In the last 12 months, CoAct and its Sub Contractors delivered close to 100 projects across Australia that not only restored and improved our environment, but also provided young people with valuable work experience. We asked National Green Army Manager, Miro Lojanica to tell us a bit more about CoAct's involvement with the Green Army…
So Miro, let’s start with the obvious question - what is the Green Army?
The Green Army is a Federal Government-funded programme which gives young people the opportunity to get hands-on experience supporting local environment and heritage conservation projects across the country. Groups of 17-24 year olds work in teams of nine on a huge variety of projects, which run for around six months each. The projects include everything from cultural heritage conservation, environmental value conservation and restoration, propagation and planting of native seedlings to foreshore and beach restoration.
The participants get paid an allowance and all their clothing and safety gear is provided. But most importantly, they get valuable work experience and accredited training in Conservation and Land Managementthat can set them on a fantastic career path.
How does the programme work and how is CoAct involved?
Community organisations, including landcare groups, natural resource management organisations, environment groups, Aboriginal Land Councils and Local Councils, will first apply to the Department of Environment and Energy to ‘host’ a Green Army project. If their application is approved, the organisation, now known as the Project Host, is then assigned a Service Provider.
That’s where CoAct comes in. We’re one of five Service Providers that have been appointed by the Government to manage the delivery of Green Army projects. Our job is to administer the contract, and look after compliance and Workplace Health and Safety (WH&S) tasks associated with the project. We also handle things like paying the participants’ wages and reporting on the progress of the projects to the Government.
The best way to think of CoAct is as the ‘head contractor’. We then engage local conservation or land management businesses to run the projects on the ground. These businesses are called Project Delivery Agencies and they handle the day-to-day execution of the Green Army project. Their role is to work closely with the Project Host to make sure the project is being delivered to their expectations.
Can anyone apply to host a Green Army project?
Yes. That’s the beauty of the CoAct model. We know there are a lot of small organisations out there who are really keen to get involved in protecting the environment and giving back to the community, but they don’t have the expertise needed to run a project themselves. CoAct has the expertise and experience to make applying for and delivering a Green Army project easy.
We take the hard work out of running a project by appointing the Project Delivery Agency on behalf of the Project Host. The Project Delivery Agency is equipped with up to date WH&S policies and they understand what checks and balances need to be in place to comply with the government deed. And because we handle everything else, like payroll and reporting, there’re even fewer things the Project Host needs to worry about. We even provide training for the supervisors who are working in the teams with the young participants!
And for those organisations that have never been through the process of applying for a government-funded project, we can help by walking you through the application stages.
What kind of projects has CoAct been involved with?
All kinds of things really. We have a number of projects currently running up in Northern WA that are working with traditional land owners of the Kimberley region to restore native vegetation and build up a live seed bank. Another group in La Perouse in NSW is working on a bush tucker project to create walks and replant local bush tucker plants. And in Victoria, the Barham River Restoration Project is doing great things to improve the health of the waterway.
We currently have more than 40 projects running across Australia.
If I have an idea for a Green Army project, how do I get started?
The first thing to do is to email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 1800 078 233.
Our Green Army staff will walk you through the steps you need to follow to apply for project funding and answer any questions you may have about getting involved.