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$730K in grants to prepare rural communities for future drought

2 min read

FRRR has awarded $737,774 in Small Network Grants to 29 not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) working in remote, rural and regional Australia for projects that will strengthen the capacity and capability of their communities to prepare for and be resilient to, the impacts of future droughts. 

The Small Network Grants program is supported by the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund through the Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative. 

Funded projects are diverse, including a Mental Health Forum in Junee, NSW; a series of community connection and education events in Alice Springs, NT; a portable toilet to support small-scale community infrastructure projects in Boonah, QLD; a demonstration day for the new digital weather station and soil probe network in Kingscote, SA; Accidental Counsellor training for the Tasmanian community of Triabunna; a Field Day for local secondary students in Birchip, VIC; and a series of natural resources management and drought education sessions in the Great Southern WA region of Kendenup. 

A full list of recipients and their projects is available on FRRR’s website. 

Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, said strong interest in the program indicates that organisations and local leaders are actively seeking ways to inspire their communities to connect, communicate and strengthen social capital, so they can better withstand the impacts of future drought. 

“Most of the applications we saw in this round of the Small Network Grants program were for projects designed to improve communication, social connection and collaboration within and between communities, as a way of strengthening and preparing for drought.” 

O’Brien added that the Far North West Joint Organisation’s Drought Resilience Community Action Group is a great example of this type of initiative.  

“With a $50,000 grant, the Action Group will help the communities of Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett and Cobar to increase knowledge and resource sharing and promote collaboration, so that the NSW Far West region can be better prepared,” said O’Brien.  

“More than half of the applications we received have never been funded by FRRR. This means we are reaching grassroots organisations and responding to the increased priority around drought preparedness in many remote, rural and regional communities, many of which are still recovering from other climate-related disasters like cyclone and flooding.” 

O’Brien highlighted that they look forward to seeing how these projects help community groups be better connected, informed and resourced in the next drought. 

Applications for Round 2 of Small Network Grants are open now and close 26 March 2024, with recipients announced in June 2024. 

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.


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