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Thursday, 22 March 2012
Page: 4117

WYATT ROY (Longman) (12:31): During my time in this place, I have made no secret of the fact that Longman is home to some breathtaking environmental scenery. From the Pumicestone Passage to our very own sand island, Bribie Island, from the Caboolture River estuaries to the spectacular gum tree corridor in Burpengary and Narangba, our region boasts some of the very special treasures of this nation. They are treasures which deserve to be treated with respect so that future generations will also be able to get as much enjoyment from them as we do now. It is for this reason that last year I established the Longman Environmental Reference Group, with the intention of bringing together the many community groups in my electorate who have some fantastic initiatives to protect, maintain and promote our local environment.

The environmental groups in my local community are made up of passionate and dedicated people who work extremely hard doing everything in their capacity to protect and promote our local environmental assets. Whether their passion is wildlife rescue, regeneration of native vegetation or improving the health of our local waterways, these individuals toil for many hours each week, making significant contributions locally. Without their efforts, many of the environmental achievements in our community would simply not come to fruition. However, despite the previous hard work of these groups, I had observed that many of their projects could be enhanced and their efficiency improved by combining the efforts and resources of all the environmental groups in the region. Rather than two groups working on similar projects using limited resources to chip away at a problem, these same groups could work together and achieve an exponential impact with the same resources.

I believe the strength of the Longman Environmental Reference Group will be in the way we can develop and support a cohesive vision for environmental conservation in the Moreton Bay region, promoting environmental opportunities and initiatives. Collectively, the group will also be able to work with local and state government representatives, as well as federal colleagues, to pursue our local environmental concerns. These concerns will receive the weight of attention they deserve, due to the prominence they hold simply through the united front of the Longman Environmental Reference Group.

Already the Longman Environmental Reference Group has been consulting with industry, individuals and key stakeholders to promote projects and activities in the community, and we have seen some significant steps forward in new and existing projects. For the first time, people from all of our environmental groups are sharing ideas and information and working together to find a better solution to the challenges we face in our region. This is what it is all about: empowering locals to make real achievements on the issues that they are passionate about. Let me share one of the many local examples that we have. Last year, the Longman Environmental Reference Group was pleased to host the shadow minister for climate action, environment and heritage as a guest speaker. Not only was this an example of my efforts to bring key decision makers into the community to hear firsthand about local challenges and opportunities; this was a chance for members of the group to ask questions and have real discussions about how we ensure that development is sustainable and protects our local environmental assets. Essentially, what should our strategic environmental vision be for the future of our region? The discussion that we had was about how, as one of the fastest growing areas in the nation, with the need for essential infrastructure development, we need to consider environmental impact and sustainability so that we maintain our irreplaceable environmental assets and our unique lifestyle.

Since this meeting, every member of the Longman Environmental Reference Group has been empowered to make changes in their approach to their environmental work. Instead of working introspectively on a small area of focus, I have observed a broader focus and a more inclusive outlook with thought given to long-term outcomes. These views are exactly what we need in our community to make real, tangible differences.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the Longman Environmental Reference Group for taking the time out of their duties and making time to come together for quarterly meetings. I commend them for willingly sharing their vast experience and knowledge in these areas. I believe that, working together, we are going to see some great things achieved locally. Together, we can ensure that future generations enjoy our beautiful natural landscape and our local environment.