Topics: $300,000 commitment to One Tree Per Child programme
It now gives me great pleasure to introduce the local member, the Minister for Communications, Malcolm Turnbull. Thank you for coming today Malcolm.
Well thanks very much Jon and mayors. Kids, from Bondi to Bourke, what a great thing to be planting trees. You know, the trees of the world are the lungs of the earth. The trees take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, turn it into timber and then of course that can be used for useful things if the tree is cut down, or it can be used to generate energy in a sustainable way. Or as these trees will do, to provide shade and amenity for people in this community in Bondi.
There is nothing more practical to do to support the environment – there is no more practical thing that you can do to support the environment than planting trees and this is a fantastic initiative. And kids, this is all about you. This is all about you. The security, the amenity, the environmental health of our country and indeed of our world, depends in large part on planting trees, restoring the forests of the world, restoring the trees of the world and of course, protecting the forests that we have.
So this is a vital part of environmental action and it’s so inspiring to be here at Bondi and see this development and I’m delighted to introduce my very good friend, Greg Hunt, the Minister for the Environment and can I just say as I stand here, shivering in my icebergs fleecy, Greg Hunt, tough as teeth, Greg Hunt from the frozen south land of Victoria is here clad only in a thin jacket and a shirt. He’s tougher than any of the Bondi boys you know. This is a man from the Southern Ocean. Let’s hear it for Greg Hunt.
Well thanks very much to Malcolm. I have to say a couple of years ago I do remember doing a launch with the PM down at Mt Martha at the beach, a little chillier than here, and we went swimming at nine degrees. So we took the hardy Sydneysider down to Mt Martha and it was chilly, so I’m pleased to be in a relatively temperate climate. Especially I want to acknowledge Jon Dee and the patron of DoSomething, Olivia Newton-John, for their incredible work and vision.
To our two mayors, to Sally from Waverley and Andrew from Bourke, you are real national pioneers in what you and your staff are doing. But above all else, to the children, to the students from Bourke and Bondi public schools. It’s a pleasure to have you here. You are ambassadors for the environment on World Environment Day and so we’re really thrilled to have you. And today of course is World Environment Day and for us, the significant thing that we’re doing is working towards – and I’m confirming today – that we will push for an Asia Pacific Rainforest Recovery Agreement.
We are working with other countries and as Malcolm says, the trees, the forests are fundamental to biodiversity, to the health of the great iconic species and especially to reducing emissions for the planet. And so that’s a fundamental thing that we are doing and we’ll be taking that to Paris, the Asia Pacific Rainforest Recovery Plan and Agreement and this will help, we hope to protect the forests, to protect the trees, to protect the species and to reduce emissions in our own region. Across Australia, this programme today is part of what we’re doing to help plant out more trees.
Through the Green Army, young people involved, through the 20 Million Trees programme, young people and seniors involved, through the National Landcare Programme, with communities involved. And Malcolm, today it does go from Bourke to Bondi, but we want it to go even further, from Coogee to Cottesloe, right across the country, to have all communities engaged and involved and on that front, I do have to give a shout out. On my way here, my wife asked whether the Bondi vet – she’s a bit of a fan – might be here and I had to say I didn’t think he would be, but now that I’ve seen Costa here, I’ll pass back and she’s an even bigger fan of yours mate. So it’s tremendous to have you here.
The One Tree Per Child programme is however the pinnacle of what we want to do because it’s about engaging every child in Australia in planting a tree in their community in their time at school. And if each child can do that, that will make a difference, but more importantly, it makes a difference to the way they think. So I am delighted to announce that on World Environment Day, we will be contributing $300,000 for an initial 100,000 trees for the One Tree Per Child programme. We encourage councils from around Australia to participate and I am delighted to officially launch the One Tree Per Child programme for Australia.
Thank you Minister. Olivia Newton-John and I and my daughter Estelle and everyone involved in the project, we’re very, very grateful for that initial funding. Thank you very much.