Thursday, February 29, 2024

Drought resilience funding program for councils expands

An additional 13 consortia of NSW councils have been awarded grants under Round Two of the Future Drought Fund’s Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program, expanding the network of communities developing strategies to respond to drought risk.

Federal Acting Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Madeleine King said the Program has expanded in NSW to support a total of 25 council groups, in partnership with other regional stakeholders.

“This program aims to empower ag regions to create meaningful drought-resilience plans tailored to their individual needs and circumstances, informed by data, communities, farmers, and industry,” Minister King said.

“Our rural communities are once again experiencing the impacts of hotter, drier conditions so it’s vital they’re equipped with the right tools to be more resilient to drought, and to bounce back quicker.”

Minister for Regional NSW, Tara Moriarty said the expanded program in NSW aimed to help agricultural communities forward-plan to prepare for inevitable periods of reduced rainfall.

“The beauty of this program is it acknowledges each region in NSW is different and requires a tailor-made approach to drought preparedness to be truly effective. Having community-led Regional Drought Resilience Plans will help set them up for success,” she said.

With drought conditions intensifying in NSW, Ms Moriarty announced in Broken Hill today the latest NSW regions to receive support under Round Two of the funding program.

“The footprint of this program has grown to include 25 council groups made up of 65 councils and regional areas, working in partnership with other regional stakeholders, to build stronger economic, community and environmental outcomes for their wider region when drought hits,” Ms Moriarty said.

“Future droughts are likely to be more frequent and intense across NSW, so we need to continue to invest in preparing our communities.

“This initiative is forward-planning that puts people first. It allows communities to prepare for drought and hotter, drier conditions by finding solutions that benefit their unique needs.”

She said the program aims to identify actions, pathways and opportunities to improve regional drought resilience, and put regional NSW communities in a stronger position to adapt to change and mitigate the impacts of drought.

“We are already seeing some practical, community-led solutions being proposed by participating regions.”

“Draft plans submitted by regions as part of Round One of the program include mental health training to support community members during drought, education campaigns to help reduce water consumption and multi-purpose spaces to provide relief during heatwaves.”

The Federal and NSW Governments have together contributed more than $20.5 million to deliver the Regional Drought Resilience Planning Program in NSW.

Under the program, funding is available to regions with finalised plans to kick-start implementation of actions identified in drought resilience plans.

Council groups endorsed for Round 2 funding:

  • Parkes Shire Council, Forbes Shire Council and Lachlan Shire Council
  • Orange City Council, Cabonne Council, Cowra Shire Council, Blayney Shire Council and Weddin Shire Council
  • Goulburn Mulwaree Council and Wingecarribee Shire Council
  • Central Darling Shire Council, Broken Hill City Council, and Unincorporated NSW (Far West area)
  • Liverpool Plains Shire Council and Gunnedah Shire Council
  • Narrandera Shire Council, Griffith City Council, Leeton Shire Council and Murrumbidgee Shire Council
  • Glen Innes Severn Council and Tenterfield Shire Council
  • Wagga Wagga City Council and Lockhart Shire Council
  • Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, Snowy Monaro Regional Council and Yass Valley Council
  • Hay Shire Council and Carrathool Shire Council
  • Dubbo Regional Council and Narromine Shire Council
  • Singleton Council, Muswellbrook Shire Council and Upper Hunter Shire Council
  • Armidale Regional Council and Uralla Shire Council

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