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National Media Release
Mr David Hawker, MP
Federal Member for Wannon
Dr Sharman Stone, MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the
Environment and Heritage

8 November 1999

TEEN GREENS HELP RE-DISCOVER ABORIGINAL HERITAGE


Ten young Victorians are helping to map and restore sacred Aboriginal cultural sites as part of the Federal Government's Green Corps program.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage, Sharman Stone MP, and Federal Member for Wannon, David Hawker MP, today met with members of the team on-site at Portland, helping to search local sand dunes for aboriginal middens and other cultural artefacts.

"This is a very special Green Corps project, bringing together modern and ancient cultures to help preserve and protect Victoria's remarkable landscape and cultural heritage. After the six-month project is complete, both will have gained something valuable from the partnership," they said.

"This is a unique project giving 10 young Victorians the to chance to learn more about our state's history as well as gaining valuable on-the-job training and work experience in natural resource management," Sharman Stone said.

The Warrnambool South West Cultural Project aims to survey, audit and protect Aboriginal cultural sites across South-west coast and hinterland of Victoria. With the assistance of Parks Victoria, the team will record and map sites using state-of-the-art Global Satellite Positioning equipment.

"We are only now discovering some of our country's unique natural heritage. Only a few weeks ago, the fossilised remains of 'Dave' a 112 million year old sea-creature were found by fisherman in North Queensland."

"With their enthusiasm and hard work there is every chance the Warrnambool Green Corps team could be next in line to make a major discovery."

The team is working in the Warrnambool-Yambuk region which was today officially declared as Victoria's first Indigenous Protected Area (IPA). This will ensure the regions' unique natural and cultural biodiversity will be preserved and managed by the traditional owners according to customary practices.

Green Corps is the Federal Government's $88.8 million environmental training program, giving young Australians the opportunity to make a contribution to the environment, in return for practical training and work experience in natural resource management.

Over the next four years 6,800 trainee places will be offered to young Australians aged between 17 and 20 years.

"The Federal Government is always looking for new ideas for Green Corps projects. Community groups, Landcare groups and Local Councils are all welcome to nominate projects that aim to protect and restore the environment, indigenous or historical cultural heritage sites," Mr Hawker said.

The next round of Green Corps applications close on 22 November 1999, with further applications called every 10 weeks thereafter.

Green Corps application forms are available from the Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers on freecall 1800 633 844 or on the Internet at http://www.atcv.com.au.

For further information please contact:
Nicole Johnston, Dr Stone's Office, 02 6277 2016 or 0419 219 415
Lisa McDonald, Mr Hawker's Office, 03 5572 1100 or 0407 719 699

Commonwealth of Australia