Glenelg Hopkins drought crews wind up

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The Glenelg Hopkins region will miss the assistance provided by the two Drought Employment Crews, based in Ararat and Hamilton.

Funded through the Victorian Government, the Drought Employment Program provided financial support to those affected by drought. Winding up at the end of April 2017, Glenelg Hopkins invited past and present participants, community members and local government representatives to a barbeque at Jimmy Creek, south of Halls Gap, to celebrate the achievements of the Program

During the term of the Program, crew members were provided a range of training including construction induction, first aid and CPR, operating of chainsaws, tree falling, chemical use, 4WD operation, snake awareness and bit management, mental health awareness and plant identification.

The training enabled members to undertake a range of environmental works, providing hands-on support to farmers to improve the quality of waterways on their properties, whilst also increasing their employment prospects.

During the term of the Program, crews undertook work for six shires, planting over 22,000 seedlings across 69 ha of revegetation, assisting landowners, erecting over 17 kilometres of new Landcare fencing and controlling over 27ha of woody weeds and 91ha of herbaceous weeds.

In addition, the crews focussed on providing farmers and communities with flood recovery assistance in the aftermath of the September 2016 floods, providing much-needed assistance to 24 affected farmers by clearing many tonnes of debris from over 47 kilometres of fencing, and replacing fencing knocked flat by the floods.

Local Harrow landholder Angus McLean said ‘where it might take one person an hour, with a second set of hands it might take 15 minutes. The CMA crew has been absolutely invaluable.'

Cavendish landholder George Coates said "we have other commitments on the farm to adhere to. It's been such a relief to have these guys come out and give us some time".

Glenelg Hopkins CMA Senior Field Services Officer Dave Nichols said ‘the reception from farmers has been really gratifying. They have been really appreciative of the efforts of our crew and it has been some of the most enjoyable work that we have been involved with'.

Over the course of the Program, 14 individuals were employed across the two crews, with several finding further employment in the region prior to the program ending.

The benefit of these crews is not totally lost to the CMA with the creation of a Works Crew for the next three years with Perc O'Brien, formerly the Ararat Drought Employment Crew leader, appointed as Works Crew Leader.

Quotes attributed to Minister for Water Lisa Neville
"I've seen first-hand the impacts of drought - which is why I'm proud that we worked side-by-side with farming communities to ensure they received the support they needed on and off farm."

Quote attributed to Glenelg Hopkins CMA CEO Kevin Wood
'The Drought Employment Program provided an opportunity for farmers to earn an income while undertaking important environmental works, creating a boost for the individual, the economy and the environment.'

Cavendish farmer George Coates with Glenelg Hopkins CMA Drought Employment Crew Tim Broers, George Carr and Jack Hand.


Hamilton and Ararat Drought Employment Crews participants with Dave Nichols Senior Field Services Officer for Glenelg Hopkins CMA (centre