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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 10306


Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 16/04/1997

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 10306

Thank you very much Elizabeth. To Senator Ian Macdonald, to Mr Tony Abbott, Teresa
Gambaro, the member for Petrie; Gary Hardgrave the member for Moreton; the Mayor of
the Shire of Radcliffe, representatives of the Brisbane City Council, other guests, ladies
and gentlemcn. I'm really very pleased indeed to be associated with the formal launch of
the Oreen Corps.
It is appropriate that Tony Abbott is with us this morning because I have to give Tony
some of the credit a couple of years ago way back when we were still in Opposition when
we were talking about ideas and concepts that might fire the enthusiasm of people,
particularly young people about Australia's environmental future. Tony Abbott spent
some time putting ideas to me about the validity of having a Green Corps and I was very
heavily influaenced by those views and it is appropriate is with us and is associated with
the launch. This is yet another element of the Coalition's very strong commitment to
caring for and being concerned about Australia's environment. There used to be a time in
Austlia public life when the environment was regarded as an issue over on the side
when it was only something that a small seemingly preoccupied group of people were
interested in and it wasn't something that touched the everyday lives of people and that is
why so many parts of our heritage fell into disrcpair and into disuse and why we now
look back with some horror at the way in which we allowed environmental arocities to
take place and how we allowed the envionment to be spoilt 16/ 04/ 97 13: 25 Pg:

Fax from But in the last ten years all of that has changed. The environment is properly a
mainstream political issue. All generations of Australians are concerned about restoring
our physical environment, refurbishing our built environment and seeing what we can do
to reverse over a longer period of time some the very negative and deleterious trends
which have developed over many many years and are effecting our environment.
And one of the policies of which I am particularly proud within the environmental area of
course is our commitment through the Natural Heritage Trust of Australia to invest
almost $ 1.2 billion into capital projects to restore the environment of Australia-A few
weeks ago I had the opportunity of going to Mildura and of touching the Murray-Darling
basin and cleaning up the Murray Darling basin will be of absolutely inestimable value to
Australia's environment. It is the cradle of about one quarter of the food production of
Australia and the contribution cleaning up the Murray Darling will make to the
environmental future of Australia is immense and the sort of things that we are interested
in in the environment are those practical things and what we have sought to do in relation
to the Green Corps which is currently attracting an investment of $ 42 million from the
Government. What we hope to do in the Green Corps is to many together the idealism in the interests
of young Australians in caring for Australia's environment, provide to them an
opportunity to learn skills about environmental care, provide to them the opportunity of
friendship and association in caring for the environment in a very very healthy
atmosphere, and what the Green Corps does is to marry those enthusiasms with our
concern for the environment And it will provide people with good training, it will
provide them with a useful subsidy at the end of the period of training, a useful subsidy
towards further educational pursuits and it brings together what I might call the volunteer
sector and also the government sector and I am very pleased that one of the features of
this is that when we decided to go down the path of the Green Corps we called for tenders
from the private sector from volunteer organisations. And if my understanding is correct
the headquarters of the organisation which is managing the Green Corps is in fact in
Ballarat in Victoria and I think I visited the headquarters when I was in Ballarat a few
months ago and it won the tender from competition all around Australia. And what is also
very good is that there's a local partnership and I want to thank the Brisbane City Council
for its contribution. What it has done to restore, what it has already done to restore the
Tinchi Tomba wetlands deserves very high praise and I particularly acknowledge in the
presence of representatives of the Brisbane City Council the contribution that the Council
has made to the restoration of the wetlands and also the willingness and the very
enthusiastic way in which the council has gone into partnership with the volunteers for
the environment to run this particular project and as lan Macdonald said, we are
embarked upon a series of projects all around Australia and naturally and quite properly
and there would be plenty of people in the audience who have seen to it that it has
occurred Queensland is getting its fair share of all of those projects. I've never known it
to be otherwise and I always acknowledge the enthusiastic pursuit of Queensland interests
by my Senatorial and House of Representatives colleagues. 16/ 84/ 97 13: 25 Pg: 2

I Fax from So I do want to say to all of you particularly ithose who are involved in the Green Corps
tha it is one of those things that mixes a bit of idealism with a Practical goal atud a
forward looking~ objective. And that is in a sense the stuff of good government decision
making. You need a bit of idealism. You can't livc by bottom lines an~ d numbers and
statistics alone, you do need sorne idealism and I think manryinig a concern for the
environment with practical training in the outdoors and actually restoring something and
making something look more attractive, more beautiful, it really is marrying together a
number of objectives and I think the Green Corps will attract great interest. Certainly the
early experience is that there are more people at present who want to be in the Green
Corps who can at presenit be accommodated and that is something that will be born in
mind by the government as the weeks and months go by and decisions in the fu. ture have
to be made about the allocation of' resources because this is obviously going to be a very
attractive programme.
And I want to thank the young Australirans who have displayed an interes in it. The
programme as you know is not just available to people who are out of work although it is
obviously somnething of great interest and appeal to people who may be temporarily or
perhaps for a longer period of time have been unemployed. It is open to all young
Australians and both people who've been in the workforce and those who haven't have
flocked to it. And I thank them and I have already met some of them and I hope to have
the opportuity of meeting few more of them. But it is a very strong commitment by the
Coalition Government, a very strong commitment by the Liberal and National parties for
practical solutions to improving Australia's environment, marshalling enthusiam and
idealisra of young Australians, providing them with incentives, practical goals, practical
opportunities to learn AkiCl and the assurance at the cad of the training course of some
assistance. So I want to thank you Ian in particular for the work that you have put into organising
today-I want to thank you for the work that you in conjunctioni with Tony have done in
overseeing and supervising at an administrative and political level the operation of the
Green Corps. I thank all of those who have supported, I thank the department of
Employment and Youth Affains, I also tharA the volunteer organisation whose
representative will speak in a moment and most particularly I thank the participants and I
have very great pleasure in formally declaring launched the Green Corps young
Australians for the environment.
Thank you. Fa rom16/ 04/ 97 13: 25 Pg: 3

Transcript 10306