Prisoners could be drafted in to help with the harvest.
Prisoners could be drafted in to help with the harvest. File

Prisoners may help clean up

GANGS of prisoners could be used to help in the post-flood clean-up of cane farms as the crush carries on.

Canegrowers Isis manager Wayne Stanley said stakeholders in the industry had a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the situation.

The issue focuses on debris that was washed on to cane fields during the January flood.

Mr Stanley said a cane harvester swallowed a wheel from a four-wheel drive last week.

"Some paddocks have had all sorts of debris float in," he said.

Flood debris including gas bottles, stoves and washing machines had been washed on to some cane fields.

Workers are needed to identify and help remove the debris before the harvest.

"Because the crop is fully grown we can't walk over the whole paddock," Mr Stanley said.

Workers are required to walk the affected paddocks one row at a time to check for damaging debris and help remove it.

As each row is cleared it will be harvested and the workers will walk to next row.

Mr Stanley said another meeting would be held on July 29 to reassess the situation.

But he said four Isis growers had already put up their hands asking for help to remove debris.

There were 10-20ha of paddock on each farm that would need to be inspected.

Mr Stanley said prisoners, who have already been used to help out in the Maryborough area, were not the first option under consideration.

"The Job Network people believe they have enough people in their system to do the work," he said.

But if prisoners were needed to make up the numbers they would be considered.

Mr Stanley said the main problem with prisoners was that they could not be taken back to the Maryborough Correctional Centre every evening, and would need accommodation in or around Bundaberg.



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