CREEK: We are in the middle of the picking season now and hopefully we will pick right through to September.
BOWEN: I think it’s the best thing that ever came to Hope Vale
REID: Some of the younger fellas are doing up to sixty hours a wee,k working Saturdays and Sundays, that’s unheard of.
The peoples enthusiasm towards the farm and what’s actually happening is great, the focus is to become financially viable as a farm, stand-alone without funding which as far as I know is one of the first in the horticultural industry within Aboriginal communities.
Through the employment creates responsibilities and the responsibilities get projected onto the kids and it’s a generational change. It’s not just about this project here and now it’s about future.
CREEK: It’s a great opportunity for the whole community as well, I think it was one of my first full time employment I got living in Hope Vale here.
BOWEN: Employment for not just for us who are working here now but others who are in the near future, and the younger generations.
REID: The saying is Hope Vale goes bananas, but they are definitely not going bananas but they are growing them, so it’s great
I can’t emphasise enough the importance of this project and what it brings as different as anything else that has ever happened within the community and the spirit that it brings to the community is great.
Hope Vale goes bananas
The small Aboriginal community of Hope Vale in Far North Queensland is now home to an 80 hectare banana plantation, a new agricultural business that is providing 40 fulltime jobs and casual work for a number of locals.
In 2012, workers completed the first stage of the plantation with 16,800 banana plants across 20 hectares. Training and industry qualifications were also made available through CDEP to locals to construct the 302 mega-litre irrigation dam that supports the banana farm.
Manager of the Hope Vale Banana Farm, Kenny Reid, said that opening up new opportunities had created generational change for the kids of Hope Vale, and some of the younger employees are keen to work longer hours.
“The people’s enthusiasm towards the farm and what’s actually happening is great, the focus is to become financially viable as a farm, stand-alone without funding which as far as I know is one of the first in the horticultural industry within Aboriginal communities,” he said.
Members of the community say the banana farm is the best thing that’s ever happened to Hope Vale.
“It’s a great opportunity for the whole community as well, I think it was the first full time employment I got living in Hope Vale here,” farm employee Damian Creek said.
The Hope Vale Banana Farm has created many jobs for local people and has helped lift community spirit in the region.