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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3391

Mr VARVARIS (Barton) (13:37): I rise to inform the House that I am advocating for a Green Army project to restore the long-term health of Kogarah Bay and the Cooks River within my electorate as part of ongoing project submissions to the Green Army taskforce. Prior to my election, I met with local stakeholders to ascertain concerns for Barton's waterways and found that water quality was suffering and salt marsh communities were under threat. The health of these natural habitats have been diminishing over the last decade and they require regular maintenance. As a result of these consultations, I met recently with the environment minister, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, and highlighted the community's concerns. Subsequently, I submitted a proposal for the Green Army to launch an on-the-ground project at Kogarah Bay and Cooks River.

A Green Army contingent could contribute to the maintenance and rehabilitation of estuarine habitats including salt marshes and wetlands. Furthermore, the Green Army could provide a much-needed clean-up of the rubbish-strewn water and surrounding banks of these waterways. It is important for prospective Green Army projects to provide support to pre-existing community initiatives. The Cooks River Alliance has been fantastic in advocating for improved water quality and the health of our wetlands over the past three years and I hope this potential project will work to address their ongoing concerns. I also hope that my submission for the maintenance of these waterways will be met with enthusiasm from the number of young people from the electorate who are keen to make a difference to Barton's local environment.