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Green Corps get axe.

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John Forrest MP The Nationals Member for Mallee

Phone (03) 5021 5987 Fax (03) 5023 3274

Monday, 8 September 2008.

Green Corps Gets Axe.

Federal Member for Mallee John Forrest has expressed dismay that the popular youth development program Green Corps has been scrapped by the Rudd Government.

Parliament has been told Green Corps would not continue as a separate stand-alone program contracted out to groups like Trust for Nature and Greening Australia, but would be included under the government’s new Work Experience framework.

“Mallee has had 45 individual Green Corps projects since the program started in 1998,” Mr Forrest said.

“With between eight and 10 participants in each project, this means more than 400 young people have participated - the biggest uptake of any Federal electorate.

“It’s not just the volunteers that benefit, it’s the team leaders.

“It will be a shame to see this excellent program discontinued.”

Mr Forrest said Green Corps was established as a youth development and environmental training initiative for young people aged 17 to 20 years.

The trainees volunteered their time and effort to conserve, preserve and restore Australia’s natural environment and cultural heritage.

“Since the program began, more than 18,000 young Australians have planted more than 14 million trees, constructed 8000 kilometres of fencing and constructed or maintained more than 5000 kilometres of walking track,” Mr Forrest said.

“Most of these projects have been in rural or regional Australia.”

Mr Forrest said Green Corps had proven to be a great character builder for young people, especially those about to enter the workforce.

“It gave them a sense of ownership in the community and had positive environmental outcomes.

“We can only hope that something similar might be offered under the new work for the dole programs, but I fear it will not have the same youth development and environmental focus as Green Corps,” Mr Forrest said.

Mr Forrest can be contacted on 0428 500 186.