Offenders turn over new leaf at tree-mendous revegetation project

Offenders from Queensland Corrective Services’ Cairns District Office are helping the environment by rehabilitating the Thomatis Creek bank and adjoining land.

The Richters (Thomatis) Creek Rehabilitation Project at Holloways Beach aims to restore a 250 metre section of the land, which was previously cleared for sugar cane about 50 years ago.

Queensland Corrective Services’ Acting Regional Manager Jenny Lynas said offenders completed their community service orders on the project as part of the Cairns Queensland Corrective Service Graffiti Reduction Project.

“The Cairns team and offenders, as well as other agencies, have helped plant thousands of native trees along a degraded section of the creek bank, with a collective aim to plant around 11,000 mangrove seedlings and 3400 rainforest and open forest trees,” Ms Lynas said.

“When assigned to a project, offenders are given the opportunity to reconnect with the community and to learn skills necessary to increase their chances of getting a job while also helping to keep the community safe by reducing recidivism. “

In 2017-18, 72 offenders in the Graffiti Reduction Project had completed approximately 6000 hours of community service across many projects, equivalent to about $150,000 financial value to the community.

Ms Lynas said National Tree Day recognised the importance of doing something positive for the community and the environment on 29 July 2018 and the Cairns team would continue to work with Terrain Natural Resource Management and other agencies to maintain the site.

“Offenders will continue to mow, weed and water the site until the trees become self-sufficient in about three years,” she said.

“This project is just one example of many where offenders give back to the community and the environment.”