Brisbane to host world leading environmental science conference

The world’s most respected freshwater scientists will be heading to the river city of Brisbane to attend the Society for Freshwater Science (SFS) Annual Meeting in 2021.

The Brisbane conference will be the very first time the American based Society for Freshwater Science (SFS) has held its annual meeting outside of North America.

Australia’s reputation in water management and strong freshwater science community coupled with the desire to expand the Society’s international reach were behind the historic decision to choose Brisbane and Australia for the 2021 Annual Meeting.

Australia also has the largest membership of the Society of Freshwater Science outside of North America, so the choice was a natural fit.

The selection of Brisbane is well aligned, with the river at the heart of city life and Brisbane a water knowledge hub, while Queensland universities have established leading and diverse expertise in a broad range of arid, tropical and subtropical water environments.

Queensland’s Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said securing this Australian-first event for Brisbane demonstrated the strength of the state’s capital as a major event host.

“Queensland is the perfect host for business events like the SFS Annual Meeting, where delegates can enjoy our vibrant capital city and world-class tourism offerings in between their conference commitments.

“The Queensland Government is proud to support business events like this which are vital to Queensland’s tourism industry – attracting visitors and promoting our destinations.

BCEC Convention Advocate, Professor Stuart Bunn, Director, Australian Rivers Institute (ARI), Griffith University and Associate Professor Angus Webb of the Water, Environment and Agriculture Program, University of Melbourne together with the support of Australian  Freshwater Science Society and the New Zealand Freshwater Science Society, were the main drivers in bringing the event to Brisbane, working alongside Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Tourism and Events Queensland, Brisbane Marketing and Tourism Australia.

“Our Business Events Bid Fund was established to ensure Australia’s competitive position when bidding for these lucrative and important events against international competitors, and it’s great to see this win for Brisbane come through. Since the launch of the Fund, ten bids have been converted worth nearly $100 million for Australia’s economy,” said John O’Sullivan, Managing Director Tourism Australia.

Professor Bunn said the 2021 Annual Meeting will be co-hosted with the Australian and New Zealand freshwater science societies, making this the biggest meeting of its kind to be held in Australia. It is expected to attract more than 1,000 delegates including strong representation from places like China, Japan and Korea.

“With freshwater the most threatened ecosystem in the world, the meeting will provide Brisbane with the opportunity to showcase the city’s science capability and highlight Australia’s long standing reputation for the sustainable management of its water resources.”

“Australia’s variable climate and arid zone and tropical river systems provided a unique environment for the world’s foremost freshwater scientists to explore,” he said.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said Brisbane was a great place to live, work and invest and being the first city outside of North America to host the Society of Freshwater Science Annual Meeting would further build Brisbane’s international appeal.

“As Australia’s New World City, Brisbane is increasingly being viewed as a top destination for international meetings due to our industry expertise, world-class accommodation and event facilities as well as our growing tourism offering.”

Professor Bunn believes Brisbane will attract maximum delegate numbers due to the quality of the science, the general appeal of Australia as a must see destination, the opportunity for satellite science excursions, the lure of the Great Barrier Reef, and direct travel access from North America.

Associate Professor Webb said that momentum for an international meeting had been building within the Society for Freshwater Science for some time, but a compelling bid was lacking.

“As a regular attendee of the SFS meeting, I’ve talked to many people over the years who want to see the society become more international. But it took the attraction of Australia and Brisbane, and the excellent support from BCEC, to get the idea of an international meeting over the line,” he said.

General Manager, Bob O’Keeffe said the Centre is well versed in hosting major water and environmental events including the world’s largest meeting for water practitioners and researchers, IWA World Water Congress and Exhibition in 2016, and is particularly looking forward to welcoming delegates attending the first international meeting of the SFS.

“As an island continent and river city we are surrounded by water and collaborating with world leading experts in this field of science is of great value and paramount importance to Queenslanders and our local science community.”

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