House debates

Monday, 17 June 2013


Boothby Electorate: Environment

9:58 pm

Photo of Andrew SouthcottAndrew Southcott (Boothby, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Healthcare) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak on some local environmental initiatives I am currently fighting for. I am lucky that the electorate of Boothby, which I represent, has both a beautiful coastline and an expansive hills area. My electorate's environment is quite diverse. The coastline along Summerton Park, Brighton and Seacliff beaches has beautiful sand dunes and clear waters, while the hills area is home to the Belair National Park, Australia's second-oldest national park, and a number of walking and riding trails. Winding through the electorate are the Sturt River, the Sturt Gorge and, later, the Sturt Drain, a 1960s drought mitigation program with a number of wetlands along the way. It is these wonderful features throughout my electorate which we need to promote, protect and ensure will be kept in good condition for future generations.

The green army, as part of the coalition government's environment policy, will help protect and enhance our local environment through direct action and engagement with our communities. At the beginning of this year, I called for submissions for assistance by the green army in Boothby for projects that the community deems important. There are a number of environmental projects in Boothby that I am fighting for to be green army priorities, from rejuvenation of sand dunes along the coast to restoring bushwalking paths in the hills. In the 2010 election, I promised $125,000 under the coalition's green army plan to rejuvenate the sand dunes from Brighton to Seacliff. Local teams of volunteers work on these sand dunes, which are in constant need of care and revegetation to ensure their survival, to help retain the sand and to make up an important stretch of coastline in my electorate. At Somerton Park there are original remnant dunes from pre-settlement days.

During that election, I also promised $250,000 under the coalition's green army plan to eradicate feral olives and woody weed undergrowth in the Mitcham foothills. These present significant bushfire risks to the area, something which the residents of Blackwood, Belair and the surrounding suburbs are particularly concerned about. In the Carrick Hill area around Springfield, grey box woodland must be preserved, with the coalition's green army able to assist with work on these original remnants of pre-settlement woodland.

The Oaklands Wetland is an important environmental project in Boothby that I have been fighting for, and I have been working with both the Marion Council and local residents for a long time. It involves treating storm water from the Sturt drain and removing contaminants which would pollute Gulf St Vincent, as well as aquifer recharge. The wetlands are due to be completed in August this year and will need further work to establish them after that.

My electorate also has a number of walking and riding trails within Belair National Park and throughout the Mitcham foothills. These trails are a popular recreational attraction and are used widely by people from both within and outside of my electorate. The friends of the Sturt Gorge Recreation Park are seeking a proposal from the green army to work on walking trails throughout the area, which are in need of upgrade and maintenance. Similarly, the walking trails in our popular Belair National Park could do with a helping hand.

On a grander scale, I have fought for the people of South Australia in adopting a national plan for the Murray-Darling Basin, and I am pleased to see a positive outcome. I was proud to support this plan in parliament and to have helped get national management of the Murray-Darling Basin and to restore the health of the Lower Lakes and the Coorong. All of these are potential projects which could be done by the coalition's green army, and these are all of my local priorities which I am fighting for.

Personally, I have organised a team for Clean Up Australia Day, every year having helped clean up local areas, including Sturt Gorge, Windy Point, Belair National Park, the sand dunes from Brighton to Seacliff, and this year I also joined Flagstaff Hill Rotary in their clean-up of Minkarra Park. As the member for Boothby, I take the environment seriously. With the help of the coalition's green army we can tackle local environmental issues in our electorate.