Green Army wants indigenous crews
AN ELECTION date has still not been set, but one Federal Opposition MP is already making an election commitment.
Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, met Lismore-based group Rekindling the Spirit yesterday to discuss plans to implement a Green Army in Tabulam.
Rekindling the Spirit is a community organisation that helps members of the Aboriginal community deal with life after social, criminal and emotional trauma.
The Coalition’s Green Army would employ young Aboriginal members through Rekindling the Spirit to work on local environmental programs.
When talking about how much the Coalition would contribute, Mr Hunt said he wanted to be ‘realistic’.
He said he was not promising anything, but they were providing a base for it.
“What we would do is give the opportunity to young people to do a year with the Green Army. The goal would be self-esteem and training,” he said.
Mr Hunt conceded the Green Army concept was like the Howard Government’s Green Corps, but ‘on steroids’.
“The Green Corps have been very successful in getting jobs for people,” he said.
The Green Army would work in the Upper Clarence Region doing river bank recovery projects, revegetation and pathways, allowing participants to work with their hands and see the physical results.
Under the program, trainees would earn $300 a week, Mr Hunt said.
Rekindling the Spirit managing director Greg Telford believes the gap between ‘black and white’ needs to be closed.
“We want to try and break the cycle and eventually help our children have a good life,” he said.
“A lot of problems that happen with our Aboriginal community happens in public and people see it. With westerners it happens in private.”
A similar program implemented in Lismore last year showed 90 per cent of program participants, who had previous criminal convictions, did not reoffend within two years.