Colin Jackson, Phil Harrison and Garry Snowden were in Parliament House, Canberra, on the evening of 20 August 1996, to hear the Budget Speech by the new Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello MP, who announced: “…the Government will provide $42 million over the next three years to establish the Green Corps. The Green Corps will be open to young Australians aged 17 to 20 to demonstrate their commitment to the environment by working on projects to preserve and restore Australia's natural environment and cultural heritage. The projects will also contribute to their career and employment prospects through training, skills development, work experience and personal development.”
Soon after, the Commonwealth advertised a tender for a manger for the new program. Phil Harrison orchestrated a flurry of faxes between Brisbane and Ballarat, as Colin Jackson, Madeline Townsend, Garry Snowden and John Fenton fine-tuned the document. National reach and credible record won ATCV the job to administer and manage Green Corps for the whole of Australia for five years (1997-2002) was won in November and the contract was signed on the eve of Christmas, 1996. At the national launch of Green Corps – Youth for the Environment held in sweltering Adelaide on 12 January 1997, Colin Jackson assure the responsible Minister, Senator Amanda Vanstone, that thirty six projects were already in place and that recruiting was going well.
Those who were there recall with awe the remarkable celebration that was the National Green Corps Conference on 21-24 February 1998 in Canberra. One hundred and one participants representing 71 past and current teams from around Australia, Treasurer Peter Costello, three other Commonwealth Ministers, and several “captains of industry” were on hand. Board member Sue Campbell remembers feeling “deeply moved” when Travis Schicchitano explained to the audience how much joining Green Corps had meant to him. Travis said: “Green Corps was an amazing hands-on practical experience, which has enabled me to learn and to fulfil my passion, the Australian environment.”
Black and white group portrait photograph.“It’s not every day that you get the Prime Minister walking in off the street, and one of my favourite moments was in 1997 when the Hon. John Howard made his visit to Head Office in Ballarat” – Colin Jackson