The State Government today paid tribute to 75 ‘river angels’ at the launch of the new River Guardians Pilot Program.
Environment Minister David Templeman and Racing and Gaming Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich joined more than 140 people at the historic Melville Water Polo Club on the Swan River in Bicton to celebrate the new program.
Honorary memberships were presented to more than 70 community-nominated River Guardians, who already dedicate their time to protecting and restoring the Swan and Canning Rivers.
The Western Australian Gaming Community Trust provided a $250,000 grant to establish the pilot program.
Mr Templeman said the Swan River Trust initiative was the first of its kind to truly connect all the people of Perth with those who were already doing great work along the rivers and tributaries.
“Western Australians enjoy a great love affair with our magnificent Swan and Canning Rivers and are fiercely protective of it.,” he said.
“I hope this River Guardians program will inspire the community to become more actively involved in a fun, hands-on way and in continuing to improve the health of our iconic rivers.
“River Guardians is about sharing ideas and knowledge, receiving expert training, funding more restoration projects along the rivers and, above all, protecting them for future generations.
“Among our honorary River Guardians we have a wealth of expertise and passion that will play an instrumental role in the success of the program, which is gathering momentum daily.
“As part of the launch, we are offering free membership to the Perth community until the end of this year.
“From January next year, membership costs will be charged at very reasonable prices and will provide free events, training and discounts, and the money raised will be used to fund restoration projects to benefit the rivers.
“I encourage everyone interested in the health of our rivers to contact the Swan River Trust today and sign up to being part of this exciting new opportunity, whether they are individuals, a family, group or business.”
Ms Ravlich said Gaming Community Trust funds were unclaimed community and casino gaming winnings, allocated to projects which benefited the WA community.
“The River Guardians program is a wise investment, because it encourages people to make a very real difference to something they are passionate about, as well as taking responsibility for the future of our rivers,” she said.
“This is an excellent opportunity for everyone to get involved and for each of us to do our bit to help our local environment.”
The Gaming Community Trust was established in 2002 to provide advice and make recommendations to the Racing and Gaming Minister on the distribution of funds and grants for the general benefit of the community.
Further information on the River Guardians Pilot Program is available from the Swan River Trust on (08) 9278 0900 or the program’s new website: http://www.riverguardians.com
Office of the Minister for the Environment - 9220 5050 Office of the Minister for Racing and Gaming - 9213 6800