DEPUTY Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan made a short but sweet visit to Yanakie last Friday with news of especial interest to the local farming community.
At the property of Raoul and Julie Pridham, Mr Ryan announced the first two projects to be established through the government’s $890,000 Lower Tarwin District Advancing Country Towns project.
As reported in The Mirror last week, a $206,000 government investment will see the construction of an automated weather station on the Pridham property, one of 652 such weather stations in Australia – 85 in Victoria.
The weather station, which will measure ten metres in height and should be up and running by November, is expected to be of huge benefit to farmers, fishermen, recreational boaters and tourist operators who currently have to rely on data from weather stations located many kilometres away at Pound Creek and Yarram.
“Because there is no local Bureau of Meteorology data or automated weather station in the district, local farmers, fishermen, recreational boaters and tourist operators are forced to make their own weather predictions and weather-related business decisions,” Mr Ryan said.
“The new automated weather station will provide consistent, reliable, locally-based weather data and forecasts that will allow local farmers to make well informed decisions about everything from calving, lambing and herd management, to spraying and sowing.”
Mr Ryan said that a recent report from the Department of Primary Industries indicated the benefit of the project to the Lower Tarwin district could be more than $8.3 million in reduced loss and increased income.
The Lower Tarwin District Advancing Country Towns project will provide $156,000 towards the project, with a further $20,000 to be provided through the government’s Recreational Fishing Initiative and $30,000 via a Marine Safety Grant.
Mr Ryan also announced funding of $23,600 for a training initiative for people working in or hoping to work in the farming sector in the Lower Tarwin District, which encompasses Venus Bay, Lower Tarwin, Dumbalk and Meeniyan.
As part of this project, Foster Community House will deliver a range of courses, from farm IT skills, land stewardship and soil health, to an introduction to family, aged and disability services, as well as pre-employment training.
A total of around 700 hours of entry-level training will be offered. The courses will be delivered in the smaller communities, so that participants won’t have far to travel.
Mr Ryan said the Lower Tarwin District Advancing Country Towns project would provide $8,600 towards the total project cost, with the remaining $15,000 to be provided by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Foster Community House to provide in-kind support worth $2,000.