Valley

Fruit Industry Employment Program crews help with fire recovery

Wednesday 26 February, 2014
Crews employed through the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s (CMA’s) Fruit Industry Employment Program (FIEP) are helping Wunghnu and Numurkah landholders affected by fires that swept across the area on February 9th.    The Goulburn Broken CMA received $2 million from the Victorian Government last year to deliver the FIEP for orchardists or orchard workers affected by SPC-Ardmona’s announcement that it will cut its fruit intake.

Crews employed through the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s (CMA’s) Fruit Industry Employment Program (FIEP) are helping Wunghnu and Numurkah landholders affected by fires that swept across the area on February 9th.
    
The Goulburn Broken CMA received $2 million from the Victorian Government last year to deliver the FIEP for orchardists or orchard workers affected by SPC-Ardmona’s announcement that it will cut its fruit intake.

FIEP Co-ordinator Corey Wilson said crews employed by the Goulburn Broken CMA, Parks Victoria and Moira Shire Council were helping remove and replace fire-damaged fences along more than 20km of creeks and wetlands adjoining private property.

“We’re working along the Nine Mile and Broken Creeks and will also be replacing fencing at Black Swamp and Kinnairds,” Mr Wilson said.
 
Russell Smith, who runs a 100 acre mixed-farm operation that is bordered by Broken Creek and Kinnairds Wetland, said the quick response to fix more than one kilometre of damaged fences on these boundaries was “fantastic”.

“All our strainer posts were damaged – it’s such a help they (the crews) got on to it so quickly,” Mr Smith said.
 
“I’ve got cows just about ready to calve and they’ve been stuck in tiny paddock. Once the boundary fences are fixed I’ll be able to get on to the internal ones. They (the FIEP crews) are doing a great job.”

Mr Smith said he and wife Pam were relieved they’d got through the fires safely although they still had a fair bit of clearing up to do.

“It’s quite sad to see some of the really big old red gums so badly burned and a lot of the planting Pam had done has also been destroyed,” Mr Smith said.

Orchard worker Bhupinder Minhas, who has been employed through the FIEP since August last year, said it was rewarding to know the crews were providing practical assistance to landholders.

“It’s good to get out there and know you’re helping other farmers,” Mr Minhas said.

For more information about fire recovery assistance, contact the Moira Shire Council recovery office on 5862 2684.   

features  Fruit Industry Employment Program worker Bhupinder Minhas

Fruit Industry Employment Program worker Bhupinder Minhas