GREEN JOBS REVEGETATE RIVERBANKS
REEF ASSIST PROJECT PLANTS 32,000 TREES
8 December 2021
Over 32,000 native trees have been planted along riverbanks in the Johnstone, Murray and Russell catchments as part of a year-long project to boost rural economies by creating ‘green jobs’.
Johnstone Region Landcare Group, Johnstone River Catchment Management Association and Terrain NRM have worked together since late 2020 to deliver the $520,000 project, funded through the Queensland Government’s $10 million Reef Assist program.
An area equivalent to over 20 football fields (8.4 hectares) and spanning five kilometres of streambank has been planted with native woody and non-woody vegetation.
The benefits of the project extend beyond the on-ground revegetation work, with 26 local people gaining training and employment through the project.
Youth and Traditional Owners are among the team of local people employed, with 13 receiving classroom-based training in cultural awareness, riverine processes, species selection, weeds, and crocodile awareness.
Innisfail local Brenton Congoo gained experience as a Johnstone Region Landcare revegetation team supervisor during the project.
“What we’ve achieved in this project is really amazing. I’ve enjoyed working on it and feel proud to have been given the opportunity to be a team supervisor at my young age. I’d love to do this work every single day,” Mr Congoo said.
Johnstone Region Landcare Group Leader Fay Falco-Mammone said the project has generated environmental, economic, and socio-cultural benefits across the Wet Tropics region.
“We’ve provided training and employment for a diverse range of people in the community through this ‘shovel-ready’ project.
“Projects like this connect community groups with willing landholders and provide employment opportunities that have a flow-on effect in our local regional communities,” Ms Falco-Mammone said.
Nineteen businesses in Tully, Innisfail and Babinda have benefited from the project through the purchase and hire of equipment, materials, and supplies.
Most of the revegetation sites are located on private farming properties in the area, with farmers willing to give over unprofitable small corners of paddocks for trees to stabilise eroding creek banks impacting on farmland.
A Tully farmer said: “The planting work was carried out very professionally and in an efficient way, as evidenced by the number of healthy trees now established”.