Volunteer fence repair project taking off

FENCE DAMAGE: Volunteers from across the country have landed in the region to help with fence repairs. cont
FENCE DAMAGE: Volunteers from across the country have landed in the region to help with fence repairs. cont

A RURAL recovery project launched in the Central Highlands last week to help landholders reinstate essential property fencing is quickly picking up speed and support from organisations and members in the wider community.

The brainchild of Leon Clothier, a grazier and member of the Emerald Rotary Club, the project aims to match willing volunteers from around the country with landholders who need crucial assistance with fence repairs.

“My wife and I own a cattle property and we place an emphasis on good fencing all the time, let alone in a disaster situation, when it becomes even more important,” he said.

“I’m in the Rotary Club and that’s who initially pushed for the idea but the support we’ve had from across the board is just fantastic – we’ve got a lot of legs under us now.

“So far we’ve placed about 80 volunteers, so the system is going great – it’s all working well.”

The program seems to be taking off across the eastern coast, with willing volunteers from Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland descending on the Highlands to lend a hand.

Mr Clothier is so pleased with the outcome, he hopes to spread the program to other regions, with the help of Rotary.

“The program has worked so well that we’re looking to make it available and a reality in other parts of the state,” he said.

“We’re still receiving phone calls now from people and different organisations who want to get involved, so expanding it is something we’d love to do.

He said landholders often had to pinch themselves when they were first contacted about the program.

“They think they’re in seventh heaven because never in their life have they had so many offer them assistance.

“There is this perception in Australia that landowners are big, rough and tough and that they have to fight their battles on their own, and that should not be the case in 2011,” he said.

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