Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

Applications are now open for the ANZ Seeds of Renewal program, with grants of up to $15,000 available for not-for-profit organisations in remote, rural and regional areas to support the ongoing prosperity of regional Australia.

Karrkad Kandji Trust Warddeken Rangers on Country
The Karrkad-Kanjdji Trust received a $15,000 Seeds of Renewal grant in 2020 to help fund a network of cameras that look into the prevalence of djabbo (northern quoll) in west Arnhem Land.

The program, which is now in its 21st year, is administered by FRRR, and has provided more than $5.5 million to more than 800 community groups for approximately 900 projects to help build vibrant and sustainable communities.

This year, the ANZ Seeds of Renewal program is again offering a share of $250,000 to community organisations in remote, rural or regional locations for projects aligned to four focus areas:

  • Environmental sustainability: initiatives that restore and conserve the natural environment or which contribute to lower carbon emissions, water stewardship and waste minimisation;
  • Financial wellbeing: particularly for under-represented and disadvantaged people in the community, including initiatives that improve economic participation. For example, building financial literacy and vocational skills and providing access to meaningful work;
  • Housing access: initiatives and programs that support those experiencing or at risk of homelessness or that provide supports for people living with disability; or
  • Projects that assist local communities to thrive: by either enabling vibrant communities where everyone can participate and build a better life, or creating sustainable communities that help deliver demonstrable medium to long term economic sustainability.

ANZ General Manager Business Banking Jenefer Stewart said: “ANZ is committed to enhancing the wellbeing and prosperity of the communities where our people live and work, and where our business operates. One way we do this is by reinvesting in communities through programs like Seeds of Renewal. This year we are proud to once again contribute to the long-term growth and sustainability of small rural communities,” Ms Stewart said.

FRRR CEO Natalie Egleton said: “In the current financial environment, we know there is a heightened need to support and strengthen the sustainability of rural Australia. We believe local leaders and community groups are best placed to identify and address the environmental, financial and housing concerns in their region, and to know first-hand what their communities need to thrive. Programs like ANZ Seeds of Renewal mean we can support these types of meaningful and community-led projects that promote the sustainability and liveability of remote, rural and regional Australia. We look forward to seeing what projects local groups put forward this year,” Ms Egleton said.

Last year, ANZ and FRRR provided grants to 20 community groups for projects including preserving Anbinik Rainforests through Indigenous Fire Management in Arnhem Land, NT; building capability and confidence by providing practical financial literacy skills and awareness training to women in East Gippsland, Victoria; providing fit out of accommodation to support women at risk of domestic violence and homelessness in remote WA; and delivering key skills training to increase the employability of young people in agriculture in Crookwell, NSW.

Applications open on 12 July and close 5pm AEST, 10 August 2023.

A grantseeker workshop will be held online from 1 – 2pm AEST, on Wednesday 19 July, 2023.

For more information about ANZ Seeds of Renewal, or to apply for a grant visit:

Applications for Nutrien Ag Solutions Community Grants Program are now open, with eligible not-for-profit organisations invited to apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to support remote, rural or regional community projects. The Nutrien Ag Solutions Community Grants Program is run in partnership with FRRR.

Penneshaw Medical Clinic
Penneshaw CWA, with the support of the Penneshaw Progress Association, was awarded a $5,000 Nutrien Ag Solutions Community Grant for improvements to the Penneshaw Community Health Rooms.

“Since the launch of the Community Grants program in 2021, Nutrien has supported 110 projects by awarding over $500,000 in grants to rural and regional communities across Australia,” said Mady Muirhead, Corporate Affairs Coordinator at Nutrien Ag Solutions.

“The success of agriculture and the well-being of regional Australia are inextricably linked. We’re proud to play a leading role in helping to build a safe and sustainable future for our farmers and their communities. We are going further by investing in meaningful projects and supporting local grassroot organisations.

“We have thousands of employees living and working in rural and regional Australia, ingrained in their local communities. They have a deep understanding of what makes a community thrive – and it’s all about the people.

“Last year we saw many parts of our country face environmental disasters on a significant scale, with many still facing recovery. This placed significant unanticipated stress on grassroots organisations and groups that work tirelessly to support their local communities. Nutrien Ag Solutions is so proud to provide a much-needed boost to the rural and regional communities we are a part of,” said Ms Muirhead.

The Community Grants Program has supported more than 100 local projects over the past two years, including the installation of an Indigenous artwork and Bush Tucker Garden at Childers, Queensland; contributing to a purpose-built beach ramp and wheelchairs at Swansea, Tasmania; child protection workshops at Dowerin, Western Australia and the installation of solar power panels at the Cambrai Sports Club in South Australia.

“We work in partnership with our communities to support them at a local level, in ways that best suit the individual needs of that community,” said Ms Muirhead.

“Rural communities continue to deal with so many challenges and the role of local not-for-profit groups is becoming ever more critical in filling gaps and helping create vibrant, sustainable communities. Many of these organisations have wonderful volunteers who do so much but projects to improve community facilities or resource new projects or operations also need funding,” said FRRR CEO, Natalie Egleton.

“Over the last two years local fundraising has been made increasingly difficult due to COVID and increasing economic pressures, meaning locals have less capacity to give. As a result, we’re seeing more and more demand for funding support.

“We are grateful for Nutrien’s ongoing partnership, as it enables grassroots groups to access grants that can go toward these projects. But it’s more than just money, as Nutrien’s support continues locally for groups that get funding, staying connected to the local branches as projects are implemented. So, we look forward to seeing what projects come forward this year,” Ms Egleton said.

Applications for the 2023 Nutrien Ag Solutions Community Grants Program are open now and close 10th August 2023, with successful applicants announced in October this year.

An online webinar will be held to support grant seekers from 12.30 – 1.30 (AEST) on Monday 24 July. Sign up for the webinar via the FRRR website or via this LINK.

For more information and to apply, visit:

The Shire of Cunderdin serves the small towns of Cunderdin and Meckering in the Wheatbelt region of WA. In addition to the usual Council services, the Shire also supports local community groups to help build a place where residents are happy and proud to live by providing excellent community facilities, services and community resilience.

The Council works closely with the Cunderdin Youth Council. This group of extraordinary young people identified that youth in the region have almost no support when it comes to mental health. This is backed up with research by the Commissioner of Children and Young Western Australia, which identified that many regional and remote communities have inadequate age-appropriate services and limited infrastructure such as transport and recreational facilities. Young people in the Wheatbelt raised concerns about confidentiality, lack of anonymity and stigma as impediments to seeking help for mental health issues. The Youth Councillors identified the desire to increase their knowledge of mental health, how they can access support and also how they can support their friends with mental health issues. This need led to the Youth Wellness Project being created.

The Shire of Cunderdin received a $5,000 grant from FRRR via the Nutrien Ag Solutions Community Grants program. It went toward helping increase the knowledge and skills of parents and carers of young people, as well as that of young people in Cunderdin and Meckering, with a focus on mental health support strategies and how to access external mental health support.

As part of the Youth Wellness Project, the Shire hosted the first Mental Health Parent Information Night. The session aimed to reduce stigma associated with mental health among the community and youth, with a guest speaker from Armed for Life Foundation, which focuses on how to support parents, carers and students with mental health related issues.

Research also identified an acute shortage of services and programs for young people who require early intervention and/or treatment services because they have a mental health issue. Crime statistics for the Wheatbelt show that most issues appear to be more of an anti-social manner, including online / cyber bullying, which  at times progresses to physical assaults. Other issues include mindless damage, which largely is attributed to boredom.

The project that the Youth Council put forward to the Shire of Cunderdin also sought to address these critical issues that young people from the Wheatbelt face every day. The second element of the Youth Wellness project included a full day session, designed to be interactive and free flowing, sharing experiences and building the young people’s confidence in identifying mental health knowledge, and when and how to access support.

Nearly 60 students from Cunderdin District High School, along with five teachers, attended the Youth Wellness Day, which was again run by the team from Armed for Life Foundation. While plans fell through for representatives from various allied and mental health agencies to attend the day, handouts provided information on the services that are available to the community.

Liezl De Beer from the Shire of Cunderdin said that while they would have liked a few more attendees at the information night, they were proud that 15 parents chose to attend. She also said that COVID was a big disruptor, causing them to postpone the event at very short notice.

The Shire of Cunderdin and its Youth Council will continue working together with support such as the Cunderdin Community Resource Centre, Cunderdin Police Officers and local schools to continue building and strengthening their relationships to bring about improved support for local youth.

In rural communities where enduring drought and devastating bushfires have left an emotional toll, a cancer diagnosis can lead to a particularly isolating and challenging experience. With support from our Strengthening Rural Communities program, Macksville Community Health was able to make a real difference in the wellbeing of women living along the Nambucca river and living with or in remission of cancer.

As a subsidiary of the Mid North Coast Local Health District (MNCLHD), Mackville Community Health provides healthcare for communities in the Nambucca Valley, NSW. Many of their successful support systems and programs are designed to address the impacts of the recent drought and bushfires.

Thanks to the support of the Fire Fight Australia Fund, they received a grant of $10,000. This allowed them to host a three-day retreat at the Yarrahapinni Ecology Centre for women living with or surviving cancer, who had been affected by the 2019/20 bushfires in the region.

The Sisters Retreat s Guided by Local Gumbaynggirr Women in a ‘Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony’, the retreat used engaging activities to educate the participants on a range of different coping mechanisms that allowed them to feel empowered and regain some control over their own lives.

The strategic nature of this program helps the organisation tackle important issues in rural communities such as declining mental health in the aftermath of the bushfires. Of the women reporting poor mental health, many were single or living remotely, with little access to their support network. By attending the Sisters Retreat, these women were able to connect with others in similar situations.

McGrath Breast Cancer Nurse, Carolyn Cross said that without grant, the project would not have gone ahead.

Travellers now have a vibrant new site to visit on the NSW Silo Art Trail, with a mural adorning the Quandialla Soldiers Memorial Hall drawing tourists to the town.

Like so many small townships in agricultural areas striving to support their community and keep services sustainable, Quandialla needed to find a way to attract visitors off the main roads and to spend time in the town. With a focus on building tourism opportunities, there was strong community support for a project that would encourage sightseers to come and support existing businesses, contributing to the economic prosperity of this small town.

Seeing an opportunity to build on the momentum created by the Silo Art Trail,  the Quandialla Soldiers Memorial Hall Association (QSMHA) recognised the hall served as the perfect blank canvas to develop a large mural depicting the area’s history, development and to commemorate those who served in times of war.

Successfully securing funds through the Strengthening Rural Communities grant program, QSMHA commissioned Melbourne artist Simon White to design and paint a mural and paid for the hire of a cherry picker so higher areas of the building could be reached safely. The mural was completed in eight days and before the paint was dry created a buzz in the streets and on social media. QSMHA shared with FRRR that they are very grateful for the support and said, “Small grants are the only way groups can make projects like this a reality.”

The hall is now a landmark for the town’s main street and the grant has improved a key community venue for major events for the local community and surrounds. Along with drawing visitors to the town, the mural has also succeeded in capturing Quandilla’s history and local achievements, encouraging conversations, building awareness and strengthening community pride.

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) and the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) have today announced the appointment of Nous Group to assess the impact of the Future Drought Fund’s Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative, which is funded by the Australian Government.

Wheatbelt South WA community members take part in Community Impact Program’s co-design process.

The Future Drought Fund’s Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative aims to build enduring resilience to the impacts of climate change and drought and to enhance the public good in agriculture-dependent communities. It focuses on building community capacity by strengthening social and community networking, support, engagement and wellbeing.

There are five parts to the Initiative, including the Community Impact Program, Small Grants, a Learning Network, Mentoring Program and Expertise Pool to support local groups implementing their projects, all of which will be evaluated.

While the evaluation will explore the outcomes of the Initiative, it will also provide valuable feedback on the various funding mechanisms employed and the impact of leadership development initiatives delivered. This will also reveal insights into the different ways that the Australian Government can invest in remote, rural and regional communities to address locally prioritised challenges. In total, $1.3 million will be invested in the process, reflecting the value that FRRR, ARLF and the Australian Government place on evaluation, something that is often not prioritised or funded.

Multi-year evaluation

The evaluation will take place over two and a half years and see Nous Group consult with the delivery partners, as well as other stakeholders, to develop the evaluation plan and then work closely with local leaders and with the delivery partners on the evaluation itself.

Phase 1 data collection and analysis is already underway, as the first tranche of funding has been awarded. An interim report will be prepared mid-2024, followed by workshops for community groups and stakeholders to unpack the learnings to date. Phase 2 of data collection will then get underway in August 2024, with the final report due September 2025.

FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, Nina O’Brien, says that there are great efficiency gains in having Nous Group undertake this work, as they are familiar with both the Future Drought Fund and with the delivery partners. “Nous Group supported the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) to design the Measuring, Learning and Evaluation (MEL) framework for the overall Future Drought Fund, so they are intimately familiar with the overall aims of the various streams of work the Fund supports. They bring a depth of understanding and rigour to the process, while still being able to work closely with and relate to the groups delivering projects on the ground.

“What we are most excited about however, is that this process will help build the capacity of communities and stakeholders to engage with and ultimately undertake more formal evaluations of the projects and initiatives that they run. They can learn by doing. These skills will help local communities then better direct their limited resources, as well as be able to provide greater evidence to support funding applications for their initiatives.

“We look forward to working with Nous Group to co-design the evaluation approach and collect insights for the evaluation. We will also be connecting them directly with the local lead partner and other groups delivering projects in the community to understand the impact of the various elements of the Initiative, as well as bring together community groups and stakeholders to explore and interpret their findings,” Ms O’Brien said.

Matt Linnegar, CEO of the ARLF, says understanding the impact is becoming more important for people participating in initiatives, as well as those providing the support for it to happen.

“It’s increasingly important to understand the impact of initiatives like the Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative at depth and from multiple perspectives.

“This is because when we’re talking about leadership across regions and communities, we’re talking about people, relationships, networks and structures. Here, understanding the quantitative impact or intervention on the participant alone isn’t enough.

“It’s important to understand the individual and collective impact those people have on their regions and communities.

“As the ARLF continues to grow its work in the impact evaluation space, we highly value the collaboration with FRRR and work with Nous as an evaluation partner for this Initiative.”

Carlos Blanco, Nous Group Director, says Nous is excited to partner with the FRRR, ARLF and DAFF to collaborate with delivery partners, initiative participants and communities to help build even greater resilience within drought-prone communities.

“Nous has a long history of working with regional communities across Australia. We’re looking forward to co-designing and delivering an evaluation that strengthens the evidence base on how to empower remote, rural, and regional Australia to become more prepared for and resilient to the impacts of drought,” Mr Blanco said.

If community groups have any questions about the evaluation process, they can contact FRRR via

Local not-for-profits (NFPs) across the Central West NSW and WA Great Southern region are being encouraged to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to partner with the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) and the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) to lead the Future Drought Fund’s Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative’s Community Impact Program in their region.

The Initiative seeks to help agriculture-dependent communities in regions across remote, rural, and regional Australia that are vulnerable to the impacts of drought become more prepared for and resilient to these impacts.

It is part of the Australian Government’s $29.6 million investment in drought resilience initiatives over three years and builds on the Future Drought Fund’s previous Networks to Build Drought Resilience program (led by FRRR) and the Drought Resilience Leaders program (led by ARLF).

There are two main components to the program:

  • Community Impact Grants: Grants between $200,000 and $500,000 for projects that strengthen community networks, capabilities and facilities that support drought preparedness; and
  • Community Leadership Activities: AARLF will offer a range of funded leadership development activities to support community members to develop their leadership skills and equip them with the networks to respond to drought preparedness in their community.

Nina O’Brien, FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Climate Solutions Portfolio Lead, said that this a great opportunity for community groups in Central West NSW and the Great Southern region of WA to proactively strengthen drought resilience across their regions.

“Rural communities are better able to withstand the impacts of events like drought when they are strong and well connected. The overall aim of this program is to ensure communities are better prepared for future.

“But we know that looks different in each community, which is why we are looking for a local lead partner. They can then work with other community members and organisations to identify what local action will be most appropriate. FRRR staff will be there to support the process and we’ll also fund a facilitator to work with the community to get the best outcome possible.

“The grants can fund projects, events, initiatives, training, capability building and small-scale community infrastructure projects and we’re really keen to make sure that First Nations communities and younger people are also engaged in drought resilience planning and action.

“We have already funded some impressive projects in other ag-dependent communities, including training and awareness-building activities to develop skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought, preparedness upskilling and capacity building for local NFPs, and youth-focused activities such as field training and skills development programs,” Ms O’Brien explained.

As part of the program, ARLF will offer several complementary Leadership Development Activities at no cost to the successful applicants. These are designed to strengthen the leadership capabilities of communities to build individual and community drought resilience.

ARLF’s Chief Executive Officer Matt Linnegar said that because every lead organisation and region will be at a different point in their resilience journey, ARLF has a number of options that communities can tap into.

“We have five leadership development activities, ranging from intensive residential leadership programs to a series of deep-dives into particular leadership topics to group coaching. Each is underpinned by the concepts of adaptive leadership, resilience and network leadership.

“Applicants will need to include their preference for leadership development activities when they lodge their express of interest for the Community Impact Program, and we will work closely with applicants to refine their preferences as we move through the collaborative project design phase,” Mr Linnegar explained.

Expressions of Interest close 9 June, with shortlisted groups commencing co-design in their communities in August and funding confirmed in November 2023. Groups will have until June 2025 to implement the projects.

Interested groups can learn more about the program and lodge their EOI here.

In partnership with The Yulgilbar Foundation, FRRR has awarded $785,794 in grants to 23 local groups for community projects designed to strengthen community capacity and resilience in the Clarence Valley and surrounding region.

These grants, which are funded through The Yulgilbar Foundation Fund program, are the final tranche of a $2 million commitment awarded over the last three years.

In the wake of the 2019/20 bushfires and subsequent disasters including floods and COVID, these grants will support local groups to foster community connection, education and wellbeing across the region.

Ten of the 23 grants will support local events and festivals. This includes the Grafton Jacaranda Festival for a concert for 5,000 people Featuring Troy Cassar-Daley and Don Walker.

Also set to perform on stage at the Grafton Jacaranda Festival is the Big Scrub Orchestra, which has also been awarded funds. The Orchestra’s grant will support music workshops to boost resilience, health and wellbeing of local children in five small rural public schools and support their performance in the Jacaranda Festival.

Sarah Matthee, FRRR’s General Manager of Partnerships and Services, said that the projects funded demonstrate the important role that social connectedness plays in disaster recovery.

“While each place has its own unique set of recovery needs, in this round of grants we saw many community groups seeking funding for projects designed to bring people together to strengthen social connections, which is such an important part of the recovery process. This also gives us valuable insight into where communities are in their recovery journey.”

Madeleine Noble, Executive Officer of The Yulgilbar Foundation said the Foundation is proud to support a variety of projects across the region, many of which will boost the capacity of local groups to contribute to recovery activities.

“For example, funding for Container of Dreams based near Tabulam will help women develop micro-enterprise skills, Woombah Residents Association will expand activities at the community garden focusing on disaster preparedness, and Lawrence Community Fundraising will run a series of creative workshops and events celebrating local residents and their skills”.

More information is available on FRRR’s website –

The full list of grant recipients and their projects are below.

Backtrack Youth Works LtdBackTrack 'Paws Up' School Outreach Program
Grow literacy skills, confidence, and resilience of primary school children in bushfire-affected communities in the NSW New England region through animal-assisted activities linked to school curriculum.
Ben Lomond$30,000
2TLC FM Lower Clarence Community Radio Incorporated AssociationStorage Unit Project
Improve facilities and space at local community radio station in Yamba, northern rivers region, by adding a storage unit for key equipment.
Clarence Valley Conservatorium IncA Smart Conservatorium
Enhance the learning and performing experience of music students through installation of smartboards and computers in teaching studios of the Clarence Valley Conservatorium and purchase of portal stage units.
Genhealth Incorporatedheadspace Grafton - Creative Groups
Boost health, wellbeing and connectedness of young people in Grafton through a series of afterschool and school holiday youth-informed creative arts activities.
Grafton Jacaranda Festival IncTroy Cassar-Daly + Don Walker
Celebrate Indigenous culture, boost community spirit and wellbeing and stimulate the local economy in Grafton through a free concert for 5,000 people featuring Troy Cassar-Daley and Don Walker as part of the famous Jacaranda Festival.
Iluka Community Organisation Planning for Emergencies (ICOPE) IncField of Friends Iluka Village Community Parties Project
Foster community connection and resilience following multiple local disaster events through three free community events across 12 months which will also engage local emergency services organisations to provide education and awareness.
Lawrence Community Fundraising IncLawrence Loves...
Grow community engagement and sense of belonging in the small village of Lawrence in the Northern Rivers following local disaster events and COVID-19 through a series of creative workshops, performances, and a whole community event.
Mudyala Aboriginal CorporationRising Warriors After School Engagement Program
Boost social connections and activities for Aboriginal youth in the Clarence Valley through youth worker led programs and school holiday activities.
Ozfish Unlimited LimitedNymboida River Riparian, Restoring Habitat for the Endangered Eastern Fresh Water Cod
Improve water quality and fish habitat in the Nymboida River post bushfire events and increase local awareness of natural resource management techniques through planting, restoration activities and educational citizen science program.
The Big Scrub OrchestraBringing Music Healing to Young People in the Clarence Valley
Boost resilience, health, and wellbeing for children in five small rural public schools following multiple local disasters through 175 Modern Band workshops introducing children to various instruments and song writing as well as performance at the Grafton Jacaranda Festival with local Indigenous music icon Troy Cassar-Daly.
The Long Way Home Byron Writers FestivalStories From The Clarence Valley 2023 - Grow
Share and celebrate stories from residents of the Clarence Valley by publishing a book showcasing local writers collated through The Long Way Home writing competition.
Woombah Residents Association IncorporatedMeet you at the Garden - Building Community Resilience in Woombah
Improve social connections, engagement with local services and awareness of disaster preparedness in Woombah through a series of environmentally themed workshops and community events, equipment and light infrastructure.
Glenreagh HeartstartOrara Valley Resilience Hub - Community Consultation
Improve local connections and disaster resilience for residents in the towns and villages of the Orara Valley through community-led consultation to establish a Resilience Hub in Glenreagh.
Upper Orara$26,000
Friends of the Labyrinth
Kyogle Community Economic Development Committee
A Place for Quiet Contemplation and Inner Peace
Boost health and wellbeing in Kyogle in the northern rivers through the promotion of the local community labyrinth to foster greater awareness and use.
Arts Northern Rivers IncorporatedNorthern Rivers Creative Industries Recovery Forum 2022
A two-day regional forum for bringing together the creative industry sector to develop a future road map for longer term recovery post 2022 Big Floods in the Northern Rivers region of NSW.
Broadwater Rileys Hill Community CentreRekindling Community Connections in Broadwater
Lift community spirit and connectedness in Broadwater following the devastating floods in the region through monthly community dinners and activities.
Casinos Own Wireless Association IncCasino Cow Country Music Muster (CCCMM)
Boost community spirit and the local economy following devasting disasters, including recent flooding events, through a five-day country music festival in Casino.
Clovass-Mskees Hill Soldiers Memorial and Community Hall IncorporatedPower Us Up
Improve power supply and availability during local outages and in times of disaster at Clovass McKees Hill Soldiers Memorial and Community Hall, Richmond Valley, through installation of a battery to store power generated by the existing solar system.
McKees Hill$18,900
The Evans Head Living Museum IncPurchase a Large Format Printer and Desk Top Tower computer
Increase capacity of the Evans Head Museum to prepare and present displays and support local community groups through new technology by purchasing a desktop computer and large format printer.
Evans Head$10,698
Container of Dreams LtdContainer of Dreams Community Market Cart - Micro-Enterprise Workshops
Empower ten women in Drake to develop micro-enterprise skills to support financial independence, improve wellbeing and resilience, and contribute to the local economy through their own market stalls.
Arts Northern Rivers IncorporatedScreening Tour to Recovering Bushfire-Affected Communities
Boost social connections and provide an opportunity to reflect and recover for various bushfire-affected communities in rural and regional NSW, including the Clarence Valley, through a live music and documentary screening tour.
Various NSW Locations$127,000
Department of Education
Baryulgil Public School
Strengthening Educational Aspiration and Wellbeing Opportunities in Baryulgil
Foster wellbeing, cultural connections, and educational pathways for students at Baryulgil Public School through an on-site wellbeing hub and minibus providing flexible transport options for the remote school.

More than $1.7M awarded thanks to Future Drought Fund

FRRR and ARLF are pleased to announce the first organisations to receive funding through the Future Drought Fund’s Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative.

The Initiative, which is being delivered by FRRR in partnership with ARLF, seeks to help agriculture-dependent communities in regions across remote, rural, and regional Australia that are vulnerable to the impacts of drought become more prepared for and resilient to these impacts.

Over the last three months, FRRR and ARLF have worked closely with a local community partner lead organisation in five areas to identify projects that local groups across each region can implement to enhance preparedness for drought.

This first tranche of funding through the Community Impact Program sees five regions awarded $1.7M, which is being shared across 15 organisations.

In the coming months, the local community partner lead organisation will collaborate with other grantee organisations in the region to deliver projects that include events, training and workshops that will create opportunities for communities to identify and adopt innovative and transformative ways to build drought resilience, develop a change in awareness of and attitudes to drought preparedness at the community level, learn and share innovative ways to build drought resilience.

FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, Nina O’Brien, says that this is a really exciting milestone and a wonderful opportunity for these communities to drive local action that helps prepare for drought.

“People are more resilient when they’re part of a strong community. Through this place-based program, with the Australian Government’s support, we’re investing in the future, enabling agriculture dependent communities to identify and act on their drought preparedness priorities at a grassroots level.

“The overall aim of this program is to facilitate increased social connection, strengthen network opportunities, build leadership skills, and link capacity building opportunities to ensure widespread local benefit, so that communities are better prepared for the future.

“The program was deliberately designed to be flexible, allowing a bespoke approach in each region that reflects the unique conditions in each area. The projects that we’re funding have broad community support. As part of their development, we paid for a facilitator to support the local lead organisation to help bring key stakeholders into the conversation and to make sure that the projects align with local priorities and connect with investments already happening at the community level.

“We look forward to continuing to walk alongside these local groups as they implement their projects over the next two years,” Ms O’Brien said.

Each of the regions being funded will also receive access to tailored ARLF leadership development activities. Lead organisations can choose between one of five leadership development activities, depending on their projects and local priorities. In the first five regions, four different activities have been taken up.

ARLF CEO, Matt Linnegar, says leadership development supports the short-term delivery of projects and yields long-term benefits for the regions.

“In addition to the project funding, these leadership development activities are a crucial investment in building the social capital required to support the project and each region. Connecting local networks, creating a deeper sense of shared purpose and developing capability all contributes to people in each region taking action to address challenges and take advantage of opportunities.

“Participants will also gain access to the wider alumni network of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. It’s these connections that prove invaluable to people. When they’re stuck, there’s someone to ask for advice.”

In total, 35 regions will be supported through this program. The remaining regions are due to be announced throughout the rest of 2023.

Other elements of the Future Drought Fund’s Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative are also underway, including the Mentoring program, being led by ARLF, which is still accepting applications. Work is also underway on the design of the network to connect leaders working on these projects across the country and FRRR is finalising the appointment of an expertise panel, which the groups awarded funding can draw on, if they don’t have locally qualified people with the skills they need.

In addition, the first of two rounds of Small Grants for areas that aren’t covered by these Community Impact Program grants is expected to open in later this year.

Learn more about the Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative at

The full list of grant recipients and their projects are below.

Queensland: Region 08 Darling Downs & South Burnett
Red Earth Community FoundationCommunity Partner Lead Organisation Region 8
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Darling Downs and South Burnett region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Darling Downs & South Burnett Region$38,746
Momentum HealthBuilding Healthier Communities
Enhance capability, coordination and collaboration between community networks and organisations that can be drawn upon in times of drought by training local leaders, creating resources and delivering workshops focussed on wellbeing.
South Burnett, Western Downs & Goondiwindi$92,499
Red Earth Community FoundationCherbourg Community Leadership Program
Strengthen community capacity and leadership through the design and delivery of the Cherbourg Community Leadership Program, to build knowledge and skills to address local challenges caused by drought.
Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council$51,388
Burnett Catchment Care AssociationSharing Models of Successful Groups
Deliver community led drought preparedness through networking events that build social connections, share innovative approaches to drought resilience and drive local action through peer-to-peer support and a communities of practice approach.
Burnett Region with possibility of working with Toowoomba & Western Downs Groups$62,401
Queensland Murray Darling Catchment LtdWater and Climate Drought Education
Deliver workshops to school aged children to build knowledge and understanding of the risks posed by drought and climate change and develop skills to positively adapt.
Schools in Darling Downs & Burnett$73,412
Burnett Inland Economic Development Organisation (BIEDO)Ag Tech in Action in the Burnett
Strengthen community and social connections through events and provide opportunities for young people to build knowledge in innovative approaches to drought preparedness, connect with current networks and develop youth specific networks.
North Burnett, South Burnett, Cherbourg & Bundaberg LGAs$69,007
Queensland: Region 09 Fitzroy Capricornia
Dawson Catchment Coordinating AssociationCommunity Partner Lead Organisation Region 9
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Fitzroy Capricornia region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Fitzroy Capricornia Region$140,000
Central Queensland Landscape AllianceRemote Community Capacity Building
Create leadership and capacity building opportunities, particularly for local young people, through training and awareness-building activities to develop skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought.
Focus on Capricornia Catchments work arena$40,000
Not for Profit HQ LimitedNFP Report Card Assessments –Upskilling
Build the capability of local not-for-profit organisations to better serve their communities in times of drought and in drought preparedness by delivering a practical skills audit and using the results to develop business and operational plans.
Fitzroy Capricornia Region$50,000
Dawson Catchment Coordinating AssociationImproved Community Access –Dawson Catchment
Establish a local community network to improve access to, encourage greater utilisation of or create new community infrastructure by collaboratively reviewing available places, spaces and facilities where community groups can gather, function and support their local community in times of drought.
Fitzroy Capricornia Region$35,547
Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire CouncilWoorabinda Rangers and Youth Development Program
Deliver capacity building activities and field training to increase knowledge of local landscapes and share innovative approaches to drought preparedness, which will strengthen community resilience.
Fitzroy Capricornia Region$42,000
Queensland: Region 11 Hinterland to Gulf
Northern Gulf Resource Management Group LtdCommunity Partner Lead Organisation Region 11
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Hinterland to Gulf region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Hinterland to Gulf Region$31,359
Northern Gulf Resource Management Group LtdLocal Capacity for Regional Resilience Project
Strengthen organisational capacity and governance of not-for-profit organisations, including those that are First Nations led, by delivering training, workshops, networking events and leadership development activities, so organisations can better support community interests ahead of and in times of drought.
Croydon Shire, Etheridge Shire & Mareeba Shire$181,250
Northern Gulf Resource Management Group LtdDigital Capacity and Last Mile Connectivity Project
Strengthen the ability of communities to adapt and prepare for drought by delivering workshops that improve access to and greater utilisation of digital infrastructure, thereby strengthening social networks and enabling people to better connect to essential services and support in times of drought.
Croydon Shire, Etheridge Shire & Mareeba Shire$123,700
Queensland: Region 13 Cape York – Torres Strait
Cape York NRMCommunity Partner Lead Organisation Region 13
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Cape York – Torres Strait Region$42,166
Torres Cape Indigenous Councils AllianceCape York Torres Water Project
Increase skills, knowledge and understanding of the risks posed by drought through the delivery of a water education program and activating a co-designed, community led strategic water security plan.
Aurukun Shire, Cook Shire, Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire, Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire, Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire, Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire, Mapoon Aboriginal Shire, Mornington Shire, Napranum Aboriginal Shire, Northern Peninsula Area, Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire, Torres Strait Islands, Torres Shire, Weipa Town & Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire$193,798
Cape York NRMCape York Torres Fire Project
Improve capability, coordination, and collaboration between professional, social and community networks, which can be drawn upon in future drought, through the delivery of a series of fire prevention training activities, events and forums.
Aurukun Shire, Cook Shire, Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire, Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire, Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire, Mapoon Aboriginal Shire, Napranum Aboriginal Shire, Northern Peninsula Area, Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire, Torres Strait Islands, Torres Shire, Weipa Town & Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire$151,012
South Australia: Region 22 Arid Lands
SA Arid Lands Landscape BoardCommunity Partner Lead Organisation Region 22
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Arid Lands Region$32,000
SA Arid Lands Landscape BoardWomen’s Gathering
Support communities to learn and share innovative ways to build drought resilience; increase the reach and activities of community leaders, mentors, networks and organisations driving action on drought resilience by facilitating an event for women from across this geographically vast region.
SA Arid Lands Landscape BoardPastoral Field Day
Support communities to identify and adopt innovative and transformative ways to build drought resilience by delivering a field day, which will enable knowledge sharing and networking opportunities.
Port Augusta City Council$67,750
SA Arid Lands Landscape BoardOutback Kids & Family Days
Encourage social connection, networking and knowledge sharing to facilitate drought preparedness and resilience building by delivering five family day events to connect communities across a geographically vast region.
Five locations across Port Augusta Region$50,350
Nature Foundation LimitedFamily on Country
Provide mentorship and leadership development opportunities and strengthen networks and connections by delivering two on-Country, multi-day events that provide opportunities for Elders and Community Leaders to share cultural knowledge on the local landscape and drought.
Hiltaba Station (Unincorporated Area)$46,000
Isolated Children's Parents Association Marla-OodnadattaICPA Conference
Encourage drought preparedness conversations at the community level and drive local action for children, families and educational outcomes through a regional conference.
SA Arid Lands$5,000
Quorn Community Landcare Group Incorporated auspiced by SA Arid Lands Landscape BoardQuandong Festival
Strengthen local drought resilience by delivering two educational and awareness-raising events that showcase innovative and transformative ways to adapt in times of drought.

Grants of up to $10,000 available nationwide

Grants of up to $10,000 are now available to fund community-led projects, developed by young people, to respond to the six issues identified at this year’s ABC Heywire Youth Summit, including mental health, accessibility, youth voices, addressing costs of living and creating safe spaces – all issues that concern youth.

IMAGE: ABC Heywire presentation event in the theatre at the Australian Parliament House, Canberra. HEADING: Empowering and addressing issues that matter to rural youth

The FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program has supported remote, rural, and regional youth since 2013, providing them with the opportunity to not only identify the issues that matter most to them but also take action to combat them.

This year, there is $115,000 in grants available nationally and an additional $35,000 specifically to fund projects in Queensland, thanks to a new partnership with The John Villiers Trust.

The six ideas respond to common issues of concern identified by the 39 regional youth who attended the ABC Heywire Youth Summit, a youth leadership and skills development event held last month in Canberra.

FRRR and its partners will fund grants that enable activation of these ideas across rural Australia, enabling community organisations and not-for-profits that work with young people to either implement these ideas or to develop their own projects to address the issues raised, which include:

  • Boredom Relief: How might we create safe spaces for youth?
  • Easy Access: How might we empower regional youth to take charge of their mental health and support their mates?
  • Homegrown Hub: How might we create cost of food relief in communities across Australia?
  • Idea 4 Change: How might we provide resources to ensure young people are supported and engaged in their education, with their diverse learning needs catered for?
  • Hear Our Voices: How might we ensure that all youth voices are heard and represented on issues that matter to them?
  • We are not Alone: How might we create a better future for all young people living with a disability to feel understood and supported in regional Australia?

More details about each of these ideas can be found on the ABC Heywire website.

Kadee from Barcaldine, Queensland, Iningai Country, is a 2023 Heywire Winner and was part of the group that developed the Idea 4 Change project. Kadee said it was inspiring knowing their idea would become a reality in rural Australia.

“I’ve already had educators of my school asking heaps of questions and having me go into depth about our idea. I’m feeling intrigued to see how everyone’s ideas evolve over time and how they impact our country.”

Deb Samuels, FRRR’s People Portfolio Lead, said that to truly create impact for young people, they need to be at the table in making decisions and the Youth Innovation Grants program facilitates this.

“From idea development, through to assessing grant applications that are recommended to the FRRR Board for funding, the Youth Innovation Grants program is led by rural youth, at all stages of the program. This process ensures that funding is allocated to create impact where it matters most for young people in remote, rural and regional Australia.

“Our long-term partnership with ABC has been instrumental to the success of this program. The ABC Heywire Summit is such a powerful platform for young Australians to share their voices and ideas to policy makers, and across the nation. To be able to invest in these ideas with funding that allows communities to act on these ideas is such a phenomenal opportunity.

“We encourage rural community groups to connect with local young people, consider the six issues and work together to develop a project and application that addresses one of the issues, in a local context. Our Youth Assessment Panel and I look forward to exploring all the innovative ideas developed,” said Ms Samuels.

This is the 11th year of the partnership between FRRR and the ABC to run the Heywire Youth Innovation Grants.

“We’re proud to once again partner with FRRR to invest in youth ideas across remote, rural and regional Australia,” said Warwick Tiernan, ABC Director, Regional and Local.

“We know that young people are keenly aware of the issues that affect them and given the chance, they have the skills to develop solutions to them. Being able to back these ideas with grants to make them come to reality shows young people we are doing more than just listening, we are acting on them.

“We’re excited to see what pioneering projects come to life this year and share these stories through the ABC network.”

To date, more than $1.4 million in community and philanthropic investment has helped to fund more than 174 projects in more than 130 communities. This round of FRRR ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants program is possible thanks to the generous support of FRRR’s donor partners, including The Sally Foundation, AMP Foundation, The John Villiers Trust, David Mactaggart Foundation and private donors.

Applications close Wednesday 7 June, and recipients will be announced in September. More information is available on the Youth Innovation Grants page.

Image is of ABC Heywire presentation event in the theatre at the Australian Parliament House, Canberra, by Bradley Cummings.