Lychee farm on the road to recovery

A BUNDABERG lychee farmer is the latest landholder to receive help through an innovative flood recovery project that is helping producers recover from the January floods - and giving local job seekers a boost.

Karen Jones's 20 hectare lychee farm in North Bundaberg was inundated, following the January flooding.

She was still struggling to recover from the 2010/2011 floods and once again lost most of her farming equipment, her house was damaged and the netting and irrigation infrastructure needed to produce the quality lychees for which she was renowned was also destroyed.

Eight months on and uninsured, Ms Jones was facing an uphill battle to return her farm to pre-flood prosperity.

But two teams of 12 unemployed job seekers from NEATO Employment Services have been meeting their work for the dole requirements, while helping to re-establish Ms Jones' orchard.

The team removed more than seven tonnes of debris from the property and has sprayed, slashed, removed rubbish and whipper-snipped around the entire farm, in an attempt to restore it to pre-flood condition.

In return for their labours, the jobseekers gained valuable and relevant work experience, which improved their future employment prospects.

They also received nationally accredited competencies and accreditation through the Australian Agricultural College Corporation.

The project is co-ordinated by the Burnett Mary Regional Group and other agencies.