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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 May 1995) . . Page.. 400 ..

The growth of community landcare has been nurtured by a mix of steadily increasing political, legislative, professional and community grassroots support. As it has been evolving into a social movement, community landcare has also represented a significant cultural change for resource management agencies. It is now an inseparable part of the work of the ACT Parks and Conservation Service and the ACT Office of the Environment within the Department of the Environment, Land and Planning, as well as the City Parks section of the Department of Urban Services under my colleague Mr De Domenico.

There is a very high level of staff commitment to maintaining support to community landcare, and to continually improving performance, marked by a high degree of openness to change. A preliminary study of community participation in environmental management carried out by the ACT Parks and Conservation Service has recognised the many positive aspects of community landcare itself, and the efforts of a range of private and government agencies in providing support for community landcare. The study did, however, present opportunities for change, and a number of new initiatives are being examined to improve processes for support of community landcare in the ACT.

I am pleased, Mr Speaker, to announce today the first such initiative arising from this review. This is a program of joint skills training in which community leaders and agency support staff will train together to develop skills for participation and for planning and management of volunteer programs. The first two sessions of this training, funded by the ACT Parks and Conservation Service, will be carried out with the Volunteer Centre of the ACT in May this year - this month. A total of 40 participants will receive training in all aspects of volunteer management, with a view to ensuring that community participation continues to offer satisfying experiences and sustainable benefits for both volunteers and environmental management services alike. I hope that this and related initiatives to be announced in the future will set a trend for expanding community participation and foster a partnership between the Government and the community in environmental management.

Mr Speaker, these initiatives will make an excellent start to implementing commitments made prior to the election by this Government. These are commitments which will assist many people to make a very positive contribution to environmental sustainability while also improving their personal skills and the strength of their community. I commend this program to the house and I hope that members will, if they wish, take more interest in the matter by getting a briefing, which I am very pleased to offer them, on the outcome of that review and on the programs being considered under that review process. I table the statement and I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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