Expert advice for community crisis

THE Mary Valley is this week host to a man who has helped in the rebuilding and development of more than 1000 communities across Australia and overseas.

Peter Kenyon was invited to the Mary district by the Mary Valley Renewal Team, which formed last November when federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett rejected the dam.

The team includes Local Government representatives, community members and environment groups.

Mr Kenyon will be the special guest at a $10 a head business breakfast at Kandanga Bowls Club this morning, after a meeting with residents at Kandanga Hall last night and an extensive (and intensive) tour of the area yesterday.

Renewal team members led him on a busy journey yesterday to hear from people throughout the Valley, including in areas such as Dagun and Amamoor which, though deeply affected in many ways by the proposal, were not directly in the dam's inundation area.

“Everyone felt for others in our community,” one Dagun resident told Mr Kenyon when he visited the tiny village's social centre, the beautifully restored Dagun Railway Station.

Imbil grazier Ron McMah told Mr Kenyon the Valley needed to see long term benefits from government spending and that meant more than paying wages for temporary community groups.

He suggested allowing grazing operators to cut off fertile and viable small crop acreages, to boost population, provide a customer base for agricultural co-operatives and give graziers money to spend on local contractors.

Mr Kenyon also visited Federal, Carters Ridge and Imbil during his hectic tour.

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