LIBERAL candidate for Eden-Monaro Peter Hendy opened his election funding account in Queanbeyan on Monday with a $180,000 commitment to the Queanbeyan River corridor.
Mr Hendy joined with shadow environment parliamentary secretary Simon Birmingham and Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall to announce the funding on Monday, which would see a team of nine young people aged between 16 and 24 work to replant native flora along the Queanbeyan River bank between the Morrisset Street bridge and the ACT border.
Mr Hendy said the project would be part of a wider, $300 million program from the Coalition, called the 'Green Army' project, and would build on recent flood repair work carried out by the Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority and Queanbeyan City Council in the wake of the 2010 and 2012 floods.
"This project will not only enhance biodiversity by removing weeds and preserving native vegetation, it will also provide training opportunities for local residents," he said.
The young team would work with a supervisor over a six-month period in Queanbeyan, and Senator Birmingham said they would develop conservation and industry skills along the way.
"You get a win-win outcome. You get a win for the environment because we'll have a healthy river, and you get a win for the young people because they will get skills and training that will hopefully lead to greater commitment to the environment during their lives," he said.
"Those young people may be doing a gap year, they may be long-term unemployed. They'll be paid a training wage four days a week, working on the ground on this project, and one day a week in more structured training."
Mayor Tim Overall welcomed the funding proposal, which would roll out from July 1 next year if the Coalition was elected.
"This part of the river is very much denuded; we've taken out the insidious weeds and the willows, we've removed the log jams from the floods, we've dredged, and now we need an extensive plan of native replantings," he said.
"And this funding if it comes forward- and we very much look forward to it -will go a long way to achieve that."