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Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Page: 2866

Mrs McNAMARA (Dobell) (09:46): On Friday 6 March, I attended Dobell's first ever Green Army graduation ceremony. Over the past 12 months, I have been fortunate to support Green Army projects at Kanwal, The Entrance North, Noraville and the Central Coast Wetlands. These projects are providing locals to aged 17 to 24 years with the opportunity to obtain training and experience in the environmental and conservational fields. I have enjoyed the opportunity to join with the participants on site and witness firsthand how this program is delivering positive environmental benefits across Dobell.

I have also been working closely with the service providers to ensure that participants are receiving the best possible training and experience. I am pleased to report that two of these projects have now concluded. The Entrance North Dunes and the Tuggerah Lakes Foreshore projects stage 1 have delivered dune rehabilitation at Karagi Reserve and weed control at the northern end of Terilbah Reserve. The West Tuggerah Lakes Landcare Support project stage 1 has rehabilitated sections of the foreshore along the western side of the Tuggerah Lakes estuary by assisting and extending work undertaken by local Landcare groups.

I congratulate each of the graduating participants from these projects: Sevie Crayn, Sean Brennan, Sally McCrohon, Pascali Loria, Nick Portelli, Joshua Mulvey, Joshua Hopkins, James Gundry, Darcy Cosgrove, Nik Aleksieski, Alexandra Broadbere, Deanna McCabe, Matthew Plummer, Lauren Hawthorn, Paul Hanning and Joel Mannix. I would also like to congratulate and thank supervisors Kat Griffin and Rohanna Teiwsen, and Leonie Winner, the Regional Manager of Conservation Volunteer Australia.

It was evident at the graduation how important the experience of the Green Army has been for the participants. James Gundry said he enjoyed how team members worked together and how the training was of a high quality that complemented the practical work. Sally McCrohon enjoyed the diversity of the work and the support from Conservation Volunteers Australia. Sally also said that she felt her contribution was greatly valued. Nick Portelli said that the training was great, the supervisor was confident and that the team enjoyed great dynamics and worked well together.

The Green Army has also led to employment opportunities for local participants. Sevie Crayn and James Gundry, participants at The Entrance North, have been offered jobs with TENT.E.C.L.E. Bush Regeneration, a local environmental organisation based at Norah Head.

Many of the participants have expressed their interest in exploring a career in conservation management now that they have completed their time with the Green Army. The Green Army in Dobell highlights the program's success in generating real environmental and conservational benefits for the community, and in helping participants gain valuable practical experience and training to assist them further with their training and to improve their career prospects. I look forward to continuing to support the local Green Army projects and to providing the opportunity for young people from the Central Coast to participate in this great program. (Time expired)