Valley

Successful Drought Employment Program Draws to a Close

Tuesday 19 June, 2007
After six months of intense on-ground works across the Goulburn Broken Catchment, the Drought Employment Program will officially end on June 30.

After six months of intense on-ground works across the Goulburn Broken Catchment, the Drought Employment Program will officially end on June 30.

The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority Drought Employment Program provided full-time employment for up to six months for more than 70 farmers affected by drought.

Employees worked in supervised crews on projects aimed at protecting and enhancing natural resources at icon sites across the catchment.

GB CMA CEO Bill O’Kane said the result was a win for the environment and a win for families facing the worst drought on record.

“The program created much needed employment,” Mr O’Kane said.

“The employees brought with them highly developed skills and the challenge was to provide enough work for this extremely motivated group of people.

“The program has now officially draw to a close with some employees returning to properties while others will seek full-time work off the farm.”

The program provided work for farmers, farm workers or farm service providers affected by the drought. Employees received first aid, chemical handling, occupational health and safety and chainsaw training.

Celebrations to acknowledge the success of the program and hard work of those involved will be held in Numurkah and Yea this month.

Funded by the Department of Sustainability and Environment as part of the Victorian Government’s statewide Drought Response Package, the GB CMA received about $3 million to implement the program.

“These drought employment projects are providing an income for drought-affected rural Victorians as well as helping local communities and their environment,” Water Minister John Thwaites said.

About 30 employees will remain working full-time for the GB CMA for 26 weeks. This has been made possible through extra funding after the sale of seven gigalitres of water to irrigators released from Eildon earlier this year.

Work completed to date includes:

  • About 60kms of fencing along the Broken, Boosey and Nine Mile Creeks and the Goulburn River;
  • Two bird hides built at Gemmill’s Wetland, Mooroopna;
  • Seats built at Jordan’s Bend;
  • Fish habitat created on the Broken Creek;
  • Muster yards built at Barmah State Park;
  • Parks Victoria signage at Yarrawonga;
  • Rubbish removal along Murray River from Cobram to Yarrawonga and on the Goulburn River in Shepparton;
  • Signage at the Dharnya Centre, Barmah State Forest;
  • Weed control carried out across more than 400 ha of public land; and
  • 824 metre wheels maintained to achieve water savings.

Release Ends

Media is invited to attend celebrations held on:

Friday, June 22 at 1pm at the Country Club Hotel, High St, Yea or

Friday, June 28 at 1pm at Numurkah Telegraph Hotel, Melville St, Numurkah.

For more information contact Anna Turnbull at Impress Publicity 58 212 651 or email  anna@impresspublicity.com.au