Volunteers from afar help our flood recovery

WORKING on a farm will be quite the experience for German backpackers Reni Raschke and Sascha Walden, with neither having any experience of the rural -kind.

The couple were part of the first group of volunteers assembled this week for the Queensland Murray Darling Committee's Dirty Gloves program.

The group ventured south on Monday to begin work helping property owners in the Southern Downs clean-up following recent floods.

"I called the Harvest Trail office to see what farm work was available and they said there wasn't a lot around but there was the volunteering," Sascha said.

"We don't really know what to expect. But it's always nice to do something where you meet the locals," Reni said.

Committee chief executive officer Geoff Penton said it was the third year they had banded volunteers together to help flood-stricken farmers.

"Early indications suggest there are more than 100 properties between Warwick and Clifton that need help," Mr Penton said.

"For many farmers this is the fourth major flood event to devastate their livelihood since 2010 and it's no understatement to say some are at breaking point, but that in no way lessens the impact on those farmers who have been flooded for the first time in recent years.

"We can't replace drowned livestock or obliterated crops but we can help farmers restore fences, remove debris, cart rubbish and replant trees to protect their precious soil in the future."

Taiwanese travellers Olivia Chen and Renee Fang also arrived in Toowoomba to join the team, travelling up from Sydney, while experienced Suzanne Vanderdoes also leant her expertise to the group.

Mr Penton said past volunteers were a mixture of locals, travellers and school groups.

"We have an arrangement with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that the work done by travellers can count towards their 84 days which goes toward getting a work visa for a second year," he said.

The call is now out for any other willing volunteers to lend as little or as much time as they can.

"At this stage we'll run the program until June. We'd like to get to everyone we can," Mr Penton said.

All volunteers are welcome, no experience is necessary and all meals, camping accommodation (as well as powered caravan sites where possible), tools and safety equipment is supplied.

Landowners in need of help can contact the committee's office on 4637 6200 or the Condamine Headwaters Landcare Group on 4661 9909.

Interested volunteers can phone 0427 500 187.

Topics:  flood queensland murray darling committee volunteer

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