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Wednesday, 6 June 2001
Page: 27459

Mrs MOYLAN (7:35 PM) —Yesterday was World Environment Day, and I was very anxious to rise in this place during the adjournment debate last night to talk on the subject. World Environment Day presents an opportunity to highlight some of the environmental challenges of the 21st century. Contemporary lifestyles place our environment under considerable stress and strain. A tendency in modern cities for sprawling suburbs, covering the maximum amount of ground, growing agricultural pursuits and the destruction of forests all contribute to the relentless pressures on the increasingly fragmented pristine areas that are so important for the survival of flora and fauna that are struggling to live in these remnant areas. Ultimately, the world itself has a great capacity to adapt and to heal itself; but we have to ask the question: what of humankind?

I am pleased to see here tonight schoolchildren from the electorate of my colleague the member for Corangamite, because it is their future that we have the responsibility to ensure. Today in this world it is no longer possible for a country to take decisions unilaterally in terms of environmental issues because they are no longer likely to affect just a discrete area; they will affect other countries, other neighbours. At a local level, the decisions that we make in our backyard may have an impact on our neighbours. We all have to breathe the same air. It is critical to our survival that we make sure that the air, the water and the soil remain in good condition. That is a responsibility on everyone.

A healthy environment relies on every individual making a contribution and working with governments at all levels. This is the key to success in the many environmental projects in my electorate of Pearce. There are numerous community based groups working on a voluntary basis to analyse the problems, take remedial action and prevent problems from arising in the future. In journeys around my electorate, I have been very impressed to see many people not only immersing themselves in complex, technical and scientific issues but also contributing to the practical work of repairing the environment. Projects have ranged from injecting trees in remnant bushland in suburban areas against dieback right through to cleaning out brooks and rivers and nurturing and planting appropriate trees and other native species to regenerate areas of bushland.

On the long weekend—last weekend was a long weekend in WA—a small army of volunteers working with Barrie Oldfield, who is the prime mover in my electorate of Men of the Trees, embarked on a plan to plant a million trees. He was definitely a prime mover because they moved something like 104 tonnes of soil to an area outside my electorate to provide enough soil in an area that is affected by salt so that they could go ahead and plant their trees. This group does an amazing job. It collects seeds and encourages people to nurture them so that they can then plant seedlings on farming land where it has been affected by salt, which is a big problem in WA. The protection of the environment has always been an issue close to the hearts of many people who live in the electorate of Pearce and to those who take the opportunity to visit to enjoy the natural environment. The area has one of the most diverse natural environments of any in Western Australia.

The federal government has recognised the challenge facing many areas of Pearce by providing $1.5 million to fund Natural Heritage Fund projects in the Pearce electorate. These funds extend to voluntary efforts of local people and are put to the best use by local communities who identify and work to achieve local priorities. The level of funding allocated to Pearce is also an indication of the active approach taken by the community in identifying work to be done and submitting quality projects which will mean that people can continue to live in this wonderful environment in Pearce and know that their land and environment is being protected for their benefit and for the benefit of their children, grandchildren and many generations to come.