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Flood recovery program gets vital funding boost

A funding injection of $550,000 will extend the popular Mallee Flood Recovery Environmental Employment Program.

Flood recovery program gets vital funding boost

FREEP crew members repairing protective fencing.

The funding for the flood recovery program was announced today by the Victorian Government and welcomed by the Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA), which is administering the program in the Victorian Mallee.

“This news was certainly high on our Christmas wish-list and is a great start to the New Year,” Mallee CMA Board Chairperson Sharyon Peart said.

“We recognise that money is very tight across the spectrum from government to farmers and this is great recognition of the achievements of our flood recovery employment program team. 

“This additional funding means growers who were severely affected by the floods can rely on future employment, with the flexibility of working three days per week, which allows them to keep their farming enterprises on track.”

The Mallee Flood Recovery Environmental Employment Program began in July 2011 and was expected to cease early this year, if further funding was not made available. The Department of Sustainability and Environment will review the flood recovery employment program in March to assess demand, resources and future need.

A total of 44 irrigators and one dryland farmer have been employed by the local program, with participants undertaking a range of works across the region including repairs to flooddamaged fences and infrastructure; removal of flood debris and rubbish along the Murray River; and extensive pest plant and weed control.

In addition to this, participants have completed 1,910 hours of training, which have focused on safe work practices, up-skilling to improve employment opportunities and/or to aid decision making regarding the farm business.

Ms Peart said the benefits derived from the local flood recovery employment are significant.

“To date, the program has delivered works at 41 public land sites across the Victorian Mallee and a total of 17,566 hours of paid work has been completed at these sites,” she said.

“But, perhaps more importantly for many people, it has also provided a much needed boost to the general health and wellbeing of those employed.

“One new-comer to the program said that in his first week, he hadn’t laughed so much or felt so good for years. Another participant’s partner rang to say how she had seen the depression in her partner lift since he started work with us.”

For more information about the Mallee Flood Recovery Environmental Employment Program, contact the Mallee CMA on 5051 4377 or click here

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