Even more army cadets have joined the effort to help December
flood-affected farmers with around 130 to take part in The
Big Hand clean up this weekend.
The cadets, from Stawell, Surrey Hill, Ballarat, Bendigo and
Broadford, will set up camp at the Joel Joel Hall this
afternoon before heading out to affected farms in the upper
Wimmera catchment on Saturday and Sunday to help clean up.
Council Municipal Recovery Manager Greg Little said The Big
Hand aimed to help farmers in the Joel Joel, Greens Creek and
Campbells Bridge areas clean up debris left by the floods and
undertake general maintenance and repair work.
Mr Little said there were originally 100 cadets signed up for
the weekend but another unit put their hands up this week.
"The Council is really grateful to the army cadets for
volunteering their time to come to the region to help our
farmers, he said.
"The defence force has recognised the need to support our
flood-affected farmers even though the Federal Government is
still deciding whether to award them Category C emergency
Mr Little said the Council had still not heard whether the
application for Category C assistance for a disaster-affected
area under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery
Arrangements (NDRRA) had been decided at the federal level.
Both the State and Federal Governments have to sign off on
Category C for it to come into effect. The State Government
sent its approved application to the Commonwealth four weeks
Mr Little said having Category C assistance declared would
mean affected farmers, businesses and community organisations
would have access to a $25,000 clean up and recovery grant.
At least 99 farms, 64 homes and 16 community assets in the
upper Wimmera catchment were affected on December 18 when
around 125mm of rain fell in just two hours. Many farmers
lost fencing that had just been replaced after the January
Mr Little said the cadets would be thanked for their efforts
with a community barbecue on the Sunday at the Joel Joel
Hall, after they perform a ceremonial parade near the
soldier's memorial monument at 11.30am.
He said the army cadets would be led by the Stawell Army
Cadets Unit and be supported by their commanding officers.
"Some of these farmers have been hit two or three times
within 12 months so having the cadets come and help out for a
weekend will be a real morale boost. The farmers really
deserve a break.
The community is welcome to attend the army cadets' parade,
starting at 11.30am on Sunday June 17 at the Joel Joel war