Communities tackling drought to receive over $1 million
The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) has awarded $1,454,165 in grants for 41 community-led projects which will help tackle the challenges of drought-affected communities across Australia.
Although some parts of New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia have received substantial rainfall this year, these regions, as well as many other parts of the country, continue to be affected by the long-term impacts of persistent rainfall deficits.
Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead for FRRR Nina O’Brien said, that while it’s no longer on the front pages, the impact of the ongoing drought continues to be a priority for FRRR.
“Despite recent rain in some places, we know the effects of long-term rainfall deficits don’t just disappear,” she said.
“It takes 18 to 24 months of sustained average rainfalls for communities to finally be able to move beyond the immediate impacts of drought.
“Most communities have had nowhere near this amount of rain – and many have had none at all, which is why communities still need support.
“The pandemic has added extra financial strain to communities already dealing with drought, adding to the pressure felt by many local groups, including very fatigued volunteers.
Ms O’Brien said community cohesion plays such an important role in drought recovery and COVID-19 restrictions have only exacerbated the social isolation that many communities have been working hard to tackle.
“In spite of the difficulties, we are inspired by the many local organisations that persistently work to develop the places where they live,” she said.
“These groups are so resilient and continue to find ways to seed and strengthen, adapt and evolve, and innovate and renew their community.
‘They are finding ways to bring their community together and build that social cohesion, whether it be through community events and festivals, making things more accessible for people living with disability, or by repairing and upgrading facilities to create a safe place for locals to gather.”
Through the Tackling Tough Times Together grants program (TTTT), the following areas will receive funding; Chinchilla, Back Plains, Thargomindah, Bollon, Bungunya, Charleville, Proston, Hughenden, Jericho, Goondiwindi, Barcaldine, Monto, Windorah, Alpha, Eumamurrin and Wandoan.
The grants will help create community cohesion and resilience by creating supportive environments, reducing social isolation, and increasing community engagement in remote communities across drought-affected Australia.