Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

19 projects funded thanks to the Future Drought Fund

FRRR today announced the final projects funded through the Community Impact Program, which is part of the Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative funded by the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.

Group of three people talking to each other.

In this final tranche of funding, delivered in partnership with ARLF, grants of nearly $1 million have been awarded to support 15 organisations in delivering 19 projects across the Central West region of NSW, the Eyre Peninsula region of SA and the Loddon Campaspe region of VIC. The grants are designed to enhance drought preparedness through strengthening, enabling and building social capital.

FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead, Nina O’Brien, says that there are a range of projects being funded in each area, which reflect local priorities.

“All these projects have come about thanks to a robust, locally-led co-design process. In Central NSW, for example, we saw more than 20 organisations, including First Nations groups, actively engage in helping to prioritise what would make a difference in their region.

“The Central West of NSW has been impacted by flooding, as well as bushfires on top of the Black Summer bushfires. These events, combined with prolonged drought conditions have left the community fatigued and in continuous recovery.

“This funding, which will be coordinated by Regional Development Australia – Orana, will support projects including strengthening local leadership and networks through a series of events; a seminar for rural women, which will create a safe space for sharing and creating connections; and educational activities. Other projects in this region will include a pilot program to increase access to better mental health support; a series of networking and social support activities targeting young women; and workshops providing culturally sensitive information in different languages targeting the diverse multicultural community living in the region.

“It’s a similar story in South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, where the program activity will be coordinated by Agricultural Innovation and Research Eyre Peninsula. The co-design process saw 37 participants from the not-for-profit sector, government, small business and general community invited to have input. Four projects have been supported, again with a series of events and activities focusing on different groups, including rural women, young farmers (through peer-to-peer learning) and the broader community, with a focus on building understanding of drought and drought preparedness at a farm, environment and whole of community level.

“In the Loddon / Campaspe region, in Victoria, there is a history of drought, although in late 2022, the region experienced significant flood damage. Several communities remain displaced with the recovery and rebuilding process hampered by a variety of factors, including volunteer fatigue. Despite this, there was strong engagement in the co-design process, including the local traditional owners, the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation. Coordinated by LEAD Loddon Murray Inc, there are four projects that will be supported in this region, including redevelopment of the Bridgewater Community Hub to build a community garden and sensory garden, backed up by eight community workshops to share knowledge. There will also be an education program – ‘Let’s Talk About the Weather’ – involving local community mapping of the network and focused capacity building support. The Dja Dja Wurrung Clans will lead a project that will employ a local coordinator who will work with Council, Landcare, community organisations and private landholders to heal Country, building understanding of traditional land management practices and ways to restore the land. The final project will focus on building and strengthening networks and building capacity of individual leaders in climate resilience,” Ms O’Brien explained.

In addition to the projects that are being supported, each region will also engage in a leadership development activity. ARLF Chief Executive, Matt Linnegar, says those activities include either a community leadership program, leadership action initiative, group coaching or change-maker workshops.

“The activities will be tailored to each area and we’re already working with the local community partner lead organisation to work out the best timing for the various activities. Leadership development is a critical part of building the social capital required to strengthen drought resilience. It helps to create and build local networks, as well as develop the skills and knowledge 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 said.

FRRR is currently inviting applications for small grants to support activity in parts of the country where there was no Community Impact Program grant awarded. Full details are available at www.frrr.org.au/small-networks-grants.

Other elements of the Future Drought Fund’s Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative are also underway, including a Mentoring program and an online network connecting community members involved in projects in each of the regions, both led by ARLF. FRRR has also launched a portal providing access to experts to support delivery of their projects, if local expertise isn’t available.

Community Impact Program grantees have commenced delivering project activity, increasing connection across regions and supporting locally identified and driven drought preparedness activities. Some activities delivered so far are young farmer network events, women’s events and local field day type activities in several regions, with strong local participation and attendance. From FRRR’s perspective, it is exciting to see the momentum being created by passionate locals keen to see their regions remain connected, and vibrant as dry times increase across many communities nationally.

Learn more about the Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative at www.frrr.org.au/drought-preparedness.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
New South Wales: Region 03 Central West
Regional Development Australia - OranaCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 03
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Central West region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Central West NSW Region$49,608
Coonamble Chamber of Commerce IncorporatedWellbeing Changemaker Assistance Program
Support members of the Coonamble Chamber of Commerce (80+ members) and their families to face drought and other stresses through the provision of access to mental health support services as community workshops and the provision of space locally for mental health support services in Coonamble.
Coonamble Shire$85,465
Hovells Creek Landcare Group Incorporated

Building Community Networks, Community Support and Resilience to Drought Through Social and Learning Activities

Increase awareness of and change attitudes to drought preparedness through the delivery of two community workshops focused on holistic property management during drought.

Cowra, Weddin, Hilltops, Hovells Creek, Wyangala$14,700
Oriscon IncorporatedCreating Connections Project
Stimulate a change in awareness of and change attitudes towards drought preparedness at the community level through the development of a multilingual knowledge and information sharing website, two community workshops and a networking event supporting migrant community members in connecting, accessing, and understanding localised climate adaptation and drought preparedness activities and information across Central Western NSW.
Dubbo, Warren, Gilgandra, Wellington, Nyngan, Narromine, Wellington, Stuart Town$10,000
Tradies IN SightNSW Real Reconnections Tour
Build local networks and social support mechanisms required to better prepare for drought through the provision of eight informal mental health events focused on connecting regional men.
Dubbo, Narromine, Gilgandra, Coonabarabran, Warren, Nyngan, Cobar, Tattenham, Parkes, Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett$18,417
Voices of Women IncorporatedEMBRACE: Voices of Women Dubbo
Build a shared experience that can be drawn upon for support during drought through local networks and social support for young women aged 18-35 through the delivery of an intensive creative workshop focused on building relationships and confidence of young women.
Dubbo$9,550
Watershed Landcare Group IncorporatedEmpowering Watershed Women
Stimulate a change in awareness of and attitudes towards drought preparedness through the delivery of a seminar for rural women focused on providing a safe space for communication, support, mentoring, professional development and empowerment.
Mudgee, Cudgegong $10,000
Watershed Landcare Group IncorporatedHolistically Strengthening the Capabilities and Resilience of our Rural Community
Enable the community to build their local leadership, networks and social support mechanisms at a community level through the delivery of three connection and networking events and Holistic Management training focused on a comprehensive drought and disaster resilience approach to agricultural practices and decision-making.
Mudgee, Gulgong, Rylstone, Kandos$40,700
Western Rural Connect Inc.Western Rural Connect Networking and Development Events
Build local leadership, networks and social support to build drought and other disaster resilience through the delivery of three Women in Agriculture events over two years.
Narromine$18,000
South Australia: Region 23 Eyre Peninsula
Agricultural Innovation & Research Eyre Peninsula IncorporatedCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 23
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Eyre Peninsula region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Eyre Peninsula SA Region$30,760
Agricultural Innovation & Research Eyre Peninsula IncorporatedYoung Farmer – Facilitated Peer to Peer Learning
Share innovative ways to build drought resilience and build local leadership, networks and social support in Ceduna and Cleve locations. AIR EP will offer four field events for young farmers focusing on young people aged 18-35 years.
Ceduna and Cleve $60,000
District Council Of CleveFuture Farmers Focus
Future Farmers support a change in awareness of and attitudes to drought preparedness at the community level through the delivery of learning workshops for two target audiences: 1. high school students; 2. families, industry and broader community.
Cleve$47,000
WoTL LtdBetter Connected Communities
Engage 12-15 young women in remote and highly drought sensitive communities to participate in a series of workshops covering a range of topics with overt social drought preparedness themes and outcomes.
Cleve, Franklin Harbour$77,456
WoTL LtdRegenerate Rural Women
Learn and share innovative ways to build drought resilience by engaging approximately 15 local women in a comprehensive program covering topics to build personal resilience, refine decision making skills, clarify priorities and goals, and enhance personal, family and community wellbeing in Ceduna and Lower Eyre Peninsula.
Lower Eyre Peninsula, Ceduna$68,400
Victoria: Region 28 Loddon Campaspe
Lead Loddon Murray IncCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 28
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Loddon Campaspe region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Loddon Campaspe VIC region$80,000
Lead Loddon Murray Inc2024 Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program - Climate Resilience
Enable an increase in the reach and activities of community leaders, mentors, networks and organisations driving action on drought resilience through the delivery of LMCLP Climate Resilience program.
Loddon Campaspe VIC Region$80,000
 Kooyoora Women's Network IncBridgewater Railway Station Redevelopment
Build depth of social connection and increase skills, knowledge and understanding of the risks posed by drought and climate change while offering a place for community connection through the further development of the Bridgewater Community Hub.
Bridgewater, Loddon Shire$75,000
Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal CorporationHealing Country across Djandak
Stimulate a change in awareness of and attitudes to drought preparedness while increasing engagement with and participation of First Nations community members through the delivery of the Djaara Forest Gardening Engagement Coordinator pilot program, “Healing Country on Djandak”.
Campaspe, Loddon, Central Goldfield, Bendigo$100,000
Jumpleads NFP LimitedLet's Talk About the Weather | Drought Resilience
Enable communities to identify and adopt innovative ways to build drought preparedness at the community level through the delivery of a Let’s Talk About the Weather program across Campaspe, Loddon and Central Goldfields local government areas.
Campaspe, Loddon, Central Goldfields$120,000

56 projects funded thanks to the Future Drought Fund

FRRR has awarded $3.65 million in grants to 11 agriculture-dependent regions across Australia, for projects that will better prepare their communities for the impacts of drought and a changing climate.

The $3,654,124 in grants is funded through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund, and delivered as part of the Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative’s Community Impact Program. To date, $9,115,583 in grants has been awarded to 27 agriculture-dependent regions, through the Program.

Delivered in partnership with ARLF, the Program aims to strengthen the ability of agriculture-dependent communities to work together to prepare for future drought or other disaster.

Nina O’Brien, Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead for FRRR, said that the collaborative nature of the Community Impact Program means locals in each region have come together to identify and act on their communities’ drought preparedness priorities, at a grassroots level.

“The beauty of this program is that it’s so flexible. It can support events, initiatives, training and even small-scale infrastructure. But at their core, each project is about fostering the growth of stronger networks to encourage shared learning and more collaboration. We’re already seeing that happen among the program facilitators, who are leading by example, having established a community of practice, and mentoring one another across the regions.

“We recognise that co-design in each region has taken significant effort and we particularly thank the Community Partner Lead Organisations for stepping up and taking the lead in bringing everyone together. It’s been wonderful to be able to harness local knowledge and expertise and to have a cross-section of the community collaborate and create solutions. We know that these projects will strengthen the networks, support, engagement and wellbeing of people across their region.

“We look forward to seeing the continued growth of these networks and to seeing the impacts of these projects as they roll out over the next two years,” Ms O’Brien said.

Funded projects include a youth community hub and film festival on Mitakoodi Country, Cloncurry in Queensland. The Mitakoodi Community and Housing Aboriginal Corporation will use a $76,809 grant to develop the hub and festival, which will build a depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose, and longer-term community belonging that locals can draw upon in future drought.

In Boyup Brook, Western Australia, Blackwood Basin Group Incorporated has been awarded a $40,730 grant to run a series of land management workshops, as well as produce written resources and provide accidental counselling. These capacity building activities will provide local people and communities with opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought.

As part of the program, each region will also access tailored leadership development activities, delivered by ARLF.

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. 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 said.

Other elements of the Future Drought Fund’s Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative are also underway, including a Mentoring program and an online network connecting community members involved in projects in each of the regions, both led by ARLF.

FRRR has also launched a portal providing access to experts to support delivery of their projects, if local expertise isn’t available. A small grants funding round will also open before the end of the year to support projects in areas not covered by the Community Impact Program.

Learn more about the Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative at www.frrr.org.au/drought-preparedness.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
New South Wales: Region 05 Northern Tablelands
Glenrac IncorporatedCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 05
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Northern Tablelands region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Northern Tablelands NSW Region $30,146
Glenrac IncorporatedGrowing Social Capital, Glen Innes
Enhance awareness of and attitude toward drought preparedness and build local leadership, networks and social support through a diverse series of community events, activities and delivery partners.
Glen Innes $70,508
Gwymac IncorporatedConnecting our Community for Resilience in Tough Times
Enhance awareness of and attitudes toward drought preparedness through building local leadership, networks and social support through a series of collaborative events.
Inverell$51,290
Southern New England Landcare LtdSNEL HELP – Preparing Communities for Drought
Increase the reach and activities of community leaders, mentors, networks and organisations driving action on drought resilience through the delivery of a series of community activities and events that will share information on the local impacts of drought, drought preparation activities and strengthen local connections, networks and relationships.
Armidale, Inverell, Uralla and Walcha$62,214
Granite Borders Landcare Committee IncorporatedDrought Community Impact Program
Enable communities to identify and adopt innovative and transformative ways to build drought resilience through a series of collaborative workshops targeting innovation in drought preparation information and knowledge sharing.
Tenterfield$70,936
Queensland: Region 07 South-West
Southern Queensland Natural Resources Management LtdCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 07
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the South-West region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
South-West QLD Region$20,500
Thallon Progress Association IncPODDS 4 Thallon & Bollon (Place of Diversity & Development)
Increase the reach and activities of community leaders, mentors, networks and organisations driving action on drought resilience through the development of shared workspaces in Thallon and Bollon.
Thallon and Bollon, Balonne Shire$126,800
Wyandra and District Progress and Recreation Association IncWyandra & Surrounds Drought Resilience Leadership Network – Empower Paroo & Murweh
Increase the reach and activities of community leaders, mentors, networks and organisations driving action on drought resilience across Paroo and Murweh through the delivery of community events, minor community infrastructure upgrades, leadership network establishment and connection to local support services.
Wyandra, Cunnamulla, Charleville$83,615
Queensland: Region 10 North-West
Southern Gulf NRM LtdCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 10
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the North-West region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Queensland North-West Region$33,007
Southern Gulf NRM LtdProactively Improving Mental Health Preparedness in Northwest QLD
Enable capacity building activities where local people and communities have opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought through the delivery of mental health first aid training across the region.
Cloncurry, Julia Creek, Richmond, Hughenden, Normanton, Burketown, Mount Isa $66,209
Southern Gulf NRM LtdCommunity Group Development Facilitator for Northwest QLD
Improve capability, coordination and collaboration between networks, other community organisations and sectors that can be drawn upon in future drought through delivery of governance, volunteer management, communications and project management training.
Mount Isa, Cloncurry, McKinlay, Richmond, Flinders, Burke, Carpentaria$148,538
Mitakoodi Community and Housing Aboriginal CorporationThe Cloncurry Community Hub and Film Festival
Build a depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through the development of a youth community hub and film festival.
Mitakoodi Country,Cloncurry$76,809
Western Australia: Region 21 South-West
South West Catchments CouncilCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 21
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the South-West region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
WA South-West Region$23,768
Warren Catchments CouncilGreen Spaces Counter the Blues
Enable capacity building activities where local people and communities have opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought through a coordinated series of water efficient landscaping / gardening workshops.
Shire of Manjimup$75,661
Southern Forest Arts IncRivers of Thirst
Build depth of social connection, awareness of and constructive attitudes to drought preparedness at the community level through community development of seven public artworks across towns in the region.
Manjimup, Boyup Brook, Nannup, Bridgetown-Greenbushes$49,908
South West Catchments CouncilCommunity Resilience Network
Improve the capability, coordination and collaboration between networks, other community organisations and sectors that can be drawn upon in future drought through the establishment of a Community Resilience Network of local groups in Community Resource Centres.
Manjimup, Boyup Brook, Bridgetown-Greenbushes, Donnybrook-Balingup, Augusta- Margaret River, Harvey, Dardanup, Busselton$86,935
Blackwood Basin Group IncorporatedBoyup Brook Community Drought Preparedness
Enable capacity building activities where local people and communities have opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought, through a series of land management workshops, production of written resources and accidental counselling training.
Boyup Brook$40,730
Goomburrup Aboriginal CorporationNi! Boodja Waangkiny (Noongar Seasonal Calendar)
Enable depth of social and cultural connection, awareness of and constructive attitudes to drought preparedness at the community level through the development of a place-based, locally developed Noongar seasonal calendar that captures the knowledge and resilience of the people and culture with storytelling.
Bunbury$66,000
South Australia: Region 24 Northern and Yorke
Regional Development Australia Barossa Gawler Light Adelaide Plains IncorporatedCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 24
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Northern and Yorke region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
SA Northern and Yorke Region $56,893
Lochiel Progress AssociationDiner en Rose
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose, and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through a community event celebrating the local landscape.
Lochiel– Pink Lake (Wakefield Regional Council)$21,170
Wirraminna CareScone / Coffee Times Bringing Neighbourhoods Together to Share Socially
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought by addressing social isolation within the community.
Williamstown, Eden Valley$7,000
WoTL LtdManaging Yourself and Your Business Through Drought and Other Disruption
Enable capacity building activities where local people and communities have opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought through leadership workshops specifically designed for women.
Riverton, Clare, Kadina$67,000
Two Wells Regional Action TeamDrought Resilient Greening for Community Wellbeing
Enable a change in awareness of and attitudes to drought preparedness at the community level and enhance the public good by planting drought-tolerant trees at three entrances to the township of Two Wells.
Two Wells$3,000
Barossa Improved Grazing Group IncorporatedBuilding Local Human Capacity to Support Drought Preparedness Across the Barossa Generations and Community
Enable capacity building activities where local people and communities have opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought through supporting and training young farmers.
Barossa, Light, Mid Murray $55,000
Victoria: Region 27 Mallee
Mallee Sustainable Farming IncCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 27
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Mallee region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
VIC Mallee Region$76,818
First People of the Millewa-Mallee Aboriginal CorporationCommunity Impact Program – Mallee Region
Build depth of social connection and increase skills, knowledge and understanding of the risks posed by drought and climate change through land management training and mentorship of young First Nations people.
Neds Corner Station, Mildura$41,200
Birchip Cropping Group IncMallee BCG Young Farmer Network
Enable capacity building activities where young farmers have opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought in remote, rural, and regional Australia through the growth of a Young Farmers Network.
Quambatook, Birchip, Manangatang$32,960
Mallee Sustainable Farming IncThe Mallee Matters
Build awareness of and changed attitudes to drought preparedness at the community level through the production of short videos that showcase local resilience.
Northern Mallee areas$65,920
Food Next Door CooperativeFood Next Door Co-op: Sustainable CALD Market Gardening
Build the capacity of local people and communities to develop the skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought in remote, rural and regional Australia through irrigation management training for CALD communities.
Mildura, Merbein, Nichols Point and Red Cliffs$56,856
Rural Business and Community LimitedShared Shop
Increase economic diversification in an agriculture-dependent community through the establishment of a cooperative ‘shared shop’ for micro businesses in Donald.
Donald$32,960
Rural Financial Counselling Service Victoria Wimmera South West IncResilient Small Businesses
Deliver capacity building activities where local people and communities have opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought in remote, rural and regional Australia through the establishment of a small business resilience network targeted at new, young and Indigenous business owners.
Mildura$41,200
Millewa Advisory GroupMillewa SHIM Shed
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose, and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future droughts through the establishment of a community gathering space in the Millewa district.
Millewa$17,304
Victoria: Region 29 Wimmera Southern Mallee
Wimmera Southern Mallee Development LimitedCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 29
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Wimmera Southern Mallee region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
VIC Wimmera Southern Mallee Region $44,228
Wimmera Southern Mallee Development Limited Community Connector Program
Improve the capability, coordination and collaboration between networks, other community organisations and sectors through service mapping, gap analysis, resource development and network capability building and service promotion before the next drought hits.
Whole of WSM$133,700
Wimmera Southern Mallee Development Limited (Migrant Settlement Services)Migrant Youth Support
Build depth of social connection, shared cross cultural drought knowledge and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through a drought resilience building program for young migrants.
Horsham, Nhill$50,000
Wimmera Catchment AuthorityRanch Billabong
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging through the revitalisation, and increased visitation of a culturally significant site by the local First Nations and wider community.
Barengi Gadjin Land Council $40,000
West Vic Business IncorporatedCommunity Placemaking
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through capacity building activities where local people and communities have opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought through the establishment of a Place-making network.
VIC Wimmera Southern Mallee Region$46,393
Victoria: Region 32 West Gippsland
Food & Fibre Gippsland IncCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 32
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the West Gippsland region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
VIC West Gippsland Region $96,050
Rural Financial Counselling Service Victoria - Gippsland IncBackbone
Build awareness of and attitudes to drought preparedness at the community level by producing two drought resilience special editions of the Rural and Regional Backbone magazine.
Latrobe Valley, South Gippsland, Wellington, Bass Coast$99,880
Food & Fibre Gippsland IncGated Framework – Community
Build capability in community leaders, networks and organisations to undertake strategic drought resilience planning and future drought preparedness activities through the development of a templated drought preparedness framework.
Baw Baw, Latrobe Valley, South Gippsland, Wellington, Bass Coast$109,978
Gippsland Women's Health IncGendered Violence Prevention – Active Bystander Training
Develop skills, knowledge and capacity to face the unique challenges caused by drought through Active Bystander (Family Violence) training.
Baw Baw, Latrobe Valley, South Gippsland, Wellington, Bass Coast$44,122
Rural Financial Counselling Service Victoria - Gippsland IncADAPT
Increase the reach and activities of community leaders, mentors, networks and organisations driving action on drought resilience by subsidising the delivery of ADAPT wellness program including online training and ongoing mentoring supporting small to medium sized grassroots organisations to access informal wellness support mechanisms at a community level.
Baw Baw, Latrobe Valley, South Gippsland, Wellington, Bass Coast$35,000
Victoria: Region 33 Ovens Murray
AgBiz Assist LimitedCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 33
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Ovens Murray region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
VIC Ovens Murray Region $30,000
Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Fund LtdCommunity Capacity Building
Support capacity building activities where local people and communities have opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought through a community leadership program.
Indigo Shire$95,000
Startup Shakeup LtdDigital Work Skills
Build capacity of local people and communities to develop the skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought through business digital skills training.
Indigo Shire and City of Wangaratta$95,000
AgBiz Assist LimitedWellbeing and Social Connection
Build capacity of local people and communities to develop the skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought through mental health awareness and support activities and training.
Indigo Shire and City of Wangaratta$170,328
Tasmania: Region 34 North and North West
Rural Business Tasmania IncCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 34
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the North and North West region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
TAS North and North west Region $47,000
Southern Farming Systems LtdEmpowering Rural Youth to Build Capacity in Tasmanian Rural Communities
Build depth of social connection and increase skills, knowledge and understanding of the risks posed by drought and climate change through tailored drought related events for three distinctive climates in the region.
Scottsdale, Ulverstone, Campbell Town$102,000
Rural Business Tasmania IncLocal Communities Volunteer Project
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and long-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought by connecting volunteer-based community organisations with young people in the region.
Fingal, Deloraine, Scottsdale, Whitemark$114,084
Tasmanian LeadersDrought Resilient Impact Preparedness (DRIP)
Build capacity of local people and communities to develop the skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought through a targeted leadership program.
TAS North and North West Region $99,709
RANT ArtsClose Up: Drought Preparedness
Build awareness of and attitudes to drought preparedness at the community level through the creation of accessible educational videos.
Devonport, Burnie, Latrobe, Meander Valley$31,059
Tasmania: Region 35 South Region
University of TasmaniaCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 35
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the South region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
TAS South Region $38,778
Rural Business Tasmania IncLocal Community Volunteer Project
Build a depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought by connecting volunteer-based community organisations with young people in the region.
TAS South Region $100,000
Southern Regional Natural Resource Management AssociationIgniting Community
Build culturally informed drought preparedness and social connection through a shared sense of purpose, which can be drawn upon in future drought through a series of cultural burn workshops.
Southern Tasmania$100,000
Reconciliation Council of Tasmania LimitedYouth Mob
Build depth of social connection, awareness of and attitudes to drought preparedness at the community level by developing land management skills of young First Nations people.
Clarence and Sorell Municipality$82,960
Tasmanian Small Business Council IncTasmania Small Business Community Resilience Project
Build the capacity of local people and small business to develop the skills and knowledge to face the unique challenges caused by drought through a series of business workshops and field trips.
Dunalley, Triabunna, Swansea$90,000

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 futuredrought@frrr.org.au.

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 www.frrr.org.au/drought-preparedness.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
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.
Hawker$73,750
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.
Quorn$35,000

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) and the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) are looking for a local NFP partner to work with them across the Far West NSW, Northwest QLD and Great Southern WA regions, as part of the Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative Community Impact Program.

The Initiative is funded through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund and is designed to help agriculture-dependent communities across remote, rural and regional Australia enhance their preparedness for drought.

The $29.6 million investment over three years 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).

The place-based Community Impact Program is designed to support community members and not-for-profit organisations to drive local action that helps prepare for drought. There are two main components to the program:

  • Community Impact Grants: There are grants between $200,000 and $500,000 available and FRRR will work with the lead community organisations to develop, co-design and deliver projects that strengthen community networks, capabilities and facilities that support drought preparedness; and
  • Community Leadership Activities: ARLF 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.

FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Climate Solutions Portfolio Lead Nina O’Brien said that this is a great opportunity for community groups in Far West NSW, Northwest QLD and Great Southern in WA to proactively strengthen drought resilience.

“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 facilitate increased social connection, strengthen network opportunities and link capacity building opportunities to ensure widespread local benefit, so that communities are better prepared for the 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,” Ms O’Brien explained.

As part of the program, ARLF will offer a number of optional and 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.

Initial expressions of interest close 8 March 2023, with shortlisted groups commencing co-design in their communities in April and funding confirmed in July 2023. Groups will have until June 2025 to implement the projects.

Interested groups can learn more about the program and lodge their EOI by visiting www.frrr.org.au/impact-program.