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Grants initiative to help prepare for drought

By Dylan J. Stone

Individuals and organisations are being urged to apply for funding under the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund, which has $29.6m available for regional communities over the next two years.

The Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative seeks to help agriculture-dependent communities in regions across remote, rural and regional Australia that are vulnerable to the impacts of drought become more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought.

It’s part funding initiative – there are grants between $200,000 and $500,000 available – and support packages, including mentoring.

Michael Williams, CEO of Regional Development Australia – Far West NSW, said, “if history tells us anything, it’s that we can expect another drought in the future and developing strategies and programs now that support resilience and provide opportunities to support those most impacted is very welcomed.”

The funding will allow communities to identify and act on their drought preparedness priorities at a grassroots level to strengthen social and community networking, support, engagement and wellbeing.

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The funding and support is in five distinct parts:

  • Grants
  • Access to leadership activities
  • Access to expertise to support community-led activities
  • Specific networking opportunities
  • Mentoring support

The initiative has been designed by both the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) and the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, which means both organisations will take the lead on different components.

The first tranche of the initiative is the Community Impact Program, which awards grants of between $200,000 and $500,000, as well as a range of leadership activities tailored to local community needs.

FRRR says the program is available in 35 regions, including the Broken Hill and Central Darling Shire Local Government Areas, and expressions of interest are due by 5pm AEST on September 26.

Mr Williams commended the announcement of this new initiative ‘is a great opportunity for Far West NSW to develop strategies that meet the specific needs of our region and I encourage eligible organisations and local government areas to apply for funding, think broadly and be innovative to ensure when we next go into drought we are as prepared as possible.’

Picture: Michael Williams from RDA Far West

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