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Thursday, 25 July 2019
Page: 1049


Mrs WICKS (Robertson) (14:44): My question is to the Minister for the Environment. Will the minister update the House on how the Morrison government is empowering communities to protect and preserve their own local environments?

Ms LEY (FarrerMinister for the Environment) (14:44): I thank the member for Robertson for her outstanding representation when it comes to local conservation volunteers. She is a fabulous advocate for the Central Coast. You only have to visit to see her, sleeves rolled up, not sitting behind a computer making lofty statements but out there with her people and working hard. She has already secured $600,000 of funding through the Environment Restoration Fund. That fund is for cleaning up waterways and coastlines, removing litter and protecting threatened species.

Opposition members interjecting

Ms LEY: I'd like to talk today, if members opposite would allow me, about a new fund: the Communities Environment Program. It is open to all members of the House, with up to $150,000 per electorate. I'm not sure whether members opposite would like to participate, but they're invited. They can apply for grants of up to $20,000 for projects just like this to repair riparian areas, working hard with their local volunteer groups and Landcare groups.

Caring for the environment is a shared responsibility. Our community groups are the ones we rely on. We can't do without them. They deliver excellent projects across the vast and amazing landscape of rural and urban Australia. The program guidelines will be out soon. There will be information sessions next week. Again, this is for members opposite, as well as members on this side of the House. We look forward to you promoting this program amongst your constituents, stepping up and understanding that the government is on the side of conservation volunteers and on the side of Australians who want to take practical action to protect our environment and to preserve its precious features.