New grants available to keep rural communities connected

Media releases: 1 March 2023

Community groups and NFPs can apply for up to $10,000

FRRR has announced the opening of the first round of Telstra’s Connected Communities Grant Program.

The aim of the program is to boost remote, rural and regional communities resilience, environmental sustainability and liveability.

IMAGE: Group of people standing in front of fence. PROGRAM: Telstra’s Connected Communities Grant Program.

Telstra has committed to funding this grant program until 2025. The annual commitment of $200,000 will make grants up to $10,000 available for not-for-profit community organisations that provide access to information, technology, education and facilities for the purpose of building both social capital and digital capability.

The new program has three goals. To foster:

  • Resilient communities that are well prepared and socially connected when disaster strikes with the ability to renew and recover together;
  • Sustainable communities that are diverse and inclusive, planning for the health, wellbeing, and prosperity of their people and the planet; and
  • Liveable communities that have digital capability and help to equip individuals with the skills to live, learn and work in a digital society.

Loretta Willaton, Regional Australia Executive and Regional Customer Advocate at Telstra said the program is all about keeping people connected in a range of ways, both online and offline.

“At Telstra, we know how important it is to keep people connected. The last few years in particular have shown everyone the importance of connectedness within our communities. Rural and regional Australia has been doing it particularly tough in recent years and so we wanted to do our part in helping the country to rebuild.

“Obviously one of the best ways to keep people connected is through technology and digital equipment but we know access, understanding and management of these tools can be a barrier. We’ve designed this program to create opportunities for a wide range of projects to address these barriers such as a local event, an educational workshop or not for profit organisations embracing new technology or managing cyber security. We are open to support any kind of initiative that gives people better access to information that will enable a stronger social network, safer online interactions, or access to information for disaster preparedness or environmental sustainability,” Ms Willaton said.

FRRR’s Acting CEO, Sarah Matthee, said that programs like these, help people to maintain their connection to their community and play a key role in many different aspects of life in remote, rural and regional Australia.

“We’re excited to launch the first round of this new program in partnership with Telstra. Our Heartbeat study highlighted a significant digital divide for remote, rural and regional not-for-profit organisations, particularly when it comes to accessing digital resources and the opportunity to improve knowledge and skills to harness technology to maintain and create connections. We know that these connections are so important in strengthening each community’s ability to withstand future disruptions and maximise sustainability and liveability.

“We’re looking forward to applications from community groups that are facilitating local events and community programs that support local communities learning and adapting to change – be it accessing information for disaster preparedness or better environmental practices, implementing better e-waste solutions, boosting cyber-security, and much more” Ms Matthee said.

Applications close Thursday, 30 March 2023 at 5pm AEDT. For more information and the guidelines, visit

Potential applicants are encouraged to sign up for an online Grantseeker Webinar for more information about the program and useful tips for applying at 12pm AEDT, Monday 6 March.