The January floods have left debris in many cane paddocks hampering efforts at harvesting.
The January floods have left debris in many cane paddocks hampering efforts at harvesting. Contributed

Flood debris removed from farms

WITH this year's cane harvest well underway, many cane farmers have been facing the issue of flood debris in paddocks inundated by the January flooding.

Harvesting contractors have been reporting debris such as sheets of roofing iron, car tyres, logs and other woody debris hampering their efforts.

Cane farmers are being encouraged to sign up to a novel approach to address this situation with supervised teams available to assist in clearing flood debris from affected paddocks.

The teams will be made up of local job seekers who will receive training and supervision and an opportunity to increase their skills with accreditation in areas such as vehicle operation, use of equipment, first aid and OH&S.

This project is an extension of the Burnett Mary Regional Group's Flood Recovery program and is a collaborative effort involving the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, Bundaberg and Isis Canegrowers, NEATO Employment services, the Australian Agriculture College Corporation and Bundaberg Regional Council.

Isis Canegrowers general manager Wayne Stanley said the project was a great opportunity to help cane growers in the Bundaberg and Isis areas and give local jobseekers skills and experience.

"We have experienced and qualified supervisors on hand to train the teams and to manage them when on the ground," he said.

"Not only will debris be removed safely and thoroughly, we are creating opportunities for employment outcomes for the jobseekers involved at the end of it."

"We have five properties covering about 60ha of cane registered already and the capacity to handle a great deal more. Any cane farmers who need a hand with clearing their paddocks of debris can contact us for help" he said.

BMRG's support for the program is possible through funding made available as part of the joint Queensland and Australian governments Disaster Relief Program which is helping reinstate agricultural productivity and assisting primary producers with recovery from the impacts of the flooding caused by ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald.