CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (13:30): One of the defining features of my electorate of Indi is its geography: eight river valleys, snow-capped mountains and over 50 per cent of the water that falls in the Murray-Darling Basin. With this background imagine my delight when the students of the year 11 VCE class at Cathedral College in Wangaratta invited me to discuss the results of their recent excursion through the Ovens Valley to study the interconnection between environmental biology and geography, how human development has affected the water, the consequences of human manipulation on environmental quality, and measures to stop erosion. I thank Amber-Jade, Brooke, Cameron, Cara, Gabrielle, Houston, Oscar and Zeb and their teacher, Reverend David Jones.
It is wonderful to have a health check of our rivers undertaken by students who bring their skills, experience, curiosity and inquisitive minds to current problems. To have our next generation of farmers, environmentalists, scientists, teachers, park rangers and policy makers apply their education to local examples strengthens our whole community.
On their recommendation, we as a community need to pay attention to the effects of the quarry at Tarrawingee, land management around Lake Buffalo and the positive example of measures taken by the rural City of Wangaratta to stop erosion at Sydney Beach. I say to the young people of Wangaratta and the young people of Indi: the future is yours. We need to look after our environment.