House debates

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Constituency Statements

Parkes Electorate: Green Army

9:33 am

Photo of Mark CoultonMark Coulton (Parkes, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I would like to address the House today about the Green Army program, in particular the RiverSmart nature links, which is improving river health from Narromine to Warren. This project aims to control weeds and feral animals on adjoining public lands. It also means habitat continuity, overall river health is improved, the area is available for feral animals to seek refuge are reduced, wild fire risks are reduced and areas set aside for public amenity are made more welcoming. Activities include weed control, plant identification and biodiversity surveys.

This project is being overseen by RiverSmart under the direction of Dr Bill Phillips. RiverSmart has done a wonderful job over the last few years in the Macquarie Valley. They have lifted the profile of the river, they have instigated programs to improve the health of the river and they have had some activities that have engaged the local community into what is one of the great natural assets of the Macquarie Valley—that is, the river.

The Green Army will also do a project at Tiger Bay Wetlands in Warren, which is a very innovative wetland on the edge of the town of Warren. They will extend the paths there and improved the signage. Warren really is the gateway to the Macquarie Marshes. This is another project that will give the general public, locals and tourists alike access to the river at various public reserves between Narromine and Warren; and, with that extra scrutiny from the public access, the ongoing health of the river is assured.

Another Green Army project that is in the pipeline in the Parkes electorate is at Boggabilla and Toomelah. Work is being done now in conjunction with the Moree Council and the communities of Boggabilla and Toomelah. That project will include some vegetation control and management issues around the Boobera Lagoon—where our two electorates meet, Mr Deputy Speaker. For those of you that do not know, the Boobera Lagoon is the resting place of the Rainbow Serpent and is one of the most sacred and well regarded places for the Gamilaraay people who live in that area. A Green Army project where some of the younger members of the Gamilaraay community can be involved in vegetation control and other work in that area will be very worthwhile.