MIGHTY EFFORT: Rochelle Gooch and her team weeding the entrance to Peregian Beach
MIGHTY EFFORT: Rochelle Gooch and her team weeding the entrance to Peregian Beach Peter Gardiner

Support pledge from council for bush care

VOLUNTEER weed-busting start-up groups have been assured of extra Noosa Council assistance by councillors and environmental staff.

The council last night at its ordinary meeting was set to endorse a Monday move to extend the number of bush care working bee visits by council support staff beyond a previously recommended maximum of four. This would be on an "as required” basis.

Councillor Joe Jurisevic said he found this suggested cut-out to be "a little limiting and lacking in consideration for newer groups”.

Environmental services manager Craig Doolan assured him that when new groups came on board, the council applied enough resources until they were established and had the bushland care skills required.

He said the Noosa bushland carers undertook about 300 working bees each year.

"We don't limit the number of working bees,” Mr Doolan said.

Officers attend working bees primarily to ensure workplace health and safety and correct training.

Mr Doolan said possibly just two or three volunteer groups would require extra council support and within these groups some volunteers had very high skill sets.

"We're going to continue to support those groups until we're comfortable and they're comfortable at four visits a year,” he said.

Mayor Tony Wellington said these bushland groups played "a very important role in the Noosa Shire”.

"They have a very significant impact obviously on the natural environment and, more broadly, their work obviously improves and benefits the entire look and feel of Noosa and its environs,” he said.

He said there was also the social well-being capital built up from actually volunteering.

"We recognise that bush care workers, whilst they do require some resources from council, fundamentally are a resource saver.

"In other words, we would have to resource our undertakings in natural areas more thoroughly.”

Cr Frank Pardon said the care of the shire's natural areas was a "huge undertaking” with thousands of weed infestations and "without groups like the bush care groups as volunteers our maintenance bill would be huge”.

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