QMDC’s ‘Dirty Gloves’ wins award for flood recovery

The Queensland Murray-Darling Committee’s ‘Dirty Gloves’ Flood Recovery program has won the Peabody Environment and Landcare Award at this year’s Queensland Regional Achievement and Community Awards. 

The award recognised a group, business, individual or organisation educating their community and showcasing their dedication to preserving the environment.

The ‘Dirty Gloves’ program was launched in January this year in the wake of flood events generated by Cyclone Oswald and over the next six months, recruited 115 volunteers to work on 123 properties and help over 200 local farmers and community members get back on their feet.

Attracting volunteers from around the globe, the program ran seven-days-a-week and helped with the recovery of many hundreds of hectares of sensitive riparian zones within the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin.

The volunteers, many of whom were backpackers who gave on average three months of their time, also worked on a number of Toowoomba’s parks and reserves when it was too wet to get on farm.

Queensland Murray-Darling Committee CEO Geoff Penton said the award was unexpected but welcome recognition for a program which the organisation has been running for the past three years in response to flood events in the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin.

“We have worked very hard over the past few years and used our own resources to provide an immediate response to hundreds of farmers, many of whom were suffering mentally and physically from repeated flood damage to their properties,” Mr Penton said.

“Having a willing band of energetic and enthusiastic volunteers arrive on farm with tools in hand was a terrific boost to morale and a big motivation for farmers to clear debris, salvage and restore fences and get back into full production.

“While we hope the program won’t be needed again anytime soon, we are looking at ways of setting up a permanent program that would make volunteers available to assist producers with natural resource management and Landcare activities,” he said.

The Queensland Regional Achievement and Community Awards was presented by Channel 7 Queensland and supported by the Commonwealth Bank. The Awards are proudly supported by Queensland Country Life and Angove Family Winemakers.

The Queensland Murray-Darling Committee is a natural resource management organisation that supports communities within the Queensland Murray-Darling Basin to sustainably manage their natural resources. Visit www.qmdc.org.au for more information.