Seven Green Corps participants graduated at a ceremony today, celebrating the completion of the 26-week Hickey Island Dune Restoration Green Corps project.

Member for Page Janelle Saffin said the Federally funded Green Corps program provides the opportunity for young people, aged 17 to 20, to learn land conservation skills while establishing links with their communities.

“This project gave these young people the valuable opportunity to carry out environmental restoration on Hickey Island at Yamba,” Ms Saffin said.

“Their work included improving the habitat for threatened species, bush regeneration, seed collection and cane toad harvesting.”

The team, managed by Greening Australia, has worked in partnership with community organisations and with Yamba Landcare Group and Clarence Valley Council. 

Ms Saffin said the seven participants were awarded certificates for completing the Certificate 1 in Conservation and Land Management, plus OH&S and First Aid training.

“This project has brought direct and immediate benefits to the local community by improving the ecology of the sites, and contributing to their cultural heritage values. The new skills and experiences participants have gained will also help them gain future employment opportunities.”

Ms Saffin said that in line with its election commitment, the Government had reviewed the current employment services, including the Green Corps program.

“Following extensive consultation, the Government has designed a new, streamlined employment services system that will provide more streamlined and tailored services for job seekers,” she said.

“Under Job Services Australia which begins on 1 July 2009 Green Corps activities will continue as a work experience option for job seekers.

“Activities will retain their focus on natural environment and cultural heritage principles, with an added focus on water and climate change.”