$1.5M in grants to drought-ravaged communities

Sixty-one drought-affected communities in rural, regional and remote Australia will be given a boost, with the latest distributions from the Tackling Tough Times Together grant program valued at over $1.5 million.

The majority of grants support projects that help to build local community resilience while residents endure the drought, by investing in infrastructure and equipment.

Successful applications were received from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia across communities ranging in population from a tiny 80 in Kyancutta, SA to nearly 24,000 in Griffith, NSW.

The grants, which are distributed by Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), are funded through the collaboration of more than 15 donors from government, philanthropy, business and individuals, including the Australian Government which committed $15M to be distributed over three years.

The majority of grants are up to $20,000, which reinforces FRRR's experience of small grants making a big difference to rural communities, while eight projects range between $30,000 and $60,000. Three large-scale projects will be funded over three years up to $150,000.

FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton, says that many of the projects were about improving spaces that bring communities and visitors together, like public amenities for community halls and kitchen upgrades.

"It's often the little things that make a really tangible difference and have a ripple effect," Ms Egleton said.

"What we've seen in this round is a focus on making spaces that little bit more comfortable, safe, accessible and importantly functional, which makes a difference to the time spent using the facility because it makes the spaces more inviting."

"Additionally, these updates to facilities assist in combating volunteer fatigue. The result is that these communities can now create more opportunities for the future and when you're experiencing a disaster such as a prolonged drought, it's vitally important that you can look ahead with optimism."

SA grant recipients include initiatives that:-

  • Develop organisational resilience, support community infrastructure and promote individual and community health, and social wellbeing by supporting South Australia's Booleroo Centre and Districts Lions Club to purchase a modern all-purpose catering van.
  • Enhance a popular local attraction and help encourage tourism by creating a shelter at the Murray Memorial Park Wirrabara Silo site in South Australia, employing local tradesmen.

Groups in drought-affected areas are encouraged to apply for funding for their community to help people come together to tackle the drought.

The cut-off date for the next batch of applications to be considered is 23 July, 2019, but groups can apply at any time.

The full list of projects funded is on FRRR's website, but some of the grants awarded include: