Burnett Mary Regional Group volunteer coordinator Brad Crosbie with workers Josephine and Scotty.
Burnett Mary Regional Group volunteer coordinator Brad Crosbie with workers Josephine and Scotty. Contributed

More help to get Bundy past damage from floods

IF YOU are a flood-affected primary producer or community environmental group living within one hour of Bundaberg who needs some hands-on help with flood recovery, help is available.

A flood recovery employment project - sponsored by the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG), Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Conservation Volunteers Australia and the Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - is providing practical help for landholders combined with training opportunities for job seekers to help them find work.

Flood-affected Avondale landholder John Wardrop has workers on his property and said he was highly supportive of the project.

John wouldn't have been able to do all this work so quickly by himself, so it's good to be able to give him a hand and let him know that he's not isolated.

"I'm very happy with the work that's been done - and the speed," he said.

"In a week and a half they've cleaned up around three kilometres of fencing and they've picked up at least half a kilometre of fence, realigned and strained it."

The program has two teams of 10 workers, each team working two days on the property, and then all 20 workers come together on Wednesdays for theory sessions at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries training centre on Ashfield Rd.

Two experienced supervisors are on-site each day - trainer, assessor and supervisor for Australian Agricultural Colleges Corporation, Vince Carige, and Bundaberg area from Conservation Volunteers Australia team leader Terry Spencer.

Mr Carige assured landholders competent people would be in charge - people who understand, own cattle properties themselves and have worked in the industry for years, people who train for a living.

"Landholders can get so much done with 10 workers - controlling weeds applying chemicals, fencing - and are being given an opportunity so I'd suggest they jump on board. But if they're concerned, please contact us and we can talk them through it," he said.

Mr Spencer said he was impressed by the level of commitment shown by this group of workers.

"These workers have only been working for five days and nearly have the fencing down pat," he said.

Landholders don't have to be on site during operations, but Mr Spencer said it was handy to have machinery there to assist.

"It makes the work process quicker - the project is only for 13 weeks and we'd like to satisfy as many landholders as possible in that time," he said.

"The workers really appreciate doing something and getting these certificates may mean future employment. Let's hope we can get an apprenticeship or something similar with the Certificate Two in Rural Operations for the three 17-year-olds that are here today."

Workers Josephine and Scotty said they were happy with the work they'd done and would love to get work as general farm hands.

"We work in pairs to strain the fences, but I reckon if you'd been doing it a while you'd be able to do it by yourself," Josephine said.

"John wouldn't have been able to do all this work so quickly by himself, so it's good to be able to give him a hand and let him know that he's not isolated and that others care about what's happened."

"It's really good we've been able to help John out - he really appreciates it," Scotty said.

"And it's great to work outdoors with my team-mates."

If you are interested in having these workers assist you with your flood recovery, please call BMRG volunteer coordinator Brad Crosbie on 07 4181 2999.