Mary River pledge
A GYMPIE woman taking her dog for a walk along the Mary River banks was so appalled by its deteriorating condition she decided action was needed.
That snap decision has now resulted in a Coalition funding pledge to have Gympie feature in the party's nation-wide Green Army initiative.
Lee Gailer organised a tour with Gympie Landcare president Steve Burgess late last week and together the pair inspected the Mary River up from Kidd Bridge.
Ms Gailer said it was a disgrace the river had been long ignored despite the long-running community campaign to save the watercourse from the now defunct Traveston Dam project.
Her efforts and determination led to a visit by Wide Bay MP Warren Truss yesterday afternoon.
Mr Truss was at the Gympie and District Landcare Group premises on Old Maryborough Rd to announce Gympie would receive funding for a Green Army project should the LNP form government.
Ms Gailer was thrilled her submission for Green Army funding, supported by Gympie Landcare and the Mary River Catchment Co-ordinating Committee, was meet with enthusiasm by the Coalition.
The Green Army project is a 15,000 strong nation-wide project aiming to improve the environment and equip jobseekers with a skills set and qualifications to improve employment prospects.
In Gympie, the Green Army will involve 10 people, including a supervisor, working for up to 26 weeks with Gympie and District Landcare, the Mary River Catchment Co-ordinating Committee and Gympie Regional Council.
Once in action, the Green Army will help protect the nesting ground of the endangered Mary River turtle, rehabilitate the banks of the Mary River and improve recreational access to the river itself between Kidd Bridge and The Sands - an area of the river accessible by vehicles south of McDonalds.
"The people involved in this project will make a difference to the environment and the length of this project will give them vital skills for future employment opportunities, a work ethic and qualifications," Mr Truss said.
"Work will also be undertaken to clear weeds and debris, replant native species, landscaping and strengthening the Mary River Walk to improve safety and access."
Mr Truss used his visit to Gympie Landcare yesterday to re-affirm the Coalition's commitment to seeing results on the grounds and stripping bureaucracy in community-based projects.
The nation-wide Green Army initiative is similar to the Howard Government's Green Corps program, providing more Australians with a golden opportunity to pursue environmental regeneration as a vocation.