[singlepic id=332 w=320 h=240 float=left]Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt has announced opportunities for a further 230 people displaced from their jobs by Cyclone Yasi to receive paid employment to help clean up farms and tourism businesses.

Mr Pitt said Cairns-based Choice Management Australia will place workers into 200 jobs for Operation Clean-Up.

“Terrain Natural Resource Management, which operates from Innisfail, will place 30 more employees,” he said.

“These organisations will give the highest priority to placing local people into jobs.

“Participants will be transported to various job sites to undertake 26 weeks of paid work clearing vegetation and debris caused by Cyclone Yasi on farmlands and tourism businesses.

“People who are out of work as a direct result of Yasi can register for job placements with Operation Clean Up. In fact, all unemployed people in the affected region are eligible to register for a job placement,” Mr Pitt said.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Regional Economies Tim Mulherin said the Choice and Terrain projects comprise nearly $4.9 million of the $20-million Rural Resilience Fund, a joint initiative of the Queensland and Federal governments.

“Under Operation Clean Up, part of the Rural Resilience Fund, over 600 properties have now registered for assistance, and we are well on our way to filling some 500 work placements with contracts with employment services,” Mr Mulherin said.

“These jobs will help provide work for locals and as a result help businesses and stimulate the local economy after the natural disaster.

“Yasi impacted on two of the far north’s most important industries – agriculture and tourism –and the sooner we can clear farms and tourist operations, the sooner they can get back to business,” he said.

Chief executive officer of Choice, Todd Hartley, said Choice assisted about 300 displaced and unemployed workers in and around Innisfail in the wake of Cyclone Larry. Once again, the organisation would provide accredited training in first aid, construction and chainsaw operations for its workers.

“This is a great opportunity for unemployed people to learn new skills and upgrade their present skills,” Mr Hartley said.

“Biosecurity Queensland will also hold a workshop advising them on how to reduce the likelihood of moving pests and diseases.

“Choice will transport crews to and from their worksites to clear vegetation and debris affecting farms and tourism operations.”

“Workers will be given the equipment, machinery, protective clothing and first aid kits to help them in their work.”

Mr Hartley said Choice would not forget its workers after Operation Clean-Up.

“We will maintain networks with employers, industry and community groups to help them get into full-time employment,” Mr Hartley said.

Terrain’s focus will be on cleaning up farmlands bordering waterways and ensuring the area’s conservation values were maintained.

Terrain’s operations manager Penny Scott said one of the post-Larry lessons was that cleanups could actually have a negative impact on the environment.

“For example, the removal of debris and riparian vegetation can, in fact, open up an area to weeds and overzealous clearing can result in further destruction to critical wildlife habitat,” Ms Scott said.

“We want to ensure the clean-up will deliver an environmental outcome.

“Terrain had received further funding of $423,370 under the Queensland Natural Disasters Jobs and Skills Package to provide six months’ work for 20 more people to take part in the clean-up as Green Army recruits.”

The 230 positions are in addition to 50 positions provided by Hinchinbrook Employment Services previously announced.

Producers and businesses seeking Operation Clean Up assistance and unemployed people wishing to register for work are invited to contact DEEDI on 13 25 23.