Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Launch of Ballarat Biodiversity Enhancement Green Corps Project

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today officially launched the Green Corps Biodiversity Enhancement Project in Ballarat.

Senator Patterson said the project aimed to protect land where valuable plant and animal species live in the Ballarat Environment Network Reserves through weed control and extra planting.

“The project will provide support to landholders, landcare groups, local conservation and community groups to complete a variety of conservation projects including on-the-ground work such as revegetation, seed collection and pest management.

“The Ballarat Environment Group and Green Corps will work with other environmental groups and the community on this project. The Green Corps team of 10 young people will gain important skills and knowledge, which will help them when they look for a job.

“Green Corps is a voluntary youth development and environmental training program which gives young people, aged between 17-20 years, the opportunity to conserve, preserve and restore Australia’s natural environment and cultural heritage.”

This is achieved by:

  • giving young people work experience in projects which focus on areas where environmental conservation and heritage restoration is required;
  • promoting environmental, conservation and natural heritage outcomes and benefits to the community;
  • offering participants personal development training including team work and leaderships skills;
  • training participants in accredited structured Green Corps activities
  • building relationships within the community; and
  • improving participants’ career prospects.

Senator Patterson said the Australian Government had supported Green Corps with funding of $69 million over three years from July 2002 to June 2005. Since 1996, over 11,700 young people have participated in over 1,100 Green Corps projects.

“To date, Green Corps projects have included planting more than 11 million trees, building more than 4,700 kilometres of fencing, removal of over 36,000 hectares of weeds, collection of more than 7,700 kilograms of seeds and construction or maintenance of more than 4,000 kilometres of walking tracks,” Senator Patterson said.