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Thursday, 23 September 1999
Page: 10441

Dr STONE —It is with great pleasure that I aim to put on the record some of the outstanding contributions that younger people are making in Australia today in natural resource management. We have a number of government programs, for example, Green Corps. A lot of our Work for the Dole programs are particularly aimed at younger people taking on work that is of paramount importance in terms of sustainability of our biodiversity, water and land resource management. These younger people are doing an exceptional job.

With Green Corps, for example, we have had more than 1.3 million trees planted. There is a sudden realisation in Australia that, if we do not gain control of vegetation management, we are going to see things like dry land salinity and exacerbated water quality throughout the country and other serious problems. As well as the 1.3 million trees planted by our younger people, through the program called Green Corps, they have collected over one tonne of native seed.

In previous generations, we had a view that any vegetation would do, but we now understand that our indigenous vegetation is of critical importance. A lot of us do not yet understand how to collect and germinate that native seed. These younger people are learning the basics. It is essential for us that our younger people carry on that knowledge into their adult life, perhaps in careers of natural resource management or whatever work they do—the philosophy of our indigenous vegetation being of major significance to this country. After all, it supports our flora, our fauna and our insect life.

In this country we have mega-diversity. We have lost a lot of that diversity but we are still amongst the most mega-diverse of nations on this earth. The Diamond Creek Green Corps team, for example, were in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. They have done a lot of work in the urban rural fringe. (Time expired)

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Nehl) —Order! In accordance with standing order 275A, the time for members' statements has concluded. The Main Committee will now consider government business.