THE KEMPSEY community and 10 long term Indigenous job seekers are the winners from a project that is one small yet important part of a Commonwealth program.
For the past six months, the project participants have been in paid work experience in Port Macquarie and at Kempsey.
In the local area, they've been building fencing, rehabilitating the environment and planting trees on some land council acquired - which will be the site of a new waste water treatment plant to service Kempsey and Frederickton.
As a result of that hard yakka, the graduates of the project are now in a better position to gain regular employment in fields such as land conservation.
Wes Trotter, council's manager of Water and Sewer, said the Christmas Creek project was still in the design phase and it would be some time yet before the next legs of construction and finally, operation.
Project coordinator Linda Perkins from BioDiversity Solutions Australia said "they've learnt a lot over the six months - and gained some really diverse experience and skills".
The six-month program involved TAFE study as well as practical work - spread over 20 hours each week.
The program was overseen by BioDiversity Solutions Australia, in partnership with TAFE North Coast, NORTEC and Kempsey and Port councils.
Local Federal MP Pat Conaghan was on hand today to look over the completed project, and reflect on a broader initiative designed to drive employment, economic growth and environmentally sustainable development.
The 'Biodiversity Management and Trading' platform is at its centre.
In a nutshell, it means a developer can buy credits to offset things such as land clearing. These credits can be bought from a landholder who sets aside part of their land for rehabilitation. That land - which is set aside in perpetuity - needs to be improved by things such as weeding, and the return is an ongoing revenue stream.
"This project provides a platform for regional landowners and developers to trade biodiversity credits on the market to meet both sustainability and development goals," Mr Conaghan said.