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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage
30 August 1999
120 young Australians from around the country have gathered in Canberra today to make their 'Pledge to the Planet' as part of the 1999 Australian Youth Parliament for the Environment (AYPE), Dr Sharman Stone MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage, said today.
In officially opening the APYE convention at Old Parliament House, Dr Stone encouraged the young environmental enthusiasts to consider how they could contribute to the sustainable management of Australia's fragile water and land resources and unique native wildlife into the next millennium.
"Young people are already making an important hands-on contribution to the environment through the Natural Heritage Trust and Green Corps. This year's AYPE convention will give young people the chance to advise the Government about environmental priorities from a youth perspective," Dr Stone said.
"The Federal Government welcomes their advice and ideas, and looks forward to studying the resolutions developed by the AYPE this week."
At the official AYPE opening Dr Stone announced a $20,000 Government sponsorship deal which will see two youth delegates, one from the AYPE and one from the National Youth Roundtable, travel to New York next year as part of the Australian delegation to the United Nation Commission on Sustainable Development.
"The Federal Government is keen to involve young Australians in all facets of debate about the future of Australia's environmental policy on a local and international level."
"This sponsorship package will give two youth representatives the chance to be actively involved in the Australian delegation's activities, giving them a unique insight into our national and international commitment to sustainable development," Dr Stone said.
Over the next week AYPE delegates, aged between 14 and 18 years, will develop an environmental action plan for the next 12 months, which will be presented to the Federal Government and key conservation groups as their 'Pledge to the Planet'.
Major topics up for discussion in greenhouse issues and genetically modified foods. Other activities include Carbon Awareness Day, tree planting sessions and the launch of the 'Endangered Sky' awareness campaign.
"It is fantastic to see so many young Australians representing their communities here in Canberra. Their pledge, to protect the future of the planet, and to develop practical strategies for the sustainable development of our natural resources is really commendable," Dr Stone said.
The AYPE runs from Monday 30 August through to Thursday 2 September at Old Parliament House.
For further information please contact:
Nicole Johnston, Assistant Adviser, 02 6277 2016 or 0419 219 415