Australia–India Council Annual Report 2000–2001
Environment and heritage (including agribusiness, mining and energy)
The objectives of the Council's environment and heritage program are to demonstrate in India the quality, sophistication and diversity of Australian products and services in the environmental, heritage, agribusiness, and mining and energy sectors and to promote professional and institutional links in these fields between Australia and India.
The Council's major environmental management project in 2000–01 was the Australia–India Disaster Management Symposium, held in New Delhi from 20 to 22 November 2000. Developed and conducted jointly with Emergency Management Australia, the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Indian Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), the symposium brought together leading Australian and Indian emergency management specialists to discuss how each country deals with disasters and to identify procedures with common benefits for affected communities. The symposium was co-chaired by AIC Chairman Michael Abbott QC and by Mr V Suresh, the HUDCO Chairman and Managing Director.
|AIC Chairman Michael Abbott QC (left) presenting a gift to Indian Minister for Rural Development Mr Venkaiah Naidu at the inauguration of the three-day Australia–India Disaster Management Symposium in New Delhi, November 2000.
(Photo: Australian High Commission, New Delhi)
The symposium, attended by a wide range of participants from national and state government and non-government organisations, the military, training organisations and news media representatives, was highly successful. Immediate outcomes of the symposium included visits to Australia (with AIC support) by leading Indian disaster management officials including:
- Dr RK Bhandari, Director of the National Centre for Disaster Mitigation and Management, to participate in the Global Disaster Information Network conference in Canberra in March 2001
- Mr Siddhanta Das, Executive Director of the Orissa State Disaster Mitigation Authority, to gain familiarity with Australian emergency management planning and response procedures and with the range of emergency management training facilities in Australia.
Other Council-funded environment projects included:
- a community-based project in Mumbai to demonstrate a range of Australian waste management and other environmental technology and services, managed by Australian Business Limited
- participation by Professor John Lovering, Mr Stephen Mills and Mr John Gillett in a workshop on water sector reform in Hyderabad in June 2001, in collaboration with the Andhra Pradesh state government, the World Bank and Goulburn–Murray Water.
Mr Robert Bednarik of the Australian Rock Art Research Association (AURA) organised a four-week visit to Australia by Dr KK Chakravarty, Director of the Indira Gandhi National Museum of Man, and Dr Giriraj Kumar, Secretary of the Rock Art Society of India, to participate in the Third AURA Congress in Alice Springs in July 2000. The visit to Australia provided Dr Chakravarty and Dr Kumar with greater familiarity with rock art research techniques in Northern Australia, and enabled them to participate in a preparatory meeting for a planned international commission to examine and test an important rock art discovery in the Chambal Valley in central India.
Mr Vinod Daniel of the Australian Museum undertook a series of visits to India during the year to provide advice on materials conservation issues, collection transfer and display case design for the planned gallery extension at the Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai.
Dr Chris Barlow of the Freshwater Fisheries and Aquaculture Centre of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries has organised a bilateral training and research exchange in barramundi farming, to take place during 2001–02 in both India and Australia. The Indian project partner will be the Indian Marine Products Export Development Agency, and the exchange is intended to highlight Australian products and services in the aquaculture sector.
Professor David Coventry of the University of Adelaide is to undertake a visit to India to establish scientific collaborative links between his University and the Rice–Wheat Consortium for the Indo-Gangetic Plains on soil environmental health and system sustainability, focusing on the issues of rising water tables and the build-up of herbicide resistance, which are of concern to both countries.
Mining and energy
The Australian Centre for Mining and Environmental Research managed a visit to Western Australia during October and November 2000 by five senior Indian mining and environmental management representatives: Mr KK Jain and Mr AN Prasad of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Mr RK Sharma of the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries, Mr GS Naidu of the National Mineral Development Corporation, and Mr PP Chanana of the Environment Management Division of the Steel Authority of India. The purpose of the visit was to examine Australian expertise and regulatory frameworks in sustainable mining practice and mine rehabilitation. The Indian delegation participated in environmental management workshops in Perth and undertook visits to mining rehabilitation sites in the Pilbara, Capel and Collie districts.