Under Australia’s International Aid programme, a series of Fellowships are provided for applicants from Africa to complete study programmes in Australia and Africa.
One of these Fellowships is entitled “Managing the Social and Environmental Impacts of Mining”. The Fellowship is delivered by the University of Queensland, and the participants complete their work both in Australia and Africa.
The 2014 group visited us in Emerald on November 17th, where I had the pleasure of being invited to address the group about my experiences as Director of an Environmental Consultancy, and how environmental monitoring here in Australia differs from the African experience. Having just retuned from South Africa and Mozambique, the timing of their visit was impeccable, and it almost felt like I hadn’t left.
From the questions that the students were asking, it seems that they face some of the same challenges as we do. Our Australian environmental regulations are ostensibly a lot stricter, and we certainly don’t suffer from the endemic corruption in Government that some of them deal with in their countries. But many of the social effects are mirrored on both continents.
A few of the participants even treated us to some impromptu African dancing, and were eventually joined by local Councillors Gail Godwin-Smith and Charlie Brimblecombe. Let’s just say that it just as well Gail and Charlie are good at being Councillors, because they’re not going to make a living as dancers.
By Bronwyn Reid
21 November 2014