Thirty years of working for the Australian environment
Established in 1982 to mark the Year of the Tree, Greening Australia was formed by the United Nations Association of Australia and the Nursery Industry Association of Australia. Since then, it has developed into the country's largest practical not-for-profit environmental organisation.
A response to tree decline
At the start of the 1980s, significant tree cover decline in Australia was acknowledged as having an adverse impact on agricultural and pastoral productivity.
Growing public perception recognised that excessive removal of tree cover was a key contributor to the development of many rural problems such as salinity, soil degradation and the decline of water quality. On World Environment Day in 1982, then Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser announced the establishment of the National Tree Program, which aimed to reverse tree decline throughout Australia.
Greening Australia provided the non-government arm of the National Tree Program. With representation in every state and territory and a national office in Canberra, Greening Australia became the primary focus for non-government tree projects.
This led to the recognition that Greening Australia was effectively a catalyst organisation that brought together diverse groups, authorities, sponsors and individuals to work together. On World Environment Day in 1998, Greening Australia was admitted to the United Nations Environment Program Global 500 Roll of Honour. This award recognises outstanding achievements in protection of the environment, and represents a significant achievement for Australia's role in world conservation.
Greening Australia has undergone a natural evolution over the years - from a tree-centric to a landscape-focused organisation.
Confronting the growing environmental challenges of the 21st century, the organisation's mission is now urgent: to scale up and intensify its work, engage communities, draw upon the best science and apply years of practical experience to conserve and repair the nation's most important natural assets.
Greening Australia has played a pivotal role in some of the country's largest environmental initiatives. Alongside hundreds of local projects, Greening Australia is, or has been, involved in a variety of local and countrywide initiatives:
- The One Billion Trees Program - this aimed to educate and empower the community to plant one billion trees.
- Bushcare Support - an ongoing project providing technical advice, education and support to groups receiving Natural Heritage Trust community grants for revegetation projects.
- Bush for Greenhouse - a joint project with landholders to plant trees and sequester carbon emissions generated by corporate investors.
- National Corridors of Green - grants and technical support for landholders for green wildlife corridors connecting patches of remnant bush.
- Farm Forestry Support - a joint project with landholders to develop farm forestry as an industry.
- Exchange - the national vegetation knowledge service. This program provides information, access to experts and people with similar issues and initiates resource linkages. Working with Land & Water Australia through the Exchange Incentive Fund, the Exchange supports regional events and groups undertaking native vegetation management activities.
- Florabank - this project shares the best available knowledge from research and practice in native species seed management. A significant component of the FloraBank project is reviewing research in seed management.
- Green Corps - since 2002, Greening Australia has worked with the Australian Government to deliver Green Corps (Young Australians for the Environment), a youth development and environmental training program for people aged between 17 and 20 years. Greening Australia is committed to Green Corps projects that achieve tangible benefits for Australia's environment and cultural heritage, and provide real opportunities for young people.