Zali Steggall, the Federal member for Warringah, stepped out at Curl Curl Beach to support a community-planting event to mark Landcare Week, facilitated by Northern Beaches Council.
And while planting local flora species to protect the biodiversity of the dunes, Ms Steggall praised the national Landcare movement, launched by the late Bob Hawke in 1989, for ‘countering a sense of environmental despondency.’
‘We are all feeling a sense of despondency with the intensifying pressures against the environment. But having the opportunity to counter that, and make a difference, with your local Landcare group is crucial and necessary,’ Ms Steggall said on Friday.
‘Landcarers are doing and have been doing an extraordinary job at securing and protecting a vast variety of environments around the country, from the bush to the beach
‘And the effect Landcare – and caring for the environment in general – has on the community is so far-reaching. There are so many positive aspects on health and well-being by getting outside, doing something active and contributing to the community. The benefits for personal well-being are significant
Joined by Bob Hawke’s granddaughter, 30 Years of Landcare ambassador Sophie Taylor-Price, Ms Steggall recalled memories of the late PM during the 1989 launch.
‘I was a young teenager and I quite vividly remember the images on TV of Bob Hawke planting and talking about the bush and regeneration and that sense of responsibility, of caring for our environment for future generation and our environmental legacy. It is great to know that 30 years on, the movement is so strong.’
A staunch campaigner against climate change, Ms Steggall remarked that the strength of the Australian altruistic spirit will help combat the issue.
Ms Steggall said: ‘Australian volunteers are so dedicated and passionate and that self-sacrificing spirit to protect our environment is stronger than ever.
‘We can all feel a sense of despair because the facts are dire but I’m a glass half full kind of person and I believe we have great innovation and technology and have the smarts and the willpower to make a difference.
‘I look at the climate strikes coming up on the 20th of Sept and look at the engagement of the schoolkids, especially in the electorate and I know they care about our environment. They want us as adults to take responsibility and I will do my best on their behalf.’
Friday’s event is a culmination of Landcare Australia’s Landcare Week media campaign ‘From the Bush to the Beach.’ Honouring the inspiring work to protect our waterways and coast, the event comes days after a similar event at Wentworth in rural NSW to commemorate the efforts of those to preserve the Bush. The event at Wentworth also marked 30 years since former Prime Minister Bob Hawke launched the national Landcare program.