Topics: Cumberland Conservation Corridor
Thanks very much to Terry and to Phil. Peter, I really want to acknowledge the traditional owners here – the Deerubbin, the work of Muru Mittigar and others.
I have to say, at the Paris Climate Conference one of the most interesting things was, there was a presentation by the Kimberley Land Council on traditional mosaic burning, and they are part of about 7 million tonnes of abatement in Australia at the moment.
But the UN University did a study of the work of traditional savannah management in Australia and then looked at the opportunities around the world, and concluded that in terms of vast emissions reduction combined with biodiversity preservation there was about a billion tonne a year opportunity across the world.
And so the UN University has looked at what the traditional owners and the indigenous communities are doing in Australia, and they said we want to take this right across the world.
And so they were some of the stars of the Paris Climate Conference, not out of any sort of romanticised vision, on the basis of real work for the environment in the best sense of being custodians. So it's a real honour to be on traditional land.
I also want to acknowledge people from all the different spheres – from the New South Wales Conservation Trust, from Greening Australia, from CVA – Conservation Volunteers Australia – and Linda, to you and your Green Army team.
We're just delighted to see young people in the field doing the work.
And somebody called Fiona, and she's had a little bit to do with this project. Fiona and Lisa Harrold and Wayne Olling I think have been – if there are many people involved, they have been the three frontline members who have not stopped for years and years and years in driving this whole project forward.
And so for the three of you it's really a signature moment. I think in the case of Lisa and Fiona it goes back to their childhoods where they rode in this area – I won't say illegally – but they rode their horses.
And Wayne, you know, I've often said to Sarah in my office that perhaps my two most respected conservationists in all of Australia are Wayne and Lisa because they just want to get it done, they'll work with whomever they can, there's no ideological game, it's about the land and delivering for the land, and so that's very, very exciting.
Good to see Mike here from the Conservation Trust – you are the new owners of the land.
Let me just talk a little bit about the project and then a little bit about the way forward.
So we agreed that there'd be, as Terry said, a certain amount of funding. It's not the money that matters, yes it's a $15 million commitment, but it was the goal of protecting and preserving and rehabilitating the magnificent Cumberland Conservation Corridor area.
And so far we have secured, or we have underway, about 700 hectares of conservation protection or rehabilitation.
We have our 20 Million Trees team here. We've got Dan, where's Dan? There we are – Dan from the 20 Million Trees Team (inaudible) and they're replanting over 400 hectares – there's just about 750,000 trees.
Believe it or not their briefing note goes to the exact number of trees, not plus or minus ten, to the exact number of trees. And every tree has a name.
And it's a process where they are commissioning the work, delivering the trees, complimented by the Green Army work. We promised 15 teams (inaudible) rehabilitating, some teams are doing paths.
But the feedback from the community has been tremendous. There's an enormous amount of pride in what you're doing, and you should feel an enormous amount of pride.
You're giving yourselves an achievement that will last for twenty and thirty and fifty years.
And giving yourself skills and a pathway through to the next thing. It could be with councils, it could be with landscape gardeners – it may not be in this field, but you're opening up that opportunity, and we're really proud of you.
And we've got Matt from our Green Army team here, and he and his team have done a great job.
And then there's the land acquisition. So that's about 250 hectares through the Green Army.
And then the land acquisition, which is in a sense the most expensive part, but this is the jewel in the crown, and there've been enormous negotiations.
Rosemary Hollow has been right at the heart of it, Lisa and Wayne, Sarah Meredith from my office has lived and breathed the program, and then the New South Wales Conservation Trust. All of you together and the Land Service have done their job.
So this is the second big acquisition. I'm hopeful that there's at least one more to come, and then this part of our work will be done, but the Green Army and the 20 Million Trees will go on and on.
And so I am delighted to announce today that the Commonwealth has acquired 37.6 hectares here at Mulgoa Creek.
You see the land, I don't need to vouch for it, it vouches for itself, but it will now be in public hands forever. It will be maintained and protected forever.
And to all of you involved – you've achieved something real, and you've achieved something that children and grandchildren and descendants beyond imagination will appreciate in coming centuries.
So this Mulgoa parcel has now been officially purchased by the Commonwealth, through the New South Wales Conservation Trust for holding on behalf of the people of New South Wales in perpetuity.