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Speech for World Environment Day, Canberra.

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Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens

Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector Parliamentary Secretary Assisting the Prime Minister for Social Inclusion 27 May, 2008


World Environment Day

World Environment Day Media Briefing, Parliament House - Room 1s5, Canberra

Good morning and thank you for being here today.

I’d like to start by welcoming Clean Up the World founder Ian Kiernan AO; Clean Up the World CEO Terri-Ann Johnson; and Scouts Australia Chief Commissioner John Ravenhall AM.

It gives me great pleasure to officially announce that a new relationship between the World Organisation of

the Scout Movement and Clean Up the World is being launched in the lead-up to World Environment Day on

5 June.

This is a profoundly exciting initiative.

Up to 28 million Scouts in 156 countries - including 60,000 here in Australia - will be involved in a range of

environmental projects. It’s just incredible, and on behalf of the Government I’d like to congratulate you and

thank you for this commitment.

The Government is pleased to be supporting fantastic initiatives such as this, which inspire and celebrate

volunteering. We want to make sure we continue to find new ways of volunteering so that people keep getting

involved into the future.

It’s important to remember volunteers are the lifeblood of this important work - without them it just wouldn’t

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be possible.

We saw that during this year’s Clean Up Australia Day, when 800,000 volunteers - including 205 scout

groups - rolled up their sleeves and cleaned-up 7,200 tonnes of garbage.

The campaign went global in 1993, with Sydney becoming Clean Up the World’s headquarters.

Now in its 15th year, Clean Up the World works in conjunction with the United Nations Environment

Program and mobilises more than 35 million volunteers from more than 120 countries annually.

This makes it the largest community-based environmental campaign in the world.

Australians should be proud of the leading role we have in volunteering - we keenly embrace it, and it’s our

volunteers who really keep our communities going.

From battling summer bushfires to delivering Meals on Wheels, organising local sports, coordinating cultural

and community groups and protecting our local wildlife and our heritage.

Officially, 5.4 million Australians over the age of 18 volunteer, or around 34 % of the adult population.

They give a total of 713 million volunteer hours.

An important part of the Government’s Social Inclusion Agenda is a commitment to recognising, supporting

and sponsoring the contribution of volunteers in our communities.

Volunteering provides those involved with pathways to inclusion in our society - to make connections, social

relationships and shared experiences.

The theme of the recent National Volunteer Week was "Volunteers Change Our World" - and through

initiatives like Clean Up the World, they are certainly doing just that each and every day.

I invite Ian Kiernan to tell you more about this great new partnership.

Thank you.

Media Contact:

Simon Robson 0434 736 519

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