The largest of its kind ever mobilized in Australia, the force was launched by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Sunday with the words, “The Green Army is on the march from today.”

green army logo“The Green Army is a hands-on, practical, grassroots environmental action programme that supports local environment and heritage conservation projects across Australia,”¬†according to the organization itself.

“It’s the largest environmental workforce Australia has ever mobilized for land care,” said Abbott.

The Army seeks to recruit 15,000 members. It is targeting Australians aged 17-24, and offers to provide training and experience in environmental and heritage conservation fields and conservation management. At the same time, the Army aims to benefit the environment by staffing real projects. Army workers will receive a wage similar to a traineeship–around US$9.30-14.90 per hour.

Green Army teams will be deployed on 20-26-week projects across Australia. In the next year, 250 projects have been planned. Five hundred are planned for 2015-16, 750 for 22016-17 and 1,150 for 2017-18.

Among these tasks are tree planting, restoring koala habitats, cleaning up creeks and rivers, conserving heritage sites and monitoring endangered species.

The program has been provided with $525 million tax money for four years.

“It’s about projects around Australia, which will help improve river banks, revegetate, encourage threatened species’ recovery, shore up sand dunes, be engaged in the health and rehabilitation of both urban and rural landscapes,” said Abbott. “Secondly, it’s about ensuring that young people have training and work skills and opportunity.”

Australians interested in joining the Green Army are advised to contact a Service Provider in their state or territory.

By Sid Douglas