Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

FRRR, in partnership with Telstra, has awarded $200,000 via 27 grants to not-for-profit organisations (NFPs). The projects will enhance the liveability of these remote, rural and regional communities by embracing new technologies and ways of working to build social capital and digital capabilities.

Collinsville Connect Telecentre was awarded a grant in 2023 to boost digital capability for older people through a cyber security workshop to enhance skills and risk management.

Funded through Telstra’s Connected Communities Grant Program, these grants will fund community-led initiatives that provide access to information, technology, education and facilities to build connected communities that are resilient, sustainable and liveable.

The projects are spread across the country and grants range from $953, which will be used to purchase back-up drives for the computers of staff at Hughenden Kindergarten in Queensland, through to $10,000 for projects like the Kimberley Digital Discovery Program, which will provide innovative digital learning kits and training to students in remote regions of Western Australia.

Loretta Willaton, Regional Australia Executive at Telstra, said Telstra’s Connected Communities Grant Program continues to meet rural Australia’s ongoing need for improved education and access to digital connectivity.

“We launched last year knowing that there was a strong demand for funding to support digital connectivity. This was confirmed by the high levels of interest and we saw similar demand this year, confirming the need for this program.

“We’re proud to be able to support these groups and their grassroots initiatives, which are improving community disaster preparedness, implementing more effective environmental practices and boosting social connection,” Ms Cliffe said.

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said that grant programs, like Telstra’s Connected Communities Grant Program, are key when it comes to enhancing the liveability of remote, rural and regional Australia.

“These grants aren’t just about getting people online; ultimately they’re about providing equitable access to services and boosting the overall liveability of non-metro communities across Australia – particularly remote places where there is often very limited access to digital connectivity. Digital skills and reliable connectivity improve the quality of life for people living in any city or town – it’s no different for people living in remote Australia.

“The positive knock-on impacts that these community initiatives will have when it comes to economic development and social connectedness shows us why funding for these kinds of projects is vital for a vibrant, sustainable remote, rural and regional Australia.

“These grants also highlight the critical need for accessible technologies and digital connectivity to support vulnerable people and places, especially when responding to, recovering from or preparing for disaster or crisis.

“A great example of this is Iluka Community Organisation Planning for Emergencies Inc’s Digital Resilience Initiative. This regional NSW community project will build local resilience and communication by upgrading digital equipment to improve the community’s evacuation procedures and enhance preparedness training,” Ms Egleton said.

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

Burren Progress IncBuild Burren Junction Website
Strengthen community engagement and connection through the creation of a website for Burren Junction to share information for locals and tourists.
Burren Junction$7,115
Iluka Community Organisation Planning for Emergencies (ICOPE) IncDigital Resilience Initiative
Build resilience in communities by upgrading digital equipment to improve communication and evacuation procedures and enhance preparedness training.
Young Minds Thrive IncEmpowering Futures: Digital Community Engagement for Child Development Assessments
Improve organisational efficiency and data sharing to improve education services for children in the Nambucca Valley regional area.
Nambucca Heads$10,000
Care Balonne Association IncMaking Online Opportunities Cyber-safe for Our Residents While Building Capacity
Support cyber-safe access to digital equipment with supply of computers and cyber security training, ensuring community members have use for social and economic needs.
Cherbourg Historical Precinct Group IncDilly Bag: Collective Community Growth
Advance digital technology to enrich visitor experience to Cherbourg Historical Precinct and enable partnership with key stakeholders to promote this significant site.
Community Radio of Wondai Association IncWebsite, Email and Cyber Security Upgrade and Management
Strengthen community engagement and connection through the creation of a website that will enable effective delivery of community service announcements.
Hughenden Kindergarten Association IncBack-up Drives for Staff Computers
Build organisational capacity of Hughenden Kindergarten with computer equipment to support data privacy / security and operational efficiency.
Koah Sports and Social Club IncCommunity Connectivity and Resilience Project
Upgrade an emergency meeting place with essential digital communication equipment to support connectivity and disaster preparedness.
Lockyer Community CentreBuilding Better Connections
Improve digital literacy of the Lockyer community with delivery of digital training and mentoring to build residents' digital capability.
Mackay Regional SES Unit Support Group IncMobile Satellite Data Communication Equipment for New Operational Support Trailer
Equip emergency services with greater digital capability that benefit community via enhanced operational capacity.
North Queensland Wildlife Care IncWildlife Nexus: Enhancing Communication and Connectivity
Boost organisational capacity for improved environmental sustainability practice via upgraded digital communication system.
Yuwi Aboriginal Corporation RNTBCEmergency Preparedness and Social and Technological Coverage for Our Yuwi Youth
Strengthen operational effectiveness in remote areas with satellite communication equipment and provide Indigenous youth with access to digital equipment to improve social outcomes.
Coonalpyn Community Hub IncKeeping Coonalpyn Connected
Foster a more inclusive and connected community by upgrading digital resources utilised by numerous community groups.
Stirling District Soccer Club IncConnectivity Upgrade Project
Boost digital connectivity of a community venue designated as a disaster refuge location by providing free Wi-Fi access.
Yarredi Services IncUpgrade of Telephone System to Better Support Incoming Calls for Crisis Responses
Enhance crisis response facility through digital communication system upgrade to better support victims of domestic violence.
Port Lincoln$8,935
Broadmarsh / Elderslie Progress Association IncConnecting Our Community
Improve digital capacity of a community meeting hall with hardware and website upgrades to foster social connection.
Kingston Neighbourhood HouseKNH Community Digital Support
Enhance an organisation’s digital capacity and capability to ensure well-resourced service provision to community members.
Donald Learning Group IncBuilding Community Operational Capacity with New Technology and Digital Solutions
Boost digital capability of a community centre to host job skill workshops directed towards disadvantaged community members.
Goulburn Valley Family Care IncVolunteer Specific Software Project
Build organisational capacity with volunteer software to support onboarding, communications and learning for better community service delivery.
Great Western Future Committee IncDigitally Enabling the Great Western Future Committee
Build community digital capability through shared digital resources of laptop, IWIFI router, projector etc to enable community organisations with cyber security in their governance and effective project delivery.
Great Western$6,007
Hepburn Shire CouncilInclusive Digital Literacy Program
Improve digital literacy skills of community members through delivery of digital training and mentoring to build capability.
Port Fairy Community Group IncDigital Literacy Drop-in Network
Boost digital skills for vulnerable residents in Port Fairy region by conducting IT training sessions focussed on online safety and digital learning.
Port Fairy$1,020
Rochester Community House IncRochester Text Connect
Build community resilience and disaster preparedness with a digital communication service to deliver information to community members.
Hudson Road Family Centre IncCommunity Meeting Place Digital Upgrade
Enhance organisational digital capabilities to better deliver educational sessions to community groups.
Quinninup Community Association IncGet Quinninup Connected
Build digital literacy skills and capability with skills training workshops and digital equipment that will benefit the broader community accessing services.
Shire of Wyndham East KimberleyKimberley Digital Discovery Program
Provide innovative digital learning kits and training to students in remote regions to develop their digital literacy skills.
The Country Womens Association of Western Australia Inc on behalf of Rocky Gully CWA Building Community Organisation's Operational Capacity with New Technology and Digital Solutions
Improve community facilities with digital communication equipment to enhance functionality and support increased use.
Rocky Gully$9,839