Grants and awards | December 04, 2015
CMAs offer drought employment program
A $1 million Drought Employment Program for local Catchment Management Authorities will provide local employment for people directly affected by the drought, to undertake works on key environmental projects.
Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy has been strongly advocating for immediate off farm employment opportunities in drought affected communities across Western Victoria.
“I have been pressuring the State Labor Government to ensure immediate alternative employment opportunities are made available in our farming communities, to provide continuity of local employment and to stimulate our local economy,” Ms Kealy said.
Programs will employ drought affected people with direct links to primary production to undertake a range of environmental works, building on existing programs and completing high priority activities for public benefit.
“Work available includes weed and rabbit control, watering revegetation sites, fencing, GPS mapping of weeds and on-ground works such as track rationalisation, rubbish removal or access improvements,” Ms Kealy said.
“A great aspect of this program is the flexible employment hours which will allow people the ability to continue their on-farm operations.
“I encourage those affected by the drought, with links to primary production to consider the flexible employment opportunities available through our local Catchment Management Authorities.
“These opportunities could extend to young people who would normally return to their family’s farm at the end of their school year, where farming work is no longer available as a direct result of the drought.
“Our farmers and rural communities are suffering from the current drought conditions and need to be supported,” she said.
Ms Kealy said the government’s drought support package announced last month did not include any direct business support for farms and small businesses and did not include the fast-tracking of any infrastructure projects within the Lowan electorate.
“It is vital Lowan receives its fair share of funding for local infrastructure projects. These small projects mean that we can offer other off farm employment opportunities for those who need to supplement their income. This will support small businesses within our local communities and keep our economy ticking over,” she said.
Emma Kealy MP has called for further water and council rate relief for drought stricken farmers.
“In previous drought, farmers were offered discounts on their municipal rates and fixed water charges and Daniel Andrews should include similar rate relief programs in this support package,” Ms Kealy said.
For more information, please contact your local Catchment Management Authority.