Caring for our Local Environment

24 Aug 2020 speech

Ms FLINT (Boothby—Government Whip) (19:07): Environmental management and conservation in our local communities is so important to safeguard our unique Australian ecosystems for future generations. The Morrison government is supporting the fantastic work of local environmental volunteer groups through the very popular Communities Environment Program. In my community, we are incredibly lucky to have Adelaide's best stretch of coastline in the west, the best stretch of the leafy foothills and creeks in the east, and we are even luckier to have so many wonderful local residents who take environmental protection very seriously.

These dedicated volunteers show we can all play a role, no matter how large or small, in improving the health and wellbeing of our environment. That's why I have been so pleased to support so many local initiatives run by volunteer groups that ensure future generations can experience the wonderful environment that my community currently enjoys today. There are so many projects under way or complete that I have been pleased to join my community in supporting, such as the Conservation Volunteers important work on saving the endangered southern bandicoot. Scotch College's Kaurna Shelter Tree Project, working with the tireless Ron Bellchambers, regenerated vegetation around a 400-year-old Indigenous shelter tree and has fostered local connections with Indigenous elders and youth.

Close by, the ever-hardworking Friends of Belair National Park, led by President Mark Pedlar, used a grant to remove feral trees and then restore natural bushland in what is Australia's second-oldest national park. Down the road on the Mitcham Plains, the Friends of Waite Conservation Reserve received a grant for protecting significant vegetation.

Over on the other side of Boothby, the Friends of Marino Conservation Park, led by Alan Wilson, received funding for the relentless work of removing weeds and replanting native vegetation on the park's botanical trail. I have had the pleasure of planting native vegetation here—work that comes with some of the best views of Adelaide's coastline! At the Seacliff Recreation Centre, headed up by the endlessly energetic Beverley Manns, the federal government supported a project called 'Bugs, birds and butterflies', which provided habitat, food and shelter for local fauna, including the installation of a birdbath and a bee hotel. We have also supported the Trees for Life volunteers' work for regeneration and the conservation of the threatened grey box woodland.

Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting several community groups to see how their projects were coming along. The first of these was the stormwater management project at the Dara School in Morphettville, headed up by Dara's gifted students. Situated next to the Sturt River, the school community at Dara recognise the importance of limiting waste that enters our waterways, and they kindly welcomed me and the Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans, to see their good work.

Their project has reduced waste water going into the Sturt River by funnelling water through their ecosystem pit. They catch the waste before it reaches the river. Unsurprisingly, the high achievers at Dara also went a bit further, removing invasive weeds and revegetating using native plants. Assistant Minister Evans and I were given the opportunity to test our planting skills, joining students to plant some new varieties. I want to commend Dara's principal, Lynda McInnes, board chair Sophia Elliott, Mr Tony Baulderstone, who owns the site leased to Dara, and all the students at Dara for this fantastic initiative.

I did some more planting at Brighton Beach, with the South Australian Minister for Environment and Water, David Speirs MP, and Trees for Life CEO, Natasha Davis, for the Reclaim the Dunes project. Again, this is supported by a Communities Environment Program grant. It was wonderful to see so many volunteers turn out to this event, including members of the adjacent Brighton Surf Life Saving Club led by President Chris Parsons. All up, Trees for Life will plant over 5,000 plants over four key sites, covering over five hectares of beachside dunes. I wish to extend a big thank you to everyone involved, including Trees for Life member VJ Russell, who organised a very productive morning.

This is just a tiny snapshot of the everyday work done by local community environmental volunteers. These vital initiatives have been made possible by $150,000 in grants, from the Morrison government, but the value for our environment unlocked by the volunteers is priceless. I'm so proud of my community, who understand that the work to look after our environment begins and ends at a local level. I wish to thank all our local volunteer groups in Boothby for the tremendous work they do in protecting and preserving our unique and diverse local environment.