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The Great Australian Land Grab

October 8th, 2005 at 11:50pm

I was somewhat surprised when I received one of my magazine subscriptions in the mail during the week, not because of the magazine, but because of the advertising bundled with it. Now, I could launch into a tirade about how I pay for the magazine and there is already enough advertising in it without more being sent to the subscribers, but I won’t do that now, instead I shall focus on the actual advertising.

The advertising leaflet was from the Australian Bush Heritage Fund, who are a non-profit organisation comitted to buying bits of the country to save the wildlife living in those areas. Whilst this is a somewhat worthwhile cause, it does have an odd way of doing things.

To start with, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of them, which makes me wonder about their marketing campaign, I just don’t understand why they chose to perform an assisted mass mailout to subscribers of an IT magazine…odd demographic if you ask me. Why not get the leaflet put in National Geographic and the other nature magazines? Surely that would provide a better response than IT readers who want to see technical specifications of new computer bits and pieces. Also, considering that their website is written rather poorly by somebody who obviously doesn’t understand ASP very well is not going to endear them to many IT people…although you might get a generous person offer to redo the site in something functional (and cheaper to run).

I also think there is something wrong with the way they run their schemes. They want donations so that they can buy out the land that contains the endangered species. I think they would go better if they bought the land and sold shares to people, with a contract allowing the bush heritage people to make executive decisions. Surely this would be more attractive to people. I know I would rather own a share of the land saving endangered animals, than to give money fo somebody else to buy the land.

Of course this is just my view, but I stick by it, and I think the bush heritage people would be well advised to take it on board.

Samuel

Entry Filed under: Samuel's Editorials

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1 Comment

  • 1. Samuel  |  October 10th, 2005 at 10:07 pm

    I received the following reply from The Australian Bush Heritage Fund and I thank them for taking the time to reply.

    Reply from Australian Bush Heritage Fund

    Australian Bush Heritage advertises its conservation work through a very large program of brochures, mainly in “nature interest”, outdoors, and relevant scientific interest magazines. We find that our work appeals to people with a wide range of interests, so testing our promotion to readers of “PC User” is just part of a comprehensive progam. We don’t find that interest comes only from readers of specifically “conservation” magazines.

    There are several different ways that people can contribute to conservation by buying interests in land which they own, rather than giving a tax-deductible donation to a not-for-profit organisation like Bush Heritage. One is to buy and own land which is “covenanted” – with a legally binding, permanent restriction to protect the habitat on the land from clearing etc. Many states now have a specialist organisation which “brokers” these properties, and advises how to manage them. A second indirect means is to purchase shares in a listed company which owns land and manages it for both conservation and commercial goals (mainly eco-tourism), and there is one Australian company which does this.

    Bush Heritage has chosen not to duplicate these approaches. We find that many Australians like the idea of contibuting to protect ecosystems permanently, with none of the ongoing financial burden or requirement of technical know-how. Over 14,000 people have donated in this way.


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