Kaniva Lillimur Cemetery Trust is one of many Wimmera community groups to benefit from the Victorian Government’s Drought Response Package.
Crew members from Wimmera Catchment Management Authority’s drought-employment program have completed major improvements at Kaniva Lillimur, Yarrock and Minimay cemeteries, including new paved pathways, tree clearing, pruning, fence repairs, new fencing, weed control and general maintenance.
Sue Holland from Kaniva Lillimur Cemetery Trust said the work had improved the cemeteries significantly and was making a big difference to the many people who visited.
“You’d be surprised at just how many people go to these cemeteries to visit loved ones,” she said.
“We’ve had so many people comment and compliment the work that’s been done. It’s so much easier for people to get around and they have fixed some areas that were quite dangerous in terms of being tripping hazards.”
Ms Holland said cemeteries were often forgotten places, particularly those out of town.
She said volunteer community groups that looked after rural cemeteries were growing smaller, and funding for major work at cemeteries was scarce.
“It means so much to us to have these crew members do all this work at our cemeteries,” she said. “We would never have been able to take on such major projects ourselves. We are extremely grateful for everything they have done, not only at the cemeteries but with all the other community projects they’ve been working on.”
About 30 people are working across the Wimmera on community and environmental projects as part of the drought-employment program, which is providing regular income for farmers, farm workers and farm businesses affected by drought.
Wimmera Drought Employment Program crew co-ordinator Glenn Dixon said it was good to see so many community projects completed through the program, which started in December.
“In our smaller regional communities, a lot of the volunteers around town who do these projects are getting older, so they are limited with the amount of work they are able to do,” he said.
“To have our crew members turn up and do major work such as paving, removing large trees, fencing and landscaping means a lot to these communities. It’s a great program that’s helping support people affected by drought as well as get much-needed work done across our region.”
Crew members work in partnership with councils, Landcare and communities.
The Wimmera Drought Employment Program, funded through the Victorian Government Drought Response Package, has seven crews which will continue working until December.
Drought-employment crews have paved paths at Kaniva Lillimur Cemetery.