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National Media Release
Ms Trish Worth, MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for
Education, Training and Youth Affairs
Mrs Sharman Stone, MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the
Environment and Heritage

10 May 1999


"A life changing experience" is the description of the Green Corps youth environment initiative in the first independent evaluation of the program released today by Sharman Stone MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage and Trish Worth MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs.

Green Corps teams around Australia have so far planted 1,385,178 trees, constructed 158 kms of walking tracks and collected over 1 ton of native seed as part of their efforts to revive, restore and improve our fragile natural resources.

Mrs Stone and Ms Worth said the results were a legacy of the hard work and commitment of 1,950 young people who had voluntarily taken part in Green Corps projects during its first two years.

The training outcomes of Green Corps are equally as impressive. At the end of Round Four 42% of all participants who completed their placement were in unsubsidised employment three months later and another 18% were studying. Both figures represent a significant increase in the levels observed prior to program participation.

"Green Corps has delivered some spectacular results for the environment, with projects helping to protect endangered species, restore native habitats and eco-systems, revive bushland, wetlands and coastal areas, improve land and water quality, restore heritage sites, raise public awareness and increase public access to recreational areas," Mrs Stone and Ms Worth said.

"Green Corps participants should be really proud of their conservation efforts, as we are. They have made a real difference to our fragile natural environment and cultural heritage."

Green Corps is the Howard Government's $41.6 million program giving 3,500 young Australians, aged between 17 and 20 years, the opportunity to combine their passion for the environment with practical work experience and on-the-job training.

"More than 90% of former Green Corps participants surveyed stated that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with the levels of skills obtained from their training. Improvements in employment prospects and self esteem and the acquisition of vocational and life skills were also valued by the participants."

"Most stakeholders regard highly the training component of Green Corps projects and see it as an important factor in the success of the program."

Of the 195 projects that have been completed to date there are many stand-outs, including the Big Scrub Project, Lismore NSW, which undertook urgent repairs to one of Australia's largest areas of sub-tropical rainforest and, the Regent Honeyeater Habitat Project Wangaratta VIC, which restored vital habitat and food supplies of 1000 endangered birds remaining in the wild.

The environmental stocktake also revealed Green Corps teams have:

"This is a great result for the young people involved, the people in the community who use the area and the long-term health and sustainability of the environment," Mrs Stone and Ms Worth said.

Green Corps projects commenced in 1997, with the current round of projects due to wind up at the end of 1999. A new round of Green Corps projects is currently being considered as part of the 1999-2000 Federal Budget.

For further information please contact:
Nicole Johnston, Sharman Stone's Office, 0419 219 415 (media inquires for VIC, QLD,TAS, ACT)
Sasha Pendal, Trish Worth's Office, 0412 544 203 (media inquires for SA, NSW, WA, NT)

Commonwealth of Australia