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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 7 Hansard (1 August) . . Page.. 2574 ..

I once again congratulate them on their commitment. I congratulate them on their 30th anniversary. We hope that they will continue to be funded. Certainly, they can be assured that the Canberra Liberals value their contribution and have committed funding for them.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (10.31): I would also like to put on the record the ACT Greens' support and thanks for Landcare and congratulate Landcare on their 30th anniversary. Landcare is indeed a valuable organisation. It has made an incredible difference to our natural environment over the past 30 years. Minister Gentleman has talked about the important role that former Prime Minister Bob Hawke had in the foundation of Landcare.

It is also important to note the involvement of NGOs. Thirty years ago Rick Farley from the National Farmers Federation and Phillip Toyne, who was the head of the Australian Conservation Foundation, collaborated to form Landcare. At the time, it did seem fairly revolutionary because these groups had not really worked together before. Today, of course, Landcare is an organisation that is founded on the hard work of volunteers who, as the name suggests, care deeply about the land and the natural environment in Australia.

In the ACT, we also have the ParkCare initiative, which in some way overlaps with Landcare. The ParkCare program grew from a pilot bush regeneration program in 1989 with one group and 13 volunteers working in Canberra Nature Park to 13 groups and 400 volunteers by 1992. There are around 35 ParkCare groups working in parks and reserves across urban and rural ACT today.

Every year in the ACT, these volunteers give more than 20,000 hours of their time to managing and caring for ACT parks and reserves. They undertake activities such as planting, weed and erosion control, and research and monitoring. We have some great local groups looking after specific nature reserves, groups like Friends of Black Mountain, Friends of Aranda Bushland or Cooleman Ridge Park Care Group.

If you visit these areas and enjoy the fact that they are well cared for and not overrun with weeds, make sure you spare a thought for the hardworking volunteers. Landcare and ParkCare work can sometimes be a hard, strenuous activity. Anyone who has done weeding will know it can be tough. Apparently, weeding takes up almost half of the volunteer work hours undertaken by ParkCare groups in the ACT. On behalf of the ACT's natural environment, but also on behalf of our own knees and lower backs, we should thank these volunteers for their great efforts.

Volunteers also run many of the guided walks and activities in ACT nature reserves. In this way, they also play an important role in community education, helping people to learn about and experience the joys of nature. I also want to mention that these great volunteer groups do some fantastic work on improving and rehabilitating our woodland and grassland ecosystems, which are important ecosystems to care for and preserve.

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