Member for Janelle Saffin praised 10 young people from Kyogle and Casino, including four indigenous participants, who will be restoring the Richmond River catchment under a Green Corp project launched by her today.

“I also think it’s fantastic that their team leader, Keith Close, is a Gugin Guddaba man; born in Kyogle and raised in Casino before becoming a senior field officer with the National Parks and Wildlife Service in the Urbenville area,” she said.

“I commend Keith’s decision to take six months’ leave without pay to oversee the $156,000 Richmond River Care: Environmental Action and Community Education Kyogle and Casino project.”

Mr Close, who performed a Welcome to Country ceremony in Kyogle’s Alcorn Park, said he was looking forward to training his 10-member team, aged 17 to 20, in Australian land management and conservation techniques over 26 weeks.

Representing Federal Minister for Employment Participation Brendan O’Connor, Ms Saffin said the Australian Government project would give young people the opportunity to develop real skills for the workplace.

“Most people who go through Green Corps projects end up securing sustainable jobs within three months of graduating, so the program has a very good success rate,” she said.

“I acknowledge the Gugin Guddaba people, traditional owners of this land, and thank Keith Close, of Job Futures Limited; Bob Jarman, of Richmond Landcare Incorporated, and Margo Rutledge, of Kyogle Shire Council, for their co-operation on this great initiative.”

Kyogle mayor Cr Ross Brown, together with new councillors Janet Wilson and John O’Reilly, attended the launch.

The Richmond River Care project will concentrate on natural resource management of Fawcetts Creek, Kyogle, including tree planting, track maintenance and weed eradication.

Some weed eradication work also will be undertaken near the footbridge across the Richmond River at Casino.

Since 2006, there have been seven Green Corps projects run in the Page electorate, three of them delivered by Job Futures Limited.

For more information on Green Corps visit http://www.greencorps.gov.au