Goondiwindi Regional Councillors have headed west, to Talwood.
One of the many subjects discussed was a request by Manpower Group (no, not that Manpower. It’s an employment agency) for GRC to allow seasonal workers to stay in caravans at the Talwood Recreation Centre.
“There’s a big harvest on the way, if there’s some rain in the next few weeks, and these people employ temporary workers (there will be a need),” GRC Mayor, Cr Graeme Scheu said at a recent meeting.
However there have been some concerns.
“We were a bit taken aback that the owner of the shop and the pub, who are the ones who might get a bit of a benefit from an increase in customers weren’t that keen on the idea.
“They were the ones who raised public nuisance as a factor,” said Cr Scheu.
The suggestion was that Manpower Group employees stay instead at the Old Gilgai Homestead.
“There’s power and water, and on-site effluent, and they could run a courtesy bus.”
“We went out and what we learned was completely different to what we thought before we went,” said CEO Carl Manton.
“We definitely support harvest.
“We need to try to do the right thing here,” said Cr Lori Mackay.
“There is a major problem with putting itinerant workers anywhere,” Cr Scheu said.
“One thing we learned was you get more talking to people one-on-one than in public meetings. People get intimidated, sometimes. Don’t want to say the wrong thing,” he said.
Itinerant workers were one thing, but grey nomads and travellers were another.
GRC decided to allow them to stay at the Recreation Grounds for 72 hours. Previously, they had only been allowed to stay for one night.
It was suggested an Honesty Box be put at the shop for those who wished to donate some money to local schools, which led to a long, long discussion about who was going to police it, who would collect it, who would divide it and should it be used to help pay for the power. In the end, it was decided to leave a box at the shop.