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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13380

Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (12:01): I second the motion put forward by the member for Ryan. Whilst I strongly condemn her politicising of the facts—that people being in a union is somehow a bad thing—I am happy to speak on the motion in terms of the contribution that the Green Army makes in my electorate of Moreton. On Thursday last week, I went out to the Oxley Creek Riparian Connectivity Phase 2 project and caught up with the young workers who were working on the banks of Oxley Creek at the Corinda Golf Course—375 Cliveden Avenue, Oxley, for those who are interested in a little game of golf. It is a little nine-hole golf course, one of the three in my electorate, with a little pitch-and-putt and a driving range on Oxley Road—a nice contribution to the local economy.

Oxley Creek drains an area of approximately 260 square kilometres. From the northern slopes of Mount Perry, south of Ipswich, Oxley Creek flows into the Brisbane River near Tennyson, which is the northern boundary of my electorate, just across the river from the member for Ryan's electorate. The Oxley Creek Catchment Association was formed in 1995 from collaboration between some members of the Oxley Creek Environment Group and the Australian Marine Conservation Society. They do fantastic work. This association developed the Oxley Creek Catchment Management Plan in early 1999. The association oversees the implementation of that plan and is guided by a fully endorsed catchment coordinating committee under the Department of Natural Resources and Mines integrated catchment management program.

In Australia every square metre of land is part of a catchment, even though some never reaches the ocean. Water falling in a catchment area will run across the surface of the catchment, becoming stormwater run-off or groundwater. It is important for the health of our waterways that associations like the Oxley Creek Catchment Association and their very dedicated and hardworking volunteers look after the health of our waterways. As water runs across the catchment area, some seeps into the soil and plant matter slows the flow so that, ideally, the water enters the creek slowly. Plants also naturally filter the water, keeping the creeks and rivers naturally purified. When the catchment areas are polluted, so too are our waterways, and then it flows out the Brisbane River to Moreton Bay and becomes a problem. In an urban environment like Moreton there are many factors that make it difficult to keep our waterways healthy and clean. Large sealed areas such as roadways and carparks make it impossible for the water to seep through into the soil, causing the flow to be too fast. The water will enter the creek without any filtering, carrying rubbish and polluting the waterways. That is a problem for wildlife further down the stream. It is crucial that the riparian creek bank vegetation is sturdy and healthy.

The work the Green Army is doing with the Oxley Creek Catchment Association is vital to the health of Moreton's waterways, be it Oxley Creek, Rocky Creek or any of the smaller tributaries. These hardworking young people I met last week, led by the two Joshes and Chris, include university students, school leavers and all sorts of people. These were young people who are very proud to be making a contribution to Australia's environment. Their assigned project involves managing weed species; cutting out a lot of the introduced species; removing debris, rubbish and litter; and establishing and maintaining a native riparian buffer. This will provide creek bank stabilisation and a natural filtration system for the overland flows that enter Oxley Creek, which—as anyone who lives around Rocklea knows—is a regular occurrence, even in some parts of Oxley and Corinda. The young people participating in this Green Army project are learning valuable skills and information about their local environment. They are learning from the Oxley Creek Catchment Association—people who are extremely dedicated and passionate about our environment. They are wonderful role models for these young people. It is this kind of practical mentoring in our society that will naturally promote sharing between generations of knowledge, practical skills and a little bit of that environmental passion.

Protecting our environment is everyone's business. We must all play our part. It is vitally important that our younger generations understand the importance of protecting our waterways, especially as dangerous climate change becomes a reality. This project will aid in preserving the environment and promoting knowledge and practical responses to dangerous climate change. I commend the Oxley Creek Catchment Association for hosting the Green Army, and I commend all of the young people working on that project—especially the young people I met last week. They make a valuable contribution to the environment in the Moreton electorate. They are doing a great job. I thank them again for their enthusiasm and for what they are doing to make sure waterways, such as Oxley Creek, are clean and healthy.