Seventeen members of the Green Army put down their work tools last week and instead picked up graduation certificates, acknowledging their roles with Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) over the past five months.
In an official ceremony, held in Toowoomba’s Laurel Bank Park, Member for Toowoomba North Kerry Shine and TRC Mayor Peter Taylor praised the program that is seen as a pivotal support for helping unemployed individuals get back into the workforce.
“The Green Army concept is a genuine win/win for council and the participants,” Cr Taylor said. “As an organisation, we have more people on the ground attending to the maintenance and beautification of our region. On the other side of the coin, these participants gain valuable experience and skills during the program, which they can use to secure full-time employment.
“These participants have taken an active role in the control and eradication of weeds, assisted planting programs and general maintenance work including the use of mowers and whipper snippers,” Cr Taylor said. “Their efforts make a big difference, in particular helping with the enormous workloads undertaken by all our crews as a result of the January floods.”
Environmental and Community Services portfolio leader Cr Bill Cahill said two separate groups had been involved in TRC work following the devastation of the floods. He said the disaster had brought a desperate need for coordinated clean-up efforts and a team of participants worked specifically on a number of flood-related projects including debris removal, infrastructure repairs, reconstructing tracks, reinstating garden beds and pothole repair.
“They worked in areas that included Highfields Falls, Peacehaven Park, Hartman’s Walk Crows Nest, Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery, Jubilee Park, East, West and Gowrie creeks as well as the Waterbird Habitat,” Cr Cahill said.
He said participants were rotated through council’s Construction and Maintenance crews to gain extra skills and hands-on practical experience. “Both crews were also given the opportunity to obtain chainsaw tickets.”
“The Green Army program has given these participants a valuable addition to their resumes and no doubt has strengthened employment opportunities for many of them,” Cr Cahill said.