Thanks to $1 million in Drought Communities Programme funding from the Australian Government, Break O’Day Council in the north of Tasmania’s east coast has begun work on a variety of projects in the Fingal Valley to activate employment and boost economic opportunities.
With a strong focus on agriculture, the Fingal Valley has been impacted by drought conditions, with not just farmers but the entire community feeling the pinch.
The Drought Communities Programme aims to support local infrastructure projects that stimulate community spending, increase tourism, use local resources and provide a lasting benefit to residents and the agricultural industries on which they depend.
With these guidelines in mind, Break O’Day Council started by looking at projects that had been brought forward by the Fingal community. They also advertised for local employees to undertake the construction work.
Through this process, the Council identified several walking tracks that needed to be upgraded, amongst other infrastructure projects.
“This drought funding will make such a difference to the Break O’Day area, particularly the Fingal Valley,” Mayor Mick Tucker said.
“Not only are we creating short-term employment and the opportunity for skill development, we are able to provide much needed infrastructure to the community that they have been asking for.
“Best of all, we have selected projects that will provide visitors with more reasons to stop and enjoy the beautiful Fingal Valley.”
Break O’Day Council is working in partnership with Parks and Wildlife on some of the trail projects including Mathinna Falls, Gray Mares Tail Falls and the St Patricks Head tracks. Once these projects are completed, the striking trails will be more easily accessible for both locals and tourists.
With the extra funding, the Council also reviewed their Local Township Plans and included infrastructure projects like a bus shelter at Mathinna, a shelter at Fingal Park, the revitalisation of St Marys Cemetery and streetscape works in Fingal. Many of these projects had been on the Council’s wish list for some time and the Drought Communities Programme has allowed the Council to move them up the timeline.
Through these projects, six full-time positions were created for a period of 20 weeks, with local contractors and businesses receiving first priority.
On 28 January 2020, Break O’Day became eligible for another round of Drought Communities Programme funding. The Council is now in the process of applying so it can continue providing opportunities for the Fingal Valley community.
Break O'Day Council staff David Jolly, Wayne Polden, Jake Ihnen, John Brown and John McGiveron meet with Coordinator-General Shane Stone, Advisory Board Member David Galvin and Assistant Director Drought Policy Mike Darby