Michael Sukkar MP

Federal Member for Deakin.
Minister for Housing & Assistant Treasurer.
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Constituency Statements: Heatherdale Creek Green Army

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak at the graduation for the participants involved in the Green Army project along Heatherdale Creek in Mitcham. This was the third Green Army project to take place in the Deakin electorate, after earlier projects had been completed at the Blackburn Lake Sanctuary and the Eastfield Reserve in Croydon. At the Heatherdale Creek site over the preceding six months, a fantastic group of hardworking young people spent a lot of time repairing, replanting and revitalising the creek corridor. The benefits for the local environment seem clear to everybody who has seen them. They will have, in my view, a lasting impact on our local area. There are a couple of interesting statistics for all of the residents who have noticed the great work happening along the creek. More than four tonnes of noxious weeds were removed and a staggering 6,500 native plants planted throughout the Heatherdale Creek area.

Since the completion of this project, I have had overwhelming feedback from everybody who uses the corridor, who walks along there on a daily basis or who intermittently uses one of the sporting facilities in the area. The feedback has been quite outstanding. It is heartening to receive such good feedback, but particularly heartening for the Green Army participants themselves, who have worked so hard for an area that many of them live in and many of them love. I would like to acknowledge each and every one of them for their efforts. They are ultimately the people that made this happen.

I am very pleased that the government was able to give them the opportunity to learn some new skills and to develop some good contacts. I know many of them are moving on to bigger and better things. It is a testament to how well this program was set up by Minister Greg Hunt, and I want to congratulate and thank him for his advocacy on behalf of the Deakin electorate to ensure that we got three first-class projects. I would also like to acknowledge and thank the City of Whitehorse, which has been a tremendous partner in this project, and almost most importantly, the Heatherdale Creek Parklands Advisory Committee, which is made up of volunteers, many of whom helped me originally advocate for the project and have been the stewards of the project ever since. In particular, I would like to thank their hardworking chair, Prue Cutts, as well as Val Turnbull and Gary Cooper. They ensured that this project happened, and are doing everything they can now to make sure that the community takes up where the Green Army left off. We had a very successful Clean Up Australia Day just a couple of weeks ago. It is interesting to see the community revitalised and energised by the great work that the Green Army have done. They are committed to making sure that that good work is continued. I really want to thank everybody involved with the project and look forward to the Green Army at Heatherdale Creek.

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