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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 3914..

MR PRATT (continuing):

this government as a gaggle. If you gag twice in the same day on the same subject, I reckon you get the gaggle award. So I congratulate the government on having picked up the gaggle award for being too frightened to face the truth in the various debates that were running today. Well done! I do not quite know what the gaggle award will look like but I shall think of something clever.

Environment—landkeepers program

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (6.15): Last Saturday afternoon I joined well over 100 Canberrans in participating in the annual superseeder propagation exercise held at this time of the year at the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Many of the volunteers were family groups, with children joining their parents in propagating 26,000 tube stock to be used in the revegetation of key areas of the lower Cotter catchment during the 2007 planting season as part of the ACT landkeepers program.

The ACT landkeepers program is about a partnership between Greening Australia and Environment ACT and is jointly funded by the ACT and Australian governments. The program seeks to work with landholders in a strategic way on all ACT non-urban land to address remnant native vegetation conservation to enhance, protect and restore stream banks. Greening Australia plays a significant role in the program and is responsible for a number of specific components. One of those is the ACT river rescue program for implementing riparian habitat recovery along priority streams in the ACT to address biodiversity and water quality. Work includes fencing, erosion control, provision of alternative stock water, weed control, willow control and revegetation. Another is about biodiversity incentives and on-ground conservation work on rural land and non-urban land.

VegLink funded Saturday's propagation and engages ACT volunteers, businesses, scientific agencies and schools in a wide range of on-ground activities, such as seed collection, propagation, vegetation works, monitoring and weed control. Also, there is the greening industry component, which is about engaging in on-ground conservation work and encouraging awareness of environmental pressures of agricultural and horticultural enterprises such as grapes, olives and lavender.

Mr Speaker, we often stand in this place and talk about what should be done in respect of conserving, preserving and regenerating our natural environment, but the work undertaken by Greening Australia gives each of us an opportunity to make a very real and practical contribution. Participating in such activity is not only good for our environment but also good for community spirit. Among the people I spoke to last Saturday were a young couple who had recently moved to Canberra and were using the afternoon as a way of meeting people who may have similar interests to their own. Volunteering does not have to be all about altruism. Indeed, if we are not getting personal benefit from volunteering, it is unlikely we will continue to do it long term.

Speaking at a function after the propagation, Greening Australia's capital region chief executive, Toby Jones, said that the volunteers' energetic efforts on the weekend were a vital part of the overall community effort to regreen the ACT. Toby said that over the last two years Greening Australia had witnessed a growing tide of episodic environmental volunteering in the ACT. There are now over 2,000 active volunteers on the local Greening Australia database and these people have planted 60,000 native

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