GrainCorp teams across New South Wales and Victoria have stepped off the sites and into their local towns this week to support flood prevention and recovery efforts.
Extensive rainfall across the east coast of Australia has not dampened community spirit in regional towns, and our people have pitched in to help relocate residents, protect property and clean up impacted houses.
Moree, NSW: Lending a hand to the clean up
As the flood waters began to recede in Moree this week, the community covered in mud was left waiting for the similarly inundated emergency services to assist with the clean up.
Huss Cam, GrainCorp’s Site Manager at Moree, sprang into action.
He and his team rallied GrainCorp people from surrounding sites in North Star, Croppa Creek and Gurley to join the flood recovery efforts.
Shovels and brooms, pressure washers and pumps were thrown into the back of utes and into trucks to try and turn the tragedy around.
In efforts that mirrored the team’s clean-up efforts in March 2021, Huss says the team worked for 10 hours straight, cleaning up too many houses to count and being ‘humbled’ by the experience.
“We were helping to pump water, remove wet furniture and carpets and generally sweeping houses out,” he says.
“It was a privilege to be out in the community helping those that needed it. We went door knocking to let people know we were there to help and received quite an emotional response from many.
“We’ve got harvest casuals from South Korea, Indonesia and Chile in our team, so it was quite the experience for them – including seeing fish swimming down the main street – but they really got stuck in,” he adds.
“I am proud of the hard work our team has put into the clean-up efforts and it was great to be able to put a smile on some of the faces we met.”
Charlton, VIC: Protecting the town and its people
As the Avoca River neared its peak following extensive rainfall in the region, the Charlton community began preparing for the worst – with the local GrainCorp team leading the charge.
With memories of the disastrous 2011 floods still clear in many minds, Southern Mallee Area Manager Phil Duynhoven wasted no time assembling staff from Charlton, Donald and Warracknabeal to ensure the Charlton site was ready.
“In the 2011 floods, water poured into the Charlton silos, ruining stock and resulting in a massive task to get the silo complex operating again,” says Phil.
“This year, if the water entered the silos, it would render them unfit for harvest, and we were determined not to let that happen.Phil Duynhoven
“Trucks, trailers and utes – we brought them all to Charlton and loaded them with harvest critical items, ‘draining’ the site of everything.
“Meanwhile, maintenance got to work putting in a levee around the silo complex to ensure it was protected.”
Phil adds: “I camped in my truck for four days on high ground to monitor the site and flood levels, ready to man the pump at the silos.”
But the team didn’t stop there: Once the site was secure, they banded together to help residents and the broader Charlton community.
Charlton Site Manager Tim Smyth’s Dad, whose house flooded in 2011, was one of those residents.
The team stripped his house of furniture and personal belongings and helped him relocate to higher ground.
“Everyone pitched in and came together to help my old man and we couldn’t be more grateful for their support,” says Tim.
“When things like this happen, our people stick together – and it makes me very proud to work at GrainCorp.”
Meanwhile, the rest of the team took turns building levees or filling drains around town with gravel from our site to prevent further flooding.
“There has been reports from people in the community that these works probably saved the town from at least 30 more centimetres of water,” Phil says.
“While we may have escaped the worst, we’re closely watching the skies still and thinking of everyone else across the State who has been affected.”
Clean-up efforts in Moree community