Several residents in the Gippsland High Country will soon commence weed control on the Livingstone Creek in Omeo, a project designed to provide off farm income to those impacted by drought, and improve local waterways in the region.
The Drought Employment Program commences today (Monday, December 3), with similar projects rolling out in Sale, Omeo and Bairnsdale.
Community members impacted by drought have been invited to participate in return for an income throughout the life of the project.
A partnership of the North East, East Gippsland and West Gippsland catchment management authorities (CMAs), the first project to proceed will focus on management of Livingstone Creek upstream and downstream of the town.
“The purpose of this program is to provide an option to local farmers, workers and suppliers in the agricultural industry who may benefit from flexible, temporary employment while they monitor the effects of the drought,” chief executive officer of employment services agency, Workways Australia, who is managing the employment process on behalf of the CMAs, Bryan McCormick, said.
“We’ve focused on areas of need where community members can benefit from both the employment opportunities and the positive environmental outcomes of each project,” added North East CMA chief executive officer, Katie Warner.
“We will be completing weed control including English broom, willows and blackberries in and around the town. In later months we are planning some weed control on the Mitta Mitta areas such as campsites, stopovers and fishing grounds.”
Livingstone Creek is a popular destination in Omeo for visitors and community members alike. It flows through the township and is also used as the community swimming pool.
Workways is currently appointing a local supervisor and coordinator who will oversee the projects and act as first point of contact for the community. Expressions of interest for the Drought Employment program remain open and can be accessed via the Workways website.
“We encourage anyone in Wellington and East Gippsland Shires currently employed in agriculture or similar industries who have been impacted by drought to apply for the program.” Mr McCormick said.
“Not only are these projects a good initiative for the local community, they provide opportunities for participants to create lasting connections with others in similar industries.”