Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and deputy prime minister Michael McCormack
Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and deputy prime minister Michael McCormack

Government announces over $1m for drought-affected towns

THE Federal Government has announced more than $1.1 million in funding for more than 30 projects to help get drought-affected communities back on their feet.

Deputy Prime Minister and minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development Michael McCormack said the latest tranche of funding, under the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal’s Tackling Tough Times Together program came at a significant time for regional Australia.

“While COVID-19 has been front of mind, we know drought continues to be a key concern for many of our regional communities,” he said.

“Our $15 million funding assistance to the Tackling Tough Times Together program has already supported hundreds of projects run by local groups in drought-affected regional communities.

“These projects build social cohesion, reduce social isolation, develop local capacity and leadership skills, address disadvantage, stimulate economic activity and can increase educational participation.

Mr McCormack said the resilience that regional Australians have shown during the challenges of 2020 has been “remarkable”.

“Through drought, bushfire and now COVID-19, The Nationals continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our regional communities to ensure they bounce back stronger than ever,” he said.

Minister for agriculture, drought and emergency management David Littleproud said projects supported through the program help families and businesses in regional communities cope with the stress of the drought while stimulating economy activity and renewing local infrastructure.

“Many projects funded this round will help reduce volunteer fatigue, enhance social participation and upgrade community infrastructure and shared spaces, which are all crucial to drought-affected regional communities,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Projects funded through the program this round include a new skatepark for kids in Condingup, silo art in Paringa, an outdoor pavilion in Moonie and a playground and outdoor space at the Jerilderie Long Day Care to bolster access to locally based childcare services.

“Most of the community organisations receiving funding this round rely on the generous time and effort of volunteers, but have faced significantly reduced volunteering capacities thanks to the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19.

“That is why we are proud to continue supporting the Foundation’s important work at such a critical time, backing these local groups and their projects that will stimulate regional economies and strengthen social connections in drought-affected communities.

“With money already flowing through rolling grants as part of our more than $8 billion drought support package, we are doing what it takes to help regional communities through these extremely difficult and stressful times.

“I encourage all eligible community groups to apply for the ongoing funding available under the Tackling Tough Times Together program to make their much-needed initiatives a reality.”

More information on the Tackling Tough Times Together program and the latest round of recipients can be found on the Foundation’s website here.


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