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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3436

Ms SCOTT (Lindsay) (16:26): I am extremely pleased to rise in support of the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Green Army Programme) Bill 2014. This bill will have a direct action affect on our environment and in delivering the coalition's election commitment in the deployment of a standing Green Army, 15,000 strong.

With the introduction of this amendment, the Abbott government is delivering a real, tangible solution to the maintenance, restoration and beautification of our collective natural assets. In providing such a remarkable benefit to all Australians, the Green Army will serve to provide our youth with a gateway to employment through training and skills development, an acute appreciation of our natural Australian environment and its conservation and preservation for future generations. As such, I am extremely proud to stand in support of this bill.

I would also like to congratulate the Minister for Environment and the honourable member for Flinders for his unrelenting energy, his passion, his support and his belief in this legislation. Minister Hunt has been an amazing advocate for the Cumberland Plain Woodlands lending his voice to the conservation issues and preservation of this critically endangered habitat. He has visited the electorate of Lindsay many times, meeting with local conservationists, environmental groups and local schools to ensure the Lindsay component of the Green Army has real traction and applicability on the ground. I commend him for his commitment, for his work and for his unrelenting understanding of how important the Cumberland Plain Woodland are to the people of Western Sydney.

In my opinion, the success of the Green Army will be singularly realised by the work that the minister has personally committed to, and is engaging in still, with so many local communities like mine. By creating a standing army, we will be committed to make a real contribution to the preservation and conservation of our natural assets. The minister's passion and enthusiasm in this initiative has created interest in other groups in my community, like Muru Mittigar, a local Indigenous community that also provides a commercial horticultural facility that is growing specific plants that are unique to the region. In doing so, it will be restoring our bushland to how it was originally made.

The coalition of Liberal and National parties stand proud of our strong record in delivering on-the-ground environmental projects and tackling environmental issues head-on. I, like the Prime Minister, have long been an ardent supporter of the Green Army, a signature policy of the coalition government that is designed to help the environment, to deliver on our reductions in emission targets and to provide workforce training. To this point the Prime Minister has been a passionate supporter, and has taken a lead role in the development of this legislation.

It is worth noting that the Green Army builds on the Howard government's successful Green Corps program. Like so many other successful programs, the Green Corps, too, saw the knife of the previous Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government. Like its predecessor, the Green Army will provide our youth with improved career and employment options through facilitated accreditation programs in training whilst participating in our critical environmental and heritage projects.

The hallmark of these two programs resides—

Debate interrupted.