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Work for the Dole working to reduce bushfire risk.

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20 November 2003

Work for the Dole working to reduce bushfire risk

A South Australian Work for the Dole project is helping to reduce the bushfire risk in the Adelaide Hills by removing highly flammable olive trees that have spread like wildfire.

In the first six months of the project, nearly two-thirds of the 15 participants have found jobs. Their positions are being filled by new team members.

At least 30 job seekers were originally scheduled to be involved in the 12-month Lynton Bushfire Mitigation Program. But this figure is likely to wind up being much higher, given many of the participants are finding jobs in the meantime.

This clearly contradicts claims in today’s media about the effectiveness of the program. Lynton Work for the Dole team members are receiving skills training in horticulture and, importantly, can demonstrate to employers their strong work ethic.

Thousands of olive trees and shrubs are being removed from an area near the Mitcham Council Depot at Lynton, which lies in bushland below Belair in the Adelaide foothills. Residents of nearby houses are extremely pleased to have this threat reduced.

Adelaide has already had a taste of searing temperatures and summer is less than a fortnight away, so the removal of a fire hazard is a highly important community project.

I was therefore pleased to recently inspect the Lynton Work for the Dole project.

Earlier this year, I wrote a submission to the National Bushfire Inquiry warning of the danger that woody weeds such as olive trees pose in the Adelaide Hills.

In 1997 the Howard Government introduced Work for the Dole against the opposition of both Labor and the Democrats.

The Lynton project is being coordinated by Employ SA in conjunction with the City of Mitcham.

Media contact: John Deller on 8374 0511

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