Drought relief: Temporary government jobs now available for agriculture sector workers

By Daneka Hill

Temporary jobs and $1.5 million worth of wages are available for any Goulburn Murray Irrigation District farmers and farm workers interested.

The new wave of available work was launched yesterday as part of the Victorian Government’s drought relief package.

Those who apply will be provided with two to four days’ work a week for at least two months.

The part-time and full-time jobs have a casual labour rate starting at $31 per hour and are being run via the Goulburn Broken and North Central Catchment Management Authorities.

Participants can anticipate fencing and regeneration work in addition to various “public good” projects, according to the job ad.

Goulburn Broken CMA acting chief executive Carl Walter said there was no set end date for the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District Drought Employment Program.

“The money needs to be used by the end of June so if 30 people apply, we’ll use the $1.5 million by June, if we get 50 people we’ll use it up by April,” Mr Walter said.

“I know we’ve got six people registered already, and that’s in the first six hours.”

The last drought employment program in the region was in 2009 and it supported 70 workers.

“The criteria is pretty simple, basically you need to be a farmer in this area who wants to work on a drought employment program,” Mr Walter said.

“People do self-select in the end because they want to work on their farms, but if that’s not an option then this is here.”

A notable difference for this program is a focus on training and up-skilling.

“If people want to do some training that’s out of the ordinary — OH&S, chainsaw work for example — let us know and we can provide opportunities,” Mr Walter said.

Past programs have put applicants to work in rubbish collection, feed control, signage construction and park bench building.