JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH JASON WOOD MP, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR LA TROBE
One of the first Green Army projects in Victoria is underway with young people working on a range of environmental activities at the iconic Dandenong Ranges.
Young locals have taken up the opportunity to be a part of one of the Australian Government’s major environmental initiatives and helping to deliver important conservation outcomes.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt visited the project site at Belgrave today, to launch the local Green Army project with Federal Member for La Trobe, Jason Wood MP.
“Over the next six months we will see first-hand the benefits and improvements made to this region through activities undertaken by the Green Army,” Minister Hunt said.
“These young Australians will generate real environment and conservation benefits for this community, and gain valuable training and experience in the process. This will to help them prepare for the workforce or further training and improve their career opportunities.”
The Green Army team will focus on land works in the southern and eastern areas surrounding the Puffing Billy Corridor to improve the conservation values of the Dandenong Ranges.
“The team will undertake revegetation activities and weed management including control of the invasive Wandering Trad. The project also will also improve trail connectivity in the parks, bushland reserve and trackside properties of the historic Puffing Billy Railway,” Mr Wood said.
“The Green Army will provide valuable on ground support to the existing environmental volunteer groups who work tirelessly to protect the environment in this area.”
The Community Weeds Alliance of the Dandenongs and other community groups in the region have spent countless hours removing weeds in this area – particularly tackling Wandering Trad – a serious environmental weed of this area and other parts of Melbourne.
“Wandering Trad is a major invader of riparian creeks and rivers. It dominates the understory vegetation preventing indigenous species from thriving,” Mr Wood said.
The Australian Government is investing $3 million over three years to improve the environmental health of the Dandenong Ranges. And today the Government is announcing $450,000 for weed management in the area to help control Wandering Trad.
The Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority will work with the Community Weed Alliance to undertake a range of weed management activities. This funding will help improve the biodiversity values and resilience of the Dandenong Ranges by enhancing wildlife habitat, managing weeds and reducing the threat of bushfires.
“I look forward to seeing the results that both the Green Army and the Community Weeds Alliance produce for this beautiful environment,” Mr Wood said.
“The Green Army is a key Government commitment with $525 million budgeted over four years. The Programme encourages practical, grassroots action to support local environment and heritage conservation projects across Australia, providing training to 15,000 young Australians by 2018.”
This investment in the Green Army is part of the Government’s total investment in natural resource management which totals more than $2 billion over four years.
Further details on the programme are available at the Green Army website www.environment.gov.au/green-army.