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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13379


Mrs PRENTICE ( Ryan ) ( 11:56 ): I move:

That this House:

(1)    acknowledges that many young Australians are environmentally conscious and interested in protecting our precious natural environment;

(2)    recognises that the Government's Green Army programme is providing practical opportunities for young Australians to participate in local environmental projects;

(3)    acknowledges that participants gain practical skills and training that can assist them to prepare for the workforce and improve career opportunities;

(4)    notes that four Green Army projects have commenced in the electoral division of Ryan, and hundreds more have commenced across Australia; and

(5)    commends the Government for committing more than $700 million over four years to the Green Army programme.

My electorate of Ryan takes in the most beautiful and greenest parts of Queensland's most sustainable city. In thinking about how to save our planet from our own backyard and leaving our natural assets in better condition, a new generation of young environmentalists is enlisting in our Green Army. I am as optimistic as I am proud of this growing army of young environmental champions, especially those who also live, work and love Brisbane's leafy western suburbs.

The coalition government's Green Army will make a real difference in some of our country's neglected natural estate through restoring and protecting habitat, weeding, planting, cleaning up creeks and rivers, and restoring cultural heritage areas. The Green Army initiative will bring our government's investment in natural resource management to more than $2 billion over four years from 2015-16.

In improving and rehabilitating our natural estate, actions speak louder than words. And, in climate policy more broadly, thinking globally requires meaningful action at the local level. That is why I am pleased to report that Brisbane is Queensland's most sustainable city for the second consecutive year and it was also Australia's most sustainable city last year and a finalist again this year. For a high-growth city like Brisbane to be consistently recognised as one of our nation's most sustainable is not something that is achieved by accident. It is not the product of unconstrained ideology, a union credit card and wishful thinking. The coalition is committed to good planning, strong leadership, hard work, an innovative and agile approach to policy design and a commitment to work with our community to deliver more affordable and better local solutions.

In my electorate of Ryan this year, for example, the coalition is supporting four Green Army projects. We are working with our community to restore about 1.5 hectares of bushland along Enoggera Creek that will include installing visitor interpretive signs, revegetating and planting native shrubs and trees, removing weeds and increasing resilience in the waterways. Following on from work already completed as part of the Two Million Trees Project, the Anstead Bushlands Environmental Restoration Project will restore a further 7.3 hectares of land. Then there is the Ashgrove Scenic Reserve Restoration Project and, following on from valuable work done by Habitat Brisbane, the Paten Park Restoration project, which will help remove weeds and replant native species in their place. These natural environmental improvement projects are a fantastic way to encourage and educate our youth about natural ecosystems, environmental conservation and how to care for the unique natural assets in our own backyard.

For young Australians aged between 17 and 24, the Green Army provides valuable practical experience and training while undertaking work that will improve the environment in our local communities right across urban, regional and remote Australia. It will be Australia's biggest ever team supporting environment action and will grow to about 15,000 young Australians by 2018. In our first year, the coalition government announced more than 700 projects. More than 350 projects have already been rolled out, and this will increase to about 1,500 projects right across Australia in four years. It is a great opportunity for us to work with our community leaders so that the natural assets in the special parts of our own backyard benefit from an innovative program that supports local environment and heritage conservation projects. I enjoy working with our community leaders, including Lord Mayor Graham Quirk and the council's chairman for environment, parks and sustainability, Councillor Matthew Bourke, to make sure our city has a cleaner and greener future.

The experience in Brisbane over the last decade has shown that to deliver the best possible environmental outcome it is important to develop and support practical actions for the whole community house by house, street by street, suburb by suburb. The results speak for themselves. While Labor and their union bosses are still gambling on a policy of action fuelled by ideology, the coalition will continue to deliver more affordable, more meaningful and more sustainable outcomes locally. Actions speak louder than words, and that is why I am proud to be an honorary ambassador for Queensland's most sustainable city and it is why I applaud the coalition government's Green Army program, because it will drive and support real local action and better environmental outcomes right across the Australian landscape.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Dr Southcott ): Is the motion seconded?