The Green Army Program not only benefits the environment through the provision of funding for hands on practical projects it also provides training and experience for local youth aged between 17 and 24 years of age. The training is provided in environmental practice, horticulture and construction. The Hays Inlet Green Army projects form part of a series of surveys and activities including monitoring, propagation of native species and REF Inc will supplement their experience via community science opportunities.
The application process for the projects was complex and detailed and through the efforts of the REF Committee and with excellent support from the Moreton Bay Regional Council environmental team a strong case was put forward to the Federal Government. Apart from ensuring our remaining buffer and wetland habitat around Hays Inlet is conserved there were three other key outcomes related to the Koala and the Eastern Curlew and saltmarsh habitat which has been listed as of concern by the Federal Government.
This project process would not be possible without the assistance of our local Federal member, Luke Howarth who has always found time to actively support REF Inc and its members. Just before Christmas he arranged a meeting between REF Inc, other community groups and the Federal Minister for the environment, Greg Hunt. We discussed the issues and potential solutions around conserving our wetlands and improving water quality. Our committee members were impressed by the minister’s knowledge including the local issues associated with Hays Inlet and Moreton Bay. He provided the groups with a comprehensive overview of the environmental programs proposed by the Federal Government and the role local community groups can play. Overall 397 environmental projects were approved by the Federal Government including the 2 for Hays Inlet. The first project is scheduled to begin in July 2016 with support from Conservation Volunteers Australia.