Aila Keto Selected as a "Queensland Great" 2005
Backgrounder (With some minor updating edits, the following text was prepared by the Department of The Premier & Cabinet when Aila was selected as Queenslander of the Year 2000)
On a professional and personal level, Dr Aila Keto is truly a living legend within the conservation movement of Australia.
Her tireless efforts in conserving Queensland's natural heritage and in establishing valuable relationships between key interest groups are an inspiration to all Queenslanders.
20 years ago, Dr Keto took up a career as a research scientist to devote her life to conservation and since then, has been principally responsible for the protection of more than 1.5 million hectares of forest in Queensland - the State that is the major core of biological diversity in Australia.
In 1982, Dr Keto founded the Rainforest Conservation Society of Queensland (now known as the Australia Rainforest Conservation Society) and since then, has worked full time on a voluntary basis as the Society's President to conserve the forests of Queensland and other areas.
A recognised authority on World Heritage matters, Dr Keto has been largely responsible for the preparation of three successful world heritage nominations - the Wet Tropics, Fraser Island and the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves of Australia. She has also been instrumental in bringing an end to rainforest logging on Crown land in the State in 1989.
Aila Keto's most recent achievement was the negotiation of the historic South East Queensland Forest agreement signed by the Queensland Timber Board, three major conservation groups and the Queensland Government. The Agreement is a landmark, setting a national precedent for cooperation between the timber industry and the conservation movement, and establishing Queensland as a leader in the Regional Forest Agreement process.
Dr Keto's contribution to conservation has been recognised through numerous Awards including:
- The BHP Bicentennial Award for the Pursuit of Excellence (Environment)
- Advance Australia Foundation Award
- United Nations Environment Programıs Global 500 Roll of Honour
- Avon Spirit of Achievement Award
- Telecom Australia's World Class Achievers
- Finalist in the IBM Conservation Award.
In addition, Dr Keto is only the second Australian to receive the Fred M. Packard Award from the IUCN Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas. In 1994, Dr Keto was made an officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and selected as Queenslander of the Year 2000.
Dr Keto's work has also been recognised by her conservation peers, having been elected an Honorary Life Member of the Australian Conservation Foundation in 1990. In 1999, she received a Golden Gecko Award from the Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council and a special Award for Outstanding Environmental Achievement from the Sunshine Coast Environment Council for her work on South East Queensland Forests.
Dr Aila Keto's determination and achievements make her an outstanding ambassador for the environment, ensuring that Queenslandıs natural heritage will continued to be enjoyed by countless thousands of Queenslanders and tourists for many years to come.
Queensland Greats Web Site