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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Page: 14041

Mr FLETCHER (Bradfield) (09:59): I rise to speak on the topic of Bushcare in Bradfield and the importance of caring for native bush. The electorate of Bradfield is very fortunate in that almost everybody in the electorate lives within a few minutes of extensive swathes of natural bushland. It is a very important part of the character of the upper North Shore of Sydney. Unfortunately, there is a real danger of the unique character of our bushland being compromised. This is where the many volunteer Bushcare groups in the electorate of Bradfield do such an outstanding job. These hardworking volunteers do such things as removing rubbish and refuse from local bushland, and removing noxious weeds to stop them from spreading. They help preserve local biodiversity through caring for native plants and animals. They plant native seedlings and they educate and provide training workshops for those who want to know more about maintaining local bushland. In recent months I myself have had the benefit of being educated in being able to recognise such species as lantana, privet andtrad. These groups do outstanding work and I want to acknowledge the remarkable contribution they make.

We have a very large number of Bushcare groups in Bradfield—in fact, we have identified some 88 groups—and in recent months I have had the privilege of visiting several of those groups; for example, the Quarry Creek Bushcare group in West Pymble, led by Bill Jones; the Geary's Way Bushcare group inKillara, led by HughLander;and the Broadway Bushcare group in Wahroonga, led by Harry Lock. In each case these leaders and the volunteers working with them were very generous with their time and expertise in sharing with me the stories of the work they do and showing me some of the areas which they have successfully regenerated. I also want to acknowledge the important work of Ku-ring-gai Council and Hornsby council in supporting the Bushcare groups and providing important resources and training to underpin their work.

Most importantly, I want to acknowledge the volunteers in the Bushcare groups. The native bush of Australia is extremely important to our sense of identity and sense of self, and is a critical element of our overall environment. That is as true of the electorate of Bradfield as it is of the nation more generally. Therefore, the work that the volunteers in these Bushcare groups do is of the highest importance in preserving that environment against the many pressures which today's modern life can create. They do tremendous work and I congratulate them on the contribution that they make.