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Media Release
Minister for the Environment
Senator Robert Hill
Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs
Dr David Kemp, MP


16 February 1998

The Howard Government's $41.6 million environment and training Green Corps programme will come under the spotlight during a national conference.

The Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Dr David Kemp, and the Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill, today announced a Green Corps Conference will be held in Canberra from 21-24 February 1998.

The conference will bring together representatives of 60 current and 60 former Green Corps teams, including many young Australians from rural and remote areas.

The conference provides the opportunity for Green Corps participants to share their experiences and discuss ways of improving the program. It will also highlight their achievements in repairing and conserving the environment.

Apart from discussion sessions, the national conference will include workshops in environmental management, a hands-on project in Canberra bushland, a luncheon with industry leaders at Parliament House and a reception at Government House.

The conference was suggested by members of a Green Corps team working at Shark Bay in Western Australia.

Their idea has been taken on board by Dr Kemp's Parliamentary Secretary, Tony Abbott, and Senator Hill's Parliamentary Secretary, Senator Ian Macdonald.

Dr Kemp said the conference will tap into the commitment and enthusiasm shown by young Australians to work for a better environment.

"The key aims of the conference are to explore ways to improve Green Corps activities and outcomes by hearing the views of the participants themselves and to further hone their environmental management skills," Dr Kemp said.

"Participants will attend workshops to exchange experiences and ideas.

"They will also meet with Members of Parliament and business representatives to learn more about the commitment of government and business to the environment and the Green Corps programme."

Senator Hill said the work of Green Corps teams is complementing on-the-ground action being funded by the Natural Heritage Trust, Australia's largest environmental rescue effort.

"The Green Corps has been an outstanding success and has gained widespread support from the public," Senator Hill said.

"In many cases, within the six months of each Green Corps project's operation, the teams are able to make a visible improvement to the areas they are working in.

"This conference will be a fine tuning process. It will help us assess what has been achieved so far and also help us set future directions for the programme.

"It will be an important platform to acknowledge the achievements and commitment of young Australians who are helping to protect and restore our environment by participating in Green Corps projects."

The conference is being sponsored by the Commonwealth Bank, BHP, Landcare Australia Ltd, North Ltd, Wesfarmers, Incitec and the Federal Department of Employment Education, Training and Youth Affairs.

The Green Corps programme was launched by the Federal Government in January 1997 and is managed by the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Environment Australia provides technical advice and assistance.

Any young Australian aged between 17 and 20 can apply to join 10-member Green Corps teams and receive a training allowance while they gain practical experience in protecting and restoring Australia's natural resources.

Matt Brown (Senator Hill's office) 02 6277 7640 or 0419 693 515
Michael Smith (Dr Kemp's office) 02 6277 7460 or 016 287 494
Phil Harrison (ATCV) 0353 331 483

Commonwealth of Australia