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Community supports environmental job stimulus

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Polling commissioned by the National Landcare Network found 83 per cent of people said the federal government should fund environmental initiatives like tree planting, weed removal and river restoration to keep people in regional communities employed.

Modelling indicates a $4-billion investment into a national conservation and land management program could raise economic output by about $5.7 billion, reduce welfare costs by $620 million and generates 53,000 jobs over the next four years.

The proposal put forward by Pew Charitable Trusts, has been backed by an alliance of more than 70 agricultural and environmental organisations from across the nation.

The polling comes off the back of data showing there has been a 134 per cent increase in people actively looking for work through the federal government's JobActive program over the first six months of 2020.

There were 1.4 million people looking for work in the second quarter of 2020, which is an increase of 821,000 people compared to the final quarter of 2019.

Pew Charitable Trust deputy director Pepe Clarke said even with JobKeeper, the data released by the federal government showed a sharp increase in people looking for work.

"Given the clear evidence of people struggling to find work, it would be great to see the federal government responding to this strong public support for funding practical conservation and land management work while the economy recovers," Mr Clarke said.

Both Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and Environmental Minister Sussan Ley have been briefed on the proposal.

The WA state government has already announced new Landcare and conservation programs designed to get people back to work as part of their Green Jobs Plan.

The polling found practical environmental work came in as the second most popular (75% support) of 12 options for keeping people in regional communities employed, second only to increasing funding for training and apprenticeships (78%).

About three-quarters (76%) were concerned about the health of the country's environment, with 74% agreeing economic stimulus funding should be used to help communities and the environment recover from the bushfires and drought.

www.farmonline.com.au/story/6820578/4-billion-land-management-stimulus-backed-by-70-organisations/

www.wa.gov.au/government/announcements/green-jobs-plan-unveiled-support-recovery

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