The Federal Government is investing more than $811,000 in 52 local-led projects across Australia, which are set to improve sustainability, liveability and resilience in regional, rural and remote communities. 

Delivered through the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal’s (FRRR) Strengthening Rural Communities program, grants of up to $50,000 will support local organisations to uplift their communities, following significant disruption from COVID-19.

From improving equipment and facilities at community hubs, to workshops and education programs that will increase community engagement – these small-scale projects are expected to be high impact, including:

  • In the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, where $50,000 will help establish a network of Young Community Carers and Responders to reduce social isolation and support the wellbeing of young people impacted by COVID-19
  • In Glenmorgan in the Western Downs Region of Queensland, where $46,432 will support the installation of a solar system at the community owned Glenmorgan store to reduce its operating costs, along with the construction of an outdoor shaded meeting space to foster community connection
  • In Ensay in Victoria, where $49,750 will support Ensay Hall to develop a welcoming, accessible, and financially sustainable venue for events and activities, along with upgrades to bathroom facilities at the community hub
  • In Lameroo in South Australia, where $50,000 will support the installation of silo art – creating a permanent cultural tourism asset in the heart of town, which will reinvigorate tourism following the pandemic
  • In Boyup Brook in Western Australia, where $10,000 will get a series of mental health events off the ground to support rural men and teenage boys to build resilience and connection following the pandemic
  • In Copping in Tasmania, where $49,540 will support the construction of a distribution and storage shed for bulk food handling, to sustain the work of an organisation facing a 625 per cent increase in demand on their food relief services since the COVID-19 pandemic
  • In East Arnhem in the Northern Territory, where $50,000 will support a commercial kitchen in a remote First Nations community to enhance post-pandemic recovery, improve employment opportunities and provide meals and social connection to vulnerable community members

The funding is part of the Federal Government’s $5 million investment from 2022 to 2024 in the Rebuilding Regional Communities stream of the FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities program.

Applications for the final round of the Rebuilding Regional Communities stream are currently open and will close on 26 February 2024.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King, said that these projects encourage people to get out in their community, engage with different local businesses and try new experiences – which will drive employment and economic opportunities.

“The funding assists locally-led projects to stimulate jobs, wellbeing and the economy in regional, rural and remote communities,” Minister King said. 

Federal Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, Kristy McBain, said that backing local ideas and investing in local priorities results in better outcomes for communities. 

“We’re pleased to deliver over $811,000 towards 52 diverse projects outside of our big cities,” Minister McBain said. 

“Our regional areas are known for their strong sense of community and we’re committed to strengthening this following the COVID-19 disruption, by improving community facilities and getting engaging workshops and education programs off the ground.

“These projects will support regional, rural and remote organisations to expand their services, and are a key part of the Albanese Labor Government’s continued commitment to activating regional economies.”

FRRR Place Portfolio Lead, Jill Karena, said that this round, projects ranged from domestic violence support and mentoring programs, to food security and tourism initiatives to help rebuild the local economy.

“There was really strong demand for support to enhance community infrastructure, particularly maintaining meeting places so people can come together and strengthen local connections,” Ms Karena said. 

“We also saw a focus on infrastructure in the COVID recovery grants, with groups aiming to enhance community resilience in the face of disruptions, whether they be environmental or health related.”

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