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Coup for Sustainable Lifestyle Expo

The Bland Creek Sustainable Lifestyle Expo has landed a remarkable last minute coup by securing one of the world’s leading authorities on crocodiles and a state finalist for the Australian of the Year award as guest speakers.

In what promises to be one of the highlights of the Expo, Professor Graham Webb and his wife Giovanna Webb will officially open the Expo at 11am and deliver a special presentation in McCann Park at approximately 2pm.

Just a few months after delivering the key note address at the World Crocodile Conference in Sri Lanka, Professor Webb will share fascinating stories about his unique work all around the world and the journey which led him from his childhood near Condobolin to “Crocodylus Park”, a zoo and crocodile breeding centre he runs with wife Giovanna in the Northern Territory.

He is a businessman who believes in the sustainable use of wildlife and has carried out groundbreaking research on saltwater crocodiles. In an interview broadcast on ABC, Professor Webb said he has no patience for people who don't agree with the farming side "They don't understand how I can fight for the conservation at the same time making them into handbags," he said.

His work over the years has seen crocodile numbers increase, which in turn means there is more risk of attack. "Then people want to eradicate them," Professor Webb said in the interview. He says the only way to get people to tolerate predators is to make the benefits that come back as high as possible - "with crocodiles that's achieved through sustainable use".

Professor Webb won the 2001 Clunies Ross science award for his vision for wildlife conservation.

Giovanna Webb is a Northern Territory state finalist for the 2014 Australian of the Year Award for her achievements as a businesswoman and mentor.

Along with her husband, Mrs Webb houses 10,000 crocodiles, undertakes research projects and educates 60,000 visitors each year at “Crocodylus Park”. Her crocodile skins are sold to high-end European fashion houses and manufactured into handbags.

Committed to creating employment opportunities for Indigenous people, Mrs Webb has developed a pilot program that is training Indigenous women in the skills they need to build sustainable businesses in the crocodile industry. She is introducing her trainees to a wide range of crocodile farming activities, and has already helped communities generate income by incorporating crocodile skins, teeth, and eggs into their unique art work to transform crocodile by-products.

The Bland Creek Sustainable Lifestyle Expo runs from 9.30am until 4pm.

Prior to the talk from Professor and Mrs Webb, people will be able to see a live crocodile at the Bland Shire Children’s Expo taking place at Barnado Park between 10am and 2pm.

Live demonstrations from Crocodile Encounters promise to be one of the highlights of the Children’s Expo alongside special guest story time readings from recently published children’s authors Jane Hopper and Lynn Ward.