Page 728 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 28 March 2023

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Services) (11.59): I want to thank the Minister for the Environment for bringing attention to the works undertaken by the ACT’s Natural Resource Management program, in partnership with the Australian government and the ACT community over the past five years under the National Landcare Program, and I would like to add to her remarks by highlighting the efforts of ParkCare volunteers that work in the ACT parks and reserves.

Landcare is, of course, a critical part of the ACT’s environmental land management. The national Landcare program has had significant success in the past five years, with the current round of the program due to close in June 2023. Landcare provides an opportunity for us to work together to care for land, protect our natural resources and improve biodiversity for generations to come.

The ParkCare volunteers program is a critical element of Landcare volunteering in the ACT. The ParkCare initiative has been a flagship community volunteer program hosted by the ACT Parks and Conservation Service for over 30 years. The program works in partnership with the community to provide volunteer opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. ParkCare has over 1,880 registered volunteers who contribute their time, passion and knowledge to protect and preserve our natural resources in the ACT.

In the 2021-22 financial year, the ParkCare volunteers contributed over 21,000 hours of their time to improving conservation outcomes across the ACT. I do want to recognise the significant achievements that ParkCare volunteers have helped deliver in over 25 years of the ACT’s parks and reserves program. These works are vital to the continued conservation of the ACT’s flora and fauna and improvement of biodiversity outcomes. ParkCare volunteers play a critical role in invasive species management and weed control activities. In this financial year alone, they have recorded over 380 hectares of invasive plant control across Canberra Nature Park. In addition to invasive species management, ParkCare volunteers deliver erosion control, native regeneration and wildlife corridor restoration projects. This work underpins the broader works of the ACT Parks and Conservation Service and is managed in partnership with ACT Parks and Conservation staff.

I also recognise the citizen science projects that ParkCare volunteers have been involved in. ParkCare engage in various wildlife surveying, including platypus, kangaroo and fish surveys. More recently volunteers have begun to support the key project involving the endangered grassland earless dragon at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. I acknowledge the broader-reaching areas of ParkCare, including the visitor interpretation and guided walk activities that support members of the public to engage with their local history and the environment and help educate people on conservation objectives and outcomes. For example, the nature play activities delivered by our ParkCare volunteers to children during school holidays help engage our younger audience to value our parks and reserves and introduce the importance of conservation.

The ACT government continues to provide ongoing support and work in partnership with ParkCare volunteers, to work towards positive environmental outcomes and engage members of the community in local conservation projects. I would like to thank everyone involved in these programs for the love and care they show towards our bush capital.


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