Tambellup Community Cropping Group pledges $150K for short-term accommodation for farm workers
The hard work of a tight-knit farming community in the Great Southern to get accommodation in town is set to become a reality, with the i’s being dotted and t’s crossed for a new caravan park.
A community bus and electronic sign for community events and emergency messaging are also in the works.
Early next year, Tambellup will be home to three self-contained units, caravan bays and ablution blocks as part of a partnership between the Tambellup Community Cropping Group and Broomehill-Tambellup shire.
The TCCG has pledged $150,000 to the cause, which president and local farmer Neil Letter said was something they had been working towards for many years.
“There’s not really anywhere in town for people like contractors to stay, seasonal workers, road working contractors, even people with family if they are having a function and relatives are coming down or the local bowling classic.
“We have to source more and more labour through contractors, so we just want something they can stay at.”
At this stage, three units are planned, with space left for more if they are well received and the group committed to funding more down the track.
Mr Letter said their hope was for the caravan park to be built alongside the local 124 Deli, which the local co-operative purchased four years ago, with contributions from the community crop.
“That works well because then there’s meals there as well,” Mr Letter said.
Since being established in 2013, the TCCG has planted more than 1000ha of crop to raise money for various community projects, including the Tambellup Community Pavilion, and supporting local sporting groups, the co-operative and CWA.
The group last year secured two neighbouring blocks — one 220ha and the other 40ha — for their crop, hosting a busy bee where 70 volunteers came along to clean it up and get seeding done.
“We had six excavators, 12 tractors, a few trucks and a grader,” Mr Letter said.
“We turned five paddocks into one and cleared paddock rocks and some trees just to make it easier for when people came to volunteer to seed or spray.”
The 40ha block they secured is actually the original “Tambeleerup,” where the town was first settled and has a pioneer grave in the paddock.
Putting canola in last season to take advantage of the soil moisture and high prices, Mr Letter said they yielded 2.3t/ha, which would cover their lease payment for a few years.
This season’s wheat crop is also looking healthy after generous winter rainfall.
“We’re really happy with it,” Mr Letter said. “We got it in with beautiful conditions, and it’s just kept ticking away nicely.”
The crop is not only made possible by the farmers who plant and harvest it, but local businesses and community members which donate inputs and volunteer throughout the year.
Once the cabins were built, Mr Letter said it would be great for all those who had contributed to see where their money was going and what they had helped achieve.
On top of the accommodation, the group has also committed funds towards an electronic sign in town, to display local events, tourism information and emergency messages.
They are also consulting with community stakeholders including Broomehill and Tambellup Primary Schools, the Tambellup Aboriginal Progress Association, and the Shire to purchase a community bus.
“Our whole community would benefit from having access to a bus,” Tambellup Primary School principal Cindy Veitch said.
“Having access to a bus opens a plethora of educational opportunities for our students and wider community”.
TCCG committee member Freya Spencer said the crop was an “enormous volunteer effort” between the local community, industry and government and they were grateful to everyone who had contributed to the cause in the past decade.
“The Tambellup Community Cropping Group shows what true community spirit looks like and what it can achieve,” she said.
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