Combining BA - BOCA About Bloody Time!

To: "Tony Russell" <>, "'Alan Gillanders'" <>, <>
Subject: Combining BA - BOCA About Bloody Time!
From: "Ross Macfarlane" <>
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 2010 12:48:47 +1100
The fact that this debate has started here is a sign that the two organisations are trying to take a measured and consultative approach to the issue, because it arises a letter which has been sent to all members of both organisations, signed by the Presidents of both (Alison Russell-French and John Barkla). I received mine yesterday so some non-Melbourne members here may not have received them yet. The letter specifically seeks to engage members of both organisations in the discussion, and lists the CEOs of the 2 organisations (Graeme Hamilton, and Richard Hunter, as the contact points for the joint Working Group.

I'm a member of Birds Australia, and I had no prior knowledge of this issue, but I think the way they are going about broaching it is laudable. I'm inclined to support the move, because that they will gain more clout as a single representative of birds' & bird-lovers' interests at a national level, and that's what this is about, it seems to me - establishing a single *peak* body.

But that's just my view. Some of the concerns raised by individuals in this discussion so far are entirely appropriate to be raised - so raise them, but while you're doing it here, make your views known to the Working Group (even if you aren't a member of either.) Issues raised so far include conservation practice, local identity and membership as affiliates or separate organisations, what happens to funds, which organisation is the stronger & weaker party in the merger, etc. These are important issues for community-based organisations - really important, because if mishandled they can tear groups apart.

So make your views known, and seek to have these needs reconciled in a proposed peak organisation, or if they can't be, then don't proceed. But when the 2 organisations are taking an inclusive approach, please at least give them a chance - listen to them, and let them hear you.

Ross Macfarlane

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