Gemma Jones Political Reporter
July 05, 2013 12:32AM
Tony Abbott to launch revamped green Army policy
AN Abbott “Green Army” of 15,000 young Australians recruited to rejuvenate bushland and waterways would be deployed around the country under a Coalition government.
Young people aged 17 -24 would be paid up to $16.03 an hour for six months’ work and could use the experience towards certificate qualifications in land management and horticulture.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said his policy revamped from the 2010 election campaign would encourage thousands of young Australians to work outdoors.
In his first visit to the region since Kevin Rudd put Labor back in contention in key western Sydney seats, Mr Abbott will today announce his army would start on five projects along the banks of the Georges River in southwestern Sydney.
“The Green Army is good for the local environment and good for young Australians,” Mr Abbott said yesterday.
“It will see thousands of young people getting the opportunity to work outdoors and have real, hands-on experience in making their local community a better place.
“I want young Australians to gain a meaningful understanding of what it is like to be part of something bigger than themselves.”
Mr Abbott said his army would be “the largest standing environmental workforce in Australia’s history”.
Local community groups and councils already engaged in bushcare and remediation work would be able to use green army workers on local projects.
Nine workers and a supervisor would make up each team, which could be deployed to local remediation projects across the country.
In addition to wages, a Coalition government would pay for equipment and materials required for remediation work.
The Coalition hopes the policy would also provide a pathway to work for young people.
Training provided could lead recruits into roles with councils, national parks and horticulture, according to policy documents.
“There are hundreds of organisations and local environmental groups across Australia that are already doing some of this work, mostly on a volunteer basis,
and they deserve our recognition for making this country a better, cleaner and safer place,” the policy states.
“These groups, plus local councils, could submit conservation projects that require a significant labour force.”
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