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Thursday, 19 June 2014
Page: 6715

Ms CHESTERS (Bendigo) (13:40): The Prime Minister claims to be a conservationist Yet 'Abbott the Conservationist' has ripped half a billion dollars out of Landcare programs designed for conservation. What has been the effect of these cuts? Most of the funding will be cut from future rounds of local community based Landcare projects, the same work that is now being allocated to be done by the Green Army. It is the basic bait-and-switch retail trick where you advertise a product at a good price and then dump it and switch it with a product that is inferior or more expensive. Under this budget, the bait is Landcare and the switch is the Green Army.

One of the co-founders of Landcare, the National Farmers' Federation CEO, said:

For a quarter of a century, Landcare has made Australia a better place, yet the scale of the task ahead is significant.

I agree with the CEO of the Farmers' Federation. I call on the Nationals, who are supposed to be the political wing of the Farmers' Federation and a voice for farmers in this House, to stand up for their base and be a strong voice on this issue. The government should restore the funding to Landcare so it can do its conservation work. It is time the Prime Minister actually stood by what he said and became the conservationist that this country needs.