Last week the Government reaffirmed its commitment to the Green Army. This is great news for the Parkes Electorate. Not only will the Green Army have a practical, beneficial environmental outcome, it is also a part of the Government’s Economic Action Strategy. Young people will gain hands on experience and valuable training while making a difference in their local communities.
The Federal Government has allocated $525 million over 4 years to support grass roots action to meet local environmental challenges. The Green army will be the largest-ever team meeting environmental challenges across the country and will be up to 15,000 by 2018.
Green Army’s will undertake projects like cleaning up riverbanks and creek beds, re-vegetating, managing weeds and invasive pests, and protecting local significant heritage sites.
This week I spoke on the Green Army legislation as it passed through the House of Representatives. I am excited about the opportunities the Green Army will offer for young people aged 17-24 years, especially in our smaller communities to skills and to consider exploring careers in conservation management.
Green Army participants will be paid an allowance and will help local communities deliver a range of projects for up to six months. Hands-on work experience will be combined with nationally recognised training opportunities to help these young people enter the workforce or improve their career opportunities.
The Green Army will make a real difference to the environment and local communities through projects that will be carried out across urban, regional and remote Australia on public land, Indigenous-held lands, or private land where there is a clear community and environmental benefit.
The investment in the Green Army will bring the Government’s entire investment in natural resource management to $2 billion over four years from 2014/15.
I expect several Green Army projects to begin in the Parkes Electorate in the near future. The Moree Plains Shire Council has been working with the community at Toomelah and Boggabilla to establish a Green Army team to look at revegetation and weed management at the Boobera Lagoon in the far North East of the Electorate. RiverSmart has been working with the community and with Councils in the Macquarie Valley to continue and extend their existing work on the Macquarie River Bank.
These are both great projects which will provide both environmental benefits and social benefits as young people gain skills and move into full time work.
I encourage community groups to consider putting forward suitable projects in their local area.
Further information about the Green Army is available at: www.environment.gov.au/green-army