Regenerating Straddie

Written on the 7 October 2009

Regenerating Straddie

Environmental impact management is now integral to the success of small business as Gold Coast companies lead Australia’s global charge for sustainability.

Mark Bibby is the managing director of this month’s Business Excellence Award winner Gecko Regen in the environmental management category. Bibby tells GCBN how Gecko Regen is working away on local projects to ensure Queensland and eventually the world, maintains its natural beauty.

What does your business do exactly?
In a nutshell we assist land managers to plan and implement the restoration, maintenance and improvement of natural areas and the interface between natural areas and the built environment. We have four main business divisions: 1. Bush regeneration/integrated weed control; 2. Revegetation/natural area landscaping; 3. Local provenance plant production; and 4. Ecological restoration planning and consultancy.

What major projects are you working on?
We are currently working on some interesting projects - Bush regeneration on 174ha of South Stradbroke Island; collection and propagation of national environmental significance plant species for the Hinze Dam Upgrade.

Ecological restoration of a 16ha creek buffer which runs through the middle of a large housing development at Pacific Pines; propagation trials and cultivation of the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Vine Pararistolochia praevenosa.

Revegetation and rehabilitation of Gold Coast City Council landfill facilities; dune restoration projects at Rainbow Bay, Currumbin, Palm Beach, Mermaid, Surfers Paradise and The Spit.

Seed collection and propagation for wildlife corridors at the new Wyaralong Dam in Scenic Rim Shire; mangrove and saltmarsh restoration associated with drainage works at a sand mining facility at Woongoolba.

Expansion plans?
We predict revenue growth to be in the vicinity of 8 per cent for 2010 rising to 20-25 per cent in 2011. We currently have 28 staff and this growth will require three new staff members in operations and one administration officer.

We are closely monitoring developments in the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme to assess possible business opportunities if they arise.

Any opportunities in this area will increase the above forecasts.

What about export?
Currently all of our projects are in southeast Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

We have looked at potential export markets in the Asia/Pacific and the Middle East for our restoration planning and consultancy division. We will continue to explore the possibilities through our involvement with Enviroindustry Gold Coast and Austrade.

Major hurdles?
Following the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US, the first real impact on our business was a delay and subsequent cancellation of a significant long-term contract associated with a large housing development project on the Gold Coast. This was a sign of things to come with work slowing on other housing development projects where funding had not been fully established prior to the credit crunch.

Luckily for us, one of our goals from 2004 was to diversify our income streams. We achieved this goal in 2006 and since then we have maintained a favourable spread of clients and project partners across government, private and non-government sectors.


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