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The Hon. Tony Abbott MP,
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs
Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald, Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministers for the Environment, Sport, Territories, and Local Government
Joint Media Release

Green Corps to Help Protect Koala and Cassowary Habitats

17 July 1997

Young Australians will help restore and protect the habitats of the koala and endangered cassowary in the third round of Green Corps projects announced today.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Tony Abbott, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, Senator Ian Macdonald, announced 31 new projects, to begin across Australia in September, which will provide places for 310 young people aged between 17 and 20.

Senator Macdonald said the projects complemented the Howard Government's environmental rescue plan, the $1.25 billion Natural Heritage Trust.

"The landcare, habitat protection and bush regeneration projects are compatible with the Trust programs such as Bushcare; the National Vegetation Initiative; the National Rivercare Program and the protection of endangered species.

"Green Corps is tackling major issues that will contribute significantly to the restoration and conservation of Australia's unique biodiversity," Sen. Macdonald said.

The announcement of the third round of Green Corps projects marks the continued delivery of a key election commitment by the Howard Government and the commitment of $42 million to provide opportunities for 3500 young Australians over the next two years.

When launching Green Corps earlier this year, the Prime Minister declared it was 'one of those things which mixes a bit of idealism with a practical goal and a forward-looking objective'.

Mr Abbott explained how the program will do more than assist young people to join environmental projects "Just as we are concerned to restore our land to its potential, we also want our young people to reach their potential - participants' future employment prospects will be enhanced and their educational prospects boosted through Green Corps.

"Green Corps team members will be trained in environmental skills, and some of the training will be accredited, providing nationally recognised skills transferable to other courses.

"While gaining a valuable training experience, those young people joining a Green Corps team will receive an allowance of up to $252 per week. All young people who complete a Green Corps project are also eligible to receive $500 towards the cost of their ongoing education or training," Mr Abbott said.

Green Corps teams work closely with local communities and conservation agencies and are led by experienced supervisors from the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers which is the managing agent for the Federal Government.

The Trust will advertise this weekend to recruit 310 young people to participate in round three projects. Information can be obtained from the toll free Green Corps inquiry line on 1800 633 844 or any Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) office. A list of projects is attached.

Media Contacts:
Maxine Sells, for Mr Abbott, 06 277 4337
Mark Elliot, for Senator MacDonald, 0419 238 747

Attachment 1

Green Corps (Young Australians for the Environment)

The Green Corps programme was announced in the Federal Budget on 20 August 1996. The Federal Government has provided $41.6 million over three years to establish the Green Corps (Young Australians for the Environment). The programme gives young Australians between 17-20 years the opportunity to volunteer to demonstrate their commitment to preserve and restore Australia's natural environment and cultural heritage.

The primary objective of Green Corps is to give young people with an interest in the environment the opportunity of accredited training while participating in environmental projects of significance. Through the training provided participants are also able to improve their employment prospects.

The Green Corps is a voluntary programme. Green Corps projects have been designed to give young people a full time training position for between six to twelve months. Team members receive accredited training in a range of skills such as bush regeneration techniques, habitat protection and restoration and environmental rehabilitation.

Green Corps participants are paid a training allowance based on the Federal National Training Wage (NTW) Award structure. Allowances range from $152 to $252 reflecting the number of years schooling the young person has completed and the time spent since leaving school. Young people who decide to move on to accredited education or training after completing their Green Corps placement will be eligible to receive a grant of $500 to assist with expenses.

Green Corps projects are located mainly in rural and remote areas of Australia. Projects focus on areas where environmental and heritage restoration and conservation is a high priority. Green Corps projects will also be linked to the Government's environment policy 'Saving our Natural Heritage'.

Green Corps will be built up over a three year period at the end of which it is expected 3,500 young Australians will have participated in a Green Corps project.

The Green Corps programme is not a Labour Market Programme, nor is it a replacement for NWO or LEAP. Green Corps has a much stronger focus on quality environmental outcomes and enables young people to access a higher quality of training than LEAP was able to do. At least 25 percent of all training will be accredited and has been specially selected for Green Corps members so that nationally recognised skills learnt by these young people may be transferred to other courses or environmental traineeships commenced after completing a Green Corps project.

The Government has contracted the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers (ATCV) to administer and manage the Green Corps programme nationally. Their contract is for the first eighteen months (1,800 places) and will cease in June 1998 when the Government will seek expressions of interest for the remaining period of the programme. ATCV is responsible for selecting participants, establishing and supervising projects and providing field support. For further information on projects contact the ATCV project manager, Mr Phil Harrison on 03 5333 2242.

Attachment 2

Green Corps Project - Round 3

Commonwealth of Australia