Nickolas Varvaris deploys Green Army

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Nickolas Varvaris MP (L) at the launch of the Green Army program with Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Naji Najjar, chair of the Georges River Combined Councils Committee and Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment.

Coalition rolls out environmental traineeships – just don’t call it work for the dole.

Young people in the Barton electorate of Sydney will be among the first 17 to 24-year-olds to join the Australian government’s Green Army and become part of what it calls “the largest environmental movement” in Australia’s history.

Federal Member for Barton, Nickolas Varvaris, joined Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Environment Minister Greg Hunt at Carss Bush Park in Sydney last week to officially launch the program.

An initiative of the Department of Environment – the Green Army’s mission is to undertake environment and heritage conservation projects across Australia. The program has been given a budget of $525 million over the next four years.

“The Green Army provides opportunities for young Australians to gain training and experience in environmental and heritage conservation fields and explore careers in conservation management, while participating in projects that generate real benefits for the Australian environment,” said Mr Varvaris.

The Barton MP will see the one of the first Green Army teams established in his own electorate to rehabilitate the Georges River.

Participants who sign up for the Green Army receive an allowance of between $10.14 and $16.45 per hour (less than minimum wage but higher than the Newstart and Youth Allowances), and are promised accredited training in conservation and land management, heritage conservation and trade skills.

At the launch, Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the program as “six months of good work and good comradeship that you can come back and look at in the years ahead and say ‘I did that for my country’.”

Mr Abbott added: “This is not a work for the dole project, I want to stress this. It’s an environmental traineeship.”

Some 2,500 young people are expected to enlist for the Green Army in 2014 to work on 250 projects around Australia. The program is targeting the training of 15,000 young Australians by 2018.

source: Neos Kosmos

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