carbon to offset emissions associated with our car loans.
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 274 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, Reimaging the Future.
We won the Banksia (Large Business) Award, in partnership with Greening Australia and Trust for Nature, for our reserve’s 10-year strategy.
We commissioned the Barenji Gadjin Land Council to conduct a Cultural Heritage Survey to reveal culturally significant sites across our properties.
We commissioned the University of Melbourne to conduct a Fire Risk Assessment for protecting the reserve and our neighbours.
We began our reserve’s 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 got results from the eDNA testing of our 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.