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Great news for our local environment

Unless you're one of those property developers who worship at the feet of the almighty dollar, there's a fairly good chance that you are concerned about the local environment, and want to at least maintain, if not improve it for your kids.  I feel the same way, so I'm pleased to be able to start 2017 with some positive news.

Last month, the Federal Government announced plans to scrap the Green Army initiative as part of its latest cost cutting exercise.  Now, we might not all have agreed that the Green Army was the best tool for environmental change, but it did allow for a solid financial investment, which in turn meant that young people - many of them otherwise out of work - were able to learn a range of practical skills while contributing to projects of local concern.  As a result, I was very pleased to join the Environment Minister,

Chris Hunt,  in announcing two $200,000 projects, and a total of $400,000 of funding for projects in the local Rockingham area last July.  Of course, like many of you, I became concerned more recently that this money might no longer be forthcoming.

In early December I wrote to Chris Hunt's successor as Environment Minister, Josh Frydenberg, asking him to clarify the position as it now relates to the two projects earmarked for our local area, and their promised funding.  His office have replied, and the full text of that reply can be seen above.  However, the most important paragraph in their letter reads as follows:

"The Government is however, still committed to delivering almost 300 new local community projects under the Green Army program, which includes all projects committed to across Australia during the election campaign".

That's a pretty clear and unambiguous confirmation that the $400,000 worth of projects earmarked for our local area will in fact go ahead, and I welcome that as both a source of jobs and a practical commitment to environmental protection in and around Rockingham.

The letter goes on to explain that the tendering process is currently open, with service providers currently being assigned to individual projects.  Project hosts will then have until June 2017 to apply for the election commitment funding.  In other words, things are moving slowly, but they are moving nonetheless.  I have written back to Mr Frydenberg's office, asking that, as the local politician who secured the funding in the first place, they ensure that I am kept in the loop as providers and hosts are confirmed, and I look forward to sharing the information they send with local constituents in the months ahead.

For now, let's celebrate this good news, and look forward to watching at least two large projects roll out across out local area in the months ahead.  They will mean jobs for our young people, and improved environmental outcomes we can all benefit from.  I'm proud to have been involved in their delivery, and I'm happy to hear that they will go ahead as we promised.

Touring Green Army projects in 2016.

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