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A Community Development Program Work for the Dole project conducted by Ironbark Aboriginal Corporation at Fogg Dam has supported the protection of boardwalks from wild fires which swept through the area.

Over the past few months, a dedicated group of job seekers have been working in conjunction with Parks and Wildlife Rangers to support the conservation of Fogg Dam and maintenance of facilities.

The partnership has resulted in the job seekers gaining valued training and qualification in construction, chemical handling, and quad bike handling. Practical work skills have been learnt through constructing outdoor benches, installing fencing, managing firebreaks and weed eradication.

The Rangers credit the tireless work of the job seekers in maintaining firebreaks in saving an estimated $2 million in boardwalk infrastructure when wild fires tore through the conservation reserve.

Despite working in high heat and humidity, husband and wife job seekers, Ian Panchaud and Trudi Seagrott, said their experience has had a positive impact on their lives. “We are learning all sorts of skills and improving our knowledge. I never realised conservation and land management can take you in many directions and open up opportunities for employment”, noted Ian.

Trudi enjoys the community aspect of the work they have been undertaking. “We’ve got some knowledge and we are contributing, while learning so much more. I feel like I am able to give back to the community and am really happy with the improvements we are making for the general public to enjoy.”

The activity is one of a range of activities conducted by Ironbark Aboriginal Corporation that are developing skills and work experience of program participants and providing direct benefit to the communities within the region.