Regional organisations throughout the NSW regions of the Murray and North West will receive more than $600,000 for projects that will grow the capacity and resilience of their agriculture-dependent communities preparing for the impacts of future drought.
The funding is part of a $3.7m national boost from the Foundation for Rural Regional Renewal (FRRR) and the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF). It's the second stage of funding delivered through the drought fund's 'community impact initiative.'
The Murray and regional North West are just two of 11 regions sharing the funding; which aims to deliver a range of projects, events, initiatives, training, capability building and small-scale community infrastructure projects to assist local people prepare for future droughts.
Each region will be allocated a facilitator to support the lead community partner in engaging and communicating with key stakeholders, helping identify investments that are already happening locally and ensuring that the projects align with the community's preparedness priorities.
Nina O'Brien, disaster resilience and recovery lead for FRRR, said she's impressed by the fortitude and adaptability of rural people and their willingness to learn and share innovative ways to build drought resilience.
"The collaborative nature of the community impact program has been well received by local groups. They have really stepped up, coming together to shape local solutions to increase understanding and provide practical solutions to increasing drought preparedness that make sense at a local community level," Ms O'Brien said.
"With the Australian government's support, these grants will create opportunities for these agriculture-dependent communities to increase social connection, strengthen network opportunities and identify and adopt innovative and transformative ways to build drought resilience.
"We look forward to seeing the impacts of these projects, as they roll out over the next two years."
As part of the program, each region can access ARLF leadership development activities.
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ARLF Chief Executive, Matt Linnegar, says the leadership development supports the delivery of local projects and yields long-term benefits for the regions.
"We know that a multimodal approach of leadership development increases the impact the investments have in each region. In addition to the project funding, these leadership development activities build social capital required to support the project and people in each region," Mr Linnegar said.
"We get to connect local networks, create a deeper sense of shared purpose and develop capability that helps people to take action and address challenges and make the most of opportunities."
Participants also gain access to the wider alumni network of the ARLF.
"It's these connections that prove invaluable to people. When they're stuck, there's someone to ask for advice," Mr Linnegar explained.
There will also be small grants on offer in areas that aren't covered by these community impact program grants, which will open early next year.