The Great Eastern Ranges Initiative began its journey with a small team in the (former) NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change with funding from the Environmental Trust of NSW. Surveys and satellite mapping were used to identify five priority regions within NSW in which the initial onground works were focused.
In July 2010, GER’s leadership was transferred to a coalition of five NGO’s (Office of Environment & Heritage, National Parks Association of NSW, Greening Australia, OzGreen and Nature Conservation Trust of NSW). These Lead Partners provided the high level vision, governance, strategic planning and policy needed to position GER to fulfil its national vision and to persist beyond the initial funding stage. A small central team assisted to maintain essential national functions such as co-ordination, science and communications.
The NSW Environmental Trust continued to provide crucial funding for GER during this time, investing over $11 million between 2007 and 2014.
In 2012, GER influenced the development of Australia’s ‘National Wildlife Corridors Plan’, a world-leading policy developed to link broader community involvement in landscape conservation.
Between 2013 and 2015 there was an increasing focus on building on existing partnerships and projects. The original five Regional Partnerships grew to ten encompassing a network of more than 250 national, state and regional organisations with a presence across four states and territories.
In 2015 the NSW Government announced investment of $8 million for bush regeneration in the Great Eastern Ranges as part if its co-branded ‘Bushconnect in the GER’ program. The program has invested in 15 projects throughout the Ranges in NSW, enabling our regional partnerships and other local consortia to plan and deliver projects lasting for the next 10 years. In addition to project funding, the Government has also provided $300,000 to June 2017 to assist the GER in developing its next generation strategic plan and investment strategy.
Today, GER has grown to become one of the world’s largest conservation projects, achieving significant results across the length of the Ranges.