Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR)

First round of Small Network Grants benefit 29 NFPs

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

The District Council of Orroroo Carrieton will use their Small Network Grant for upgrades to the Orroroo Community Church Hall so that it can be used as a family daycare

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

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

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

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

“Far North West Joint Organisation’s Drought Resilience Community Action Group is a great example of this type of initiative. With a $50,000 grant, the Action Group will help the communities of Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett and Cobar to increase knowledge and resource sharing and promote collaboration, so that the NSW Far West region can be better prepared.

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

“We look forward to seeing how these projects help community groups be better connected, informed and resourced in the next drought,” Ms O’Brien said.

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

Potential applicants are encouraged to watch this recorded webinar to learn more about the program and the eligibility requirements: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DHpeNQqPeI.

For more information, including the list of eligible LGAs, and to apply, visit: https://frrr.org.au/small-networks-grants.

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
Small Networks Grants Round 1 - March 2024
Stream 1
NEW SOUTH WALES
Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Fund LtdCommunity Capacity Building Drought-Ready Workshop
Support the Batlow community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a two-day workshop focused on skills development and increasing awareness of drought and drought preparedness activities for up to 20 emerging leaders across the community. This will enable the development and learning initiatives to facilitate professional, personal and leadership-related development and learning to support drought preparation.
Batlow$16,169
Far South Coast Dairy Development Group IncAutumn Break: Supporting Community in Tough Times
Improved communication, social connection, and collaboration within and between communities to support drought preparedness and improved implementation of place-based practices by communities to build and enhance resilience to drought.
Bega$20,000
Junee Community Centre IncDrought Resilience - Junee Mental Health Forum
Support the Junee community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a Mental Health forum, that will facilitate professional, social and community connection to build an understanding of drought and climate change associated risks.
Junee $15,600
Karuah & Great Lakes Landcare IncPreparing for Drought
Support the Stroud community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of two one-day workshops providing education and demonstration in drought preparation for mitigating the impacts of dry spells, facilitating professional, social and community connection to build an understanding of drought and climate change associated risks.
Stoud$20,000
Murdi Paaki Regional Rugby League Council IncCCC Community Wellbeing Project Condobolin
Support the Condobolin community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a Mentally Fit Classroom Initiative and community engagement dinner, enabling the facilitation of professional, social and community connection to build understanding of drought and climate change associated risks.
Condobolin$15,695
Southern New England Landcare LtdCommunity Connection for Outlying Areas
Support the Walcha and Billy Creek / Hernani communities to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of six community events to bring people together, meet neighbours, strengthen networks and increase knowledge and capacity around drought preparedness.
Walcha and Billy Creek$19,984
Western Rural Connect Inc on behalf of Narromine Small Business NetworkRural Women in Business Luncheon
Support the Narromine community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a luncheon for local women with an interest in business that will facilitate professional, social and community connection to build understanding of drought and climate change associated risks.
Narromine$20,000
QUEENSLAND
Boonah & District Landcare Association IncPortable Toilet Project
Support the Boonah community to be more prepared for and resilient to the impacts of drought through the purchase of a portable toilet to use at events enabling small-scale community infrastructure projects to improve connectedness, wellbeing and facilities.
Boonah$6,008
Mitchell & District Landcare Assoc IncAn Honest Look at Drought - A Hard Day's Work
Support the Tooloombilla, Mitchell and Dunkeld communities to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of three, guided workshops in three communities which will include wellbeing and support professionals and government agencies to strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of professional, social, or community networks.
Tooloombilla, Mitchell and Dunkeld$6,285
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
54 31 Collective IncThe 5431 Connect, Create, Celebrate Project
Support the Orroroo community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a series of resilience-building workshops and a Rural Women’s celebration event to strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of professional, social or community networks.
Orroroo$17,630
Agriculture Kangaroo Island IncOn Farm Decision Making Resources & Demonstration Day
Support the Kangaroo Island community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the development of training resources and the delivery of a demonstration day for a new digital weather station and soil probe network, to improve skills and capacity in community risk management, planning and project delivery.
Kingscote$13,830
Coonalpyn Golf Club IncThe Club in the Scrub
Support the Coorong community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the installation of a new roof on the Coonalpyn Golf Clubhouse, a small-scale community infrastructure project to improve connectedness and wellbeing.
Coonalpyn$9,800
District Council of Orroroo Carrieton Orroroo Community Church Hall Upgrades for Family Day Care
Support the Orroroo community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through minor infrastructure works to the Community Church Hall so that it can be used as a family daycare and family-friendly community venue enabling small-scale community infrastructure projects to improve connectedness, wellbeing and facilities.
Orroroo$20,000
TASMANIA
Rural Alive & Well IncDrought Resilience and Suicide Prevention for Rural Communities
Support the communities of Smithton and Wynyard in the North / Northwest Tasmania region to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of early intervention mental health training enabling initiatives to strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of professional, social or community networks.
Smithton and Wynyard$18,000
Spring Bay Suicide Prevention NetworkACT - Accidental Counsellors Together
Support the Triabunna community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through Accidental Counsellor training and other activities that improve skills and capacity in risk management and overall community wellbeing.
Triabunna$7,425
VICTORIA
Birchip Cropping Group IncBCG Main Field Day Secondary Student Stream
Support the Birchip community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the participation of secondary students from the North Central Local Learning and Employment Network (NCLLEN) cluster along with farmers, agronomists, and industry representatives at the Main Field Day in Birchip to help strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of professional, social or community networks.
Birchip$19,130
Common Ground ProjectCommunity Drought Preparedness Network
Support the Freshwater Creek community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the development of a local Community Drought Preparedness Network, expanding into outer regional communities across the farming district to strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of professional, social or community networks.
Freshwater Creek$20,000
Rural Business and Community LtdShared Shops Trail
Support the Donald, Hopetoun, Boort and Quambatook communities to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the establishment of a Shared Shops Trail for up to six Shared Shops to strengthen the coordination of professional, social or community networks.
Donald, Hopetoun, Boort and Quambatook$20,000
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Facey GroupRegional Resilience
Support communities of the Wheatbelt South region to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a community event that facilitates professional, social and community connection to build an understanding of drought and climate change-associated risks.
Wickepin $20,000
Stream 2
NSW Far West
Far North West Joint OrganisationDrought Resilience Community Action Group
Support the Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett and Cobar communities to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the creation of a Drought Resilience Community Action Group subcommittee that aims to strengthen coordination of local organisations and services, increase knowledge and resource sharing and promote collaboration to be better prepared for future drought in Far West NSW.
Bourke, Brewarrina, Walgett and Cobar$50,000
Mallee Sustainable Farming IncCrossroads: Developing Leadership Skills for Rural Women in Isolated Areas of Far-Western NSW
Support the Wentworth and Pooncarie communities to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a tailored leadership initiative for women strengthening the capacity, capability and coordination of community networks.
Wentworth and Pooncarie$50,000
NT Arid Lands
Kulgera Gymkhana Club IncCustom Made Cool Room
Support the Kulgera community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the purchase of a portable cool room with trailer to improve connectedness, wellbeing and usage of local facilities.
Kulgera$27,159
Landcare NT IncThe Arid Lands Agricultural Community Connections Project
Support the community of the Arid Lands region to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a series of four, day-long community events that facilitate professional, social and community connection to build understanding of drought and climate change associated risks.
Alice Springs$50,000
The Arid Lands Environment CentreProject Manager for the Arid Lands Environment Centre and Alice Spring Community Gardens Network
Support the Alice Springs community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the engagement of a Project Manager, enabling initiatives to strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of two community gardens.
Alice Springs$50,000
NT Tablelands
Charles Darwin University Building Social Drought Resilience Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Groups in Katherine
Support communities of the Katherine region to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of three drought resilience focussed workshops and support resources that facilitate professional, social and community connection to build an understanding of drought and climate change associated risks.
Katherine$44,300
Northern Territory Farmers Association IncNorthern Australia Food Futures Regional Roadshow - Preparing For The Future Support the Mataranka community to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a two-day roadshow with approximately 60 attendees that promotes drought preparedness using targeted engagement with agricultural stakeholders and the broader community to facilitate professional, social and community connection to build an understanding of drought and climate change associated risks.Mataranka $47,232
WA Great Southern
Oyster Harbour Catchment Group IncMega Community Toolbox: Improving the Community's Capacity to Connect
Support the communities of the Great Southern region to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of natural resource management and drought-themed learning sessions enabling initiatives that strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of professional, social and community networks.
Kendenup$48,620
Stirlings to Coast Farmers IncFit for Farming - Building Social, Mental, Physical and Financial Fitness
Support the Great Southern region to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through participation in physical health and wellbeing activities / events to strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of professional, social and community networks.
Mt Barker $31,525
Wellstead Community Resource Centre Choosing Wellness in Wellstead
Support the Great Southern region to be more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought through the delivery of a range of learning and wellbeing focussed community activities to strengthen the capacity, capability and coordination of professional, social or community networks.
Wellstead$33,382

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

65 projects funded thanks to Future Drought Fund

FRRR has awarded $3,733,324 to local organisations in 11 regions across Australia for 65 projects that will enhance the capacity and resilience of these agriculture-dependent communities in preparing for the impacts of future drought.

Funded through the Future Drought Fund’s Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative, this is the second tranche of funding delivered through the Initiative’s Community Impact Program. The first tranche was announced last month.

The Initiative is designed to support locally-led organisations across 35 remote, rural and regional regions, identified as vulnerable to the impacts of drought.

Thanks to the Community Impact Program, these organisations will work together to deliver a range of projects, events, initiatives, training, capability building and small-scale community infrastructure projects to assist local people prepare for future droughts.

As part of the Program, a facilitator has been employed in each region to support the lead community partner in engaging and communicating with key stakeholders, helping identify investments that are already happening locally and ensuring that the projects align with the community’s preparedness priorities.

Nina O’Brien, Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lead for FRRR, says that the Foundation is always impressed by the fortitude and adaptability of rural people and their willingness to learn and share innovative ways to build drought resilience.

“The collaborative nature of the Community Impact Program has been well received by local groups. They have really stepped up, coming together to shape local solutions to increase understanding and provide practical solutions to increasing drought preparedness that make sense at a local community level.

“With the Australian Government’s support, these grants will create opportunities for these agriculture-dependent communities to increase social connection, strengthen network opportunities and identify and adopt innovative and transformative ways to build drought resilience.

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

As part of the program, each region can also access tailored Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) leadership development activities.

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.

A detailed list of grant recipients and their preparedness projects is below.

Other elements of the Future Drought Fund’s Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative are also underway, including a Mentoring program, being led by ARLF. 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, there will be small grants on offer in areas that aren’t covered by these Community Impact Program grants, which will open early next year.

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

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

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
New South Wales: Region 02 Murray
Holbrook Landcare GroupCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 02
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Murray region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Murray NSW Region $80,970
Holbrook Landcare GroupThe Holbrook Loooong Lunch for Community Resilience
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose, and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through the Holbrook Loooong Lunch drought preparedness Networking event.
Holbrook, Greater Hume Shire Council$23,821
Holbrook Landcare GroupHolbrook Drought Preparedness Community Planning Workshop
Build capability in community leaders, networks and organisations to undertake strategic drought resilience planning and future drought preparedness activities through hosting a facilitated workshop and networking dinner.
Holbrook and Culcairn, Greater Hume Shire Council$13,125
Corowa District LandcareCorowa Community Nursery
Build depth of social connection, awareness of and attitudes to drought preparedness at the community level by establishing a community volunteer plant propagation program which will distribute Indigenous plants to grow in the local community.
Federation Council, Berrigan Shire$30,920
Corowa District LandcareCultural Awareness Training and Cultural Tour
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through delivering on Country culture walks, cultural awareness workshops and information sharing drought preparedness events.
Federation Council$9,239
Yanco Creek and Tributaries Advisory Council (YACTAC)Chicks in the Sticks
Increase skills, knowledge and understanding of the risks posed by drought and climate change through field day events that focus on enabling women living in a geographically vast region to network, as well as building depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging.
Jerilderie, Murrumbidgee Council, Moulamein, Murray River Council$40,176
Rice Growers Association of AustraliaConnecting the Community to Connect to Country
Improve capability, coordination and collaboration between networks, other community organisations and sectors that can be drawn upon in future drought through establishing a Community of Practice that brings together service providers, community groups and businesses, as an avenue to collaborate, host training, share information and resources.
Deniliquin, Edward River Council$39,650
Western Murray Land Improvement GroupInland Delta – Connection to the Community
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through facilitating a community tour of a culturally significant local site, host tours of wetlands and showcase local industries, produce and art.
Murray River Council$50,806
Southern GrowersFinley Community BBQ Trailer
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 fit-for-purpose barbeque trailer as a new mobile meeting place.
Berrigan Shire; Jerilderie, Murrumbidgee Council; Blighty, Edward River Council$32,000
West Hume LandcareWalla & Walbundrie Weeds Warriors & Cultural Sites Recognition Training
Build depth of social connection and increase skills, knowledge and understanding of the risks posed by drought and climate change through workshops that will share tools and techniques to address rapid weed escalation as well as First Nation Elders' knowledge sharing on protecting cultural sites.
Greater Hume Shire Council$14,586
Riverine PlainsRiverine Plains Innovation Expo
Build depth of social connection and increase skills, knowledge and understanding of the risks posed by drought and climate change by delivering expo events, awareness and education activities.
Federation Council$16,000
Hay Trees on the Plains Landcare IncNari Nari Cultural Burn Workshop
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through delivering a cultural burn workshop, which will also enhance community and landowners' awareness of First Nations cultural burn practices and share knowledge on enhancing native ground coverage for future drought preparedness.
Hay Shire $13,651
New South Wales: Region 04 North-West
Northern Slopes Landcare Association IncorporatedCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 04
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Central West region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
North-West NSW Region$45,090
Northern Slopes Landcare Association IncorporatedGulf Creek Hall
Improve access and utilisation of community infrastructure by making minor repairs to the community managed Gulf Creek Hall, which will enhance the space and facilities for community groups to gather, function and support their local community in times of drought.
Gulf Creek, Gwydir Shire$10,000
Northern Slopes Landcare Association IncorporatedTLC Nursery Project
Build awareness of and attitudes to drought preparedness at the community level by re-establishing a community nursery in Bingara, creating a space for people to come together, share knowledge and learn plant propagation skills through workshops.
Gwydir Shire$24,963
Country Women's Association of NSWNorth Star CWA Hall Project
Improve access and greater utilisation of community infrastructure, enhancing the space and facilities for community groups to gather, function and support their local community in times of drought by enhancing disability and mobility access through installing a ramp entryway to the community managed North Star CWA Hall rooms.
Gwydir Shire$10,000
Tamworth Regional Landcare AssociationTamworth Pride
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 in remote, rural and regional Australia, and awareness through workshops, field day events and mental health first aid training that specifically cater to the needs of LGBTQIA+ individuals and their allies.
Tamworth Region$26,240
Tamworth Regional Landcare AssociationIntrepid Landcare Tamworth
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 in remote, rural and regional Australia through establishing an Intrepid Landcare group which will provide an avenue for youth.
Tamworth Region$36,996
Northern Slopes Landcare Association IncorporatedLadies' Horsemanship Weekend
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through hosting a drought preparedness event with a guest speaker and dinner.
Gunnedah Shire$4,200
Wee Waa Local Aboriginal Land CouncilCulturally Significant Drought Resilience
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through delivering events that promote culturally significant drought resilience techniques such as cultural burn workshops, as well as hosting formal training and informal activities through Caring for Country drop-in sessions.
Gwydir Shire$61,960
Rotary Club of GunnedahHealth and Wellbeing
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through expanding on the long-running Gunnedah Gallop community fitness run, delivering drought preparedness-focused positive mental and physical health and wellbeing activities.
North-West NSW Region$6,000
Northern Slopes Landcare Association IncorporatedWomen's and Men's Catch Ups
Improve capability, coordination and collaboration between networks, other community organisations and sectors that can be drawn upon in times of drought through women's and men's events increasing awareness of and familiarity with local services.
Tamworth $44,892
Northern Slopes Landcare Association IncorporatedNorthwest Rural Leaders and Support Services Network
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought and improve capability, coordination and collaboration between networks, other community organisations and sectors, through the establishment of the Northwest Rural Leaders and Support Services Network and relevant resources.
Moree Plains Shire$8,579
Northern Slopes Landcare Association IncorporatedMoree Women on Country
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through on Country workshops, which will provide opportunities to share cultural knowledge and drought preparedness information.
Gunnedah Shire$12,617
Tamworth Regional Landcare AssociationUpper Namoi Water in the Landscape Initiative Field Days
Build depth of social connection and capability in community leaders, networks and organisations to undertake strategic drought resilience planning and future drought preparedness activities through hosting field days in Wallabadah and Duri, which will showcase innovative and transformative on-farm practices to reduce the impacts of drought.
Gwydir Shire$8,790
Queensland: Region 06 Central West
Central Western QLD Remote Area Planning and Development BoardCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 06
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Central West region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Queensland Central West Region$31,111
Western Queensland Drought CommitteeWQDC Legacy & Future – Settling the Dust
Build capability in community leaders, networks and organisations to undertake strategic drought resilience planning and future drought preparedness activities and build organisational networks across the region through a mobile drought information hub offering community-based resources.
Barcaldine, Barcoo, Blackall, Tambo, Boulia, Diamantina, Longreach, Winton$252,076
Central Western QLD Remote Area Planning and Development BoardWoven Stories
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through local arts-led events.
Barcaldine, Barcoo, Blackall, Tambo, Boulia, Diamantina, Longreach, Winton$123,123
Western Australia: Region 16 Gascoyne
Gascoyne Catchments Group IncCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 16
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Gascoyne region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Gascoyne Region$35,000
Gascoyne Catchments Group IncConnection Across the Gascoyne
Build depth of social connection and increase skills, knowledge and understanding of the risks posed by drought and climate change through workshops that share drought resilience approaches to land practices and wellbeing.
Carnarvon, Exmouth, and Upper Gascoyne$205,000
Carnarvon School of the Air P&C Social Connection for Young Children and Their Parents
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through strengthening a network of remote children and families.
Carnarvon$6,000
Western Australia: Region 17 Wheatbelt Central East
Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management IncorporatedCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 17
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Wheatbelt Central East region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Wheatbelt Central East Region $49,839
North Eastern Wheatbelt Travel AssociationEvents Officer
Build capability, coordination and collaboration between networks, other community organisations and sectors in the local community that can be drawn upon in future drought through volunteer organisation capability building,
Dowerin, Koorda, Mount Marshall, Mukinbudin, Nungarin, Trayning, Westonia, Wyalkatchem$63,554
Town Team MovementWheatbelt Rising
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 establishing a Town Teams in the Wheatbelt to undertake training, develop resources and host activities.
Bruce Rock, Dowerin, Kellerberrin, Koorda, Mount Marshall, Merredin, Mukinbudin, Nungarin, Tammin, Trayning, Westonia, Wyalkatchem, Yilgarn$63,500
Wheatbelt Beyond Youth MentoringWheatbelt Beyond Youth Mentoring
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 in remote, rural and regional Australia through a youth mentoring program that strengthens social support systems, mitigates impacts of social and physical isolation, and boosts educational and wellbeing outcomes.
Kellerberrin, Mukinbudin, Narembeen$96,250
Merredin and Districts Farm Improvement GroupAgribusiness Network
Build 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 establishing an Agribusiness and Mentoring Program which will foster a collective knowledge base, strengthen local networks and provide opportunities to learn and share through events.
Merredin, Nungarin$32,000
Meridian Regional Arts IncorporatedMeridian Regional Arts
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through delivering workshops, wellbeing and social support.
Merredin, Bruce Rock, Nungarin$85,564
Western Australia: Region 18 Wheatbelt South
Corrigin Farm Improvement GroupCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 18
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Wheatbelt South region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Wheatbelt South Region$73,687
Shire of West ArthurEconomic / Business Diversification
Improve capability, coordination and collaboration between networks, other community organisations and sectors that can be drawn upon in future drought through networking sessions, information, events and through the increase in the utilisation of community infrastructure.
Darkan, Bruce Rock$106,437
Lake Grace Community Resource CentreYouth Events and Network
Build capability in community leaders, networks and organisations to undertake strategic drought resilience planning and future drought preparedness activities through the establishment of an informal youth network, activities and events, which will build capabilities of future leaders.
Darkan, Corrigin, Lake Grace, Pingelly$52,277
Corrigin Farm Improvement GroupNext Generation Volunteers
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 in remote, rural and regional Australia through delivering leadership workshops and volunteering opportunities for emerging leaders.
Wheatbelt South Region$122,239
Western Australia: Region 20 Mid-West
Northern Agricultural Catchments Council Incorporated Community Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 20
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Mid-West region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Mid-West Region $95,296
Northern Agricultural Catchments Council Incorporated Maintaining Community Capacity
Improve capability, coordination and collaboration between networks, other community organisations and sectors that can be drawn upon in future drought through training to build capacity and leadership of local volunteer organisations.
Yuna, Morowa, Mingenew, Murchison, Wiluna$149,857
Southern Rangelands Pastoral AllianceSupport to Capture Peer-to-Peer Learning
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought; through facilitation of peer-to-peer knowledge sharing through podcasts and virtual field days.
Murchison, Wiluna $40,470
Midwest Food Industry Alliance Healthy Lifestyles Community Events
Increase skills, knowledge and understanding of the risks posed by drought and climate change through community events focused on locally based food production and adaptive solutions to food consumption.
Yalgoo, Murchison, Wiluna, Chapman Valley, Northampton, Mingenew$63,000
South Australia: Region 25 Murraylands and Riverland
Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland IncorporatedCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 25
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Murraylands and Riverland region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Murraylands and Riverland Region $69,000
Ngarrindjeri Empowered CommunitiesMardawi Community Project
Build depth of social connection between Ngarrindjeri women, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through Elders sharing knowledge and skills of cultural practices, providing opportunities to build social and economic resilience.
Coorong, Murray Bridge, Southern Mallee$48,655
Our Town BerriRiver Families First
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through the establishment of a peer network to empower young parents.
Berri, Berri Barmera$85,000
Loxton Chamber of CommerceCollective Business in Loxton
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 in remote, rural and regional Australia, through workshops, initiatives and resource development that supports community based, collective economic diversification.
Karoonda East Murray, Loxton Waikerie, Mid Murray$88,000
Mallee Sustainable FarmersRisky Business – Sustainable Mallee Farming
Build capability, coordination, information sharing and collaboration between professional, social or community networks, other community organisations and sectors in local communities that can be drawn upon in future drought through the purchase of a barbeque trailer and delivery of farm expos.
Karoonda East Murray, Mid Murray, Murray Bridge, Southern Mallee$73,000
South Australia: Region 26 Limestone Coast
Limestone Coast Food & Agribusiness Cluster LtdCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 26
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Limestone Coast region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Limestone Coast Region $51,000
Mackillop Farm Management GroupSkill Up: Helping Community Organisations Govern
Improve capability, coordination and collaboration between networks, other community organisations and sectors that can be drawn upon in future drought through the delivery of governance workshops.
Grant, Kingston, Mt Gambier, Naracoorte-Lucindale, Robe, Tatiara, Wattle Range $75,000
Limestone Coast Food & Agribusiness Cluster Ltd35 Under 35
Build capability in community leaders, networks and organisations to undertake strategic drought resilience planning and future drought preparedness activities through a program for youth that supports upskilling, networking and mentoring activities.
Grant, Kingston, Mt Gambier, Naracoorte-Lucindale, Robe, Tatiara, Wattle Range $147,550
Limestone Coast Landscape BoardWalking the Seasons
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through tailoring bi-monthly art workshops run by the Burrandies and Ngarrindjeri Aboriginal Corporations.
Coorong, Grant, Kingston, Mt Gambier, Naracoorte-Lucindale, Robe, Tatiara, Wattle Range $39,823
WOTLBuilding Rural Women's Connection and Capacity for Drought Preparation
Improve capability, coordination and collaboration between networks, other community organisations and sectors that can be drawn upon in future drought through a capacity-building program for women in two locations.
Keith, Millicent$47,000
Australian Migrant Resource Centre Incorporated Migrant Integration and Volunteering for Impact Exchange
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through engaging recent migrants in the local community and agricultural industry.
Bordertown, Naracoorte, Mt Gambier$49,000
Victoria: Region 30 East Gippsland
Gippsland Agricultural GroupCommunity Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 30
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the East Gippsland region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
East Gippsland Region $54,768
Gippsland Agricultural GroupDrought Preparedness Decision Making Trigger Plans
Build depth of social connection and capability in community leaders, networks and organisations to undertake strategic drought resilience planning and future drought preparedness activities through training and community planning sessions.
East Gippsland$130,200
Southern Farming SystemsDrought Preparedness Skills Workshops
Build depth of social connection and capability in community leaders, networks and organisations to undertake strategic drought resilience planning and future drought preparedness activities through a series of workshops focused on drought preparedness at a community level.
East Gippsland$42,300
Victoria: Region 31 Goulburn
Riverine Plains Incorporated Community Partner Lead Organisation (CPLO): Region 31
Strengthen drought preparedness and drive local action in the Goulburn region through the coordination of Community Impact Program activities and evaluation administration.
Goulburn Region $69,887
Many Mobs Indigenous CorporationYarrawonga Indigenous Festival
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought at the community level through a cultural festival to revive the town as a traditional meeting place for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
Moira Shire$45,100
Gecko CLaNSchools Program: What Happens in Drought?
Increase skills, knowledge and understanding of the risks posed by drought and climate change through a pilot education program for secondary school students on the impacts of drought and family mental health.
Benalla, Moira, Strathbogie$65,600
Riverine Plains IncLadies' Luncheon
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through hosting Ladies' Lunches in 2023 and 2024 that align with International Rural Women's Day, reducing social isolation and building local networks and social supports for women in this remote region.
Moira$44,800
Riverine Plains IncYouth in Ag
Build depth of social connection, a shared sense of purpose and longer-term community belonging that can be drawn upon in future drought through the facilitation of two mentoring and networking events for youth in the region and two 'Youth in AG' dinner events.
Moira$73,950
Hughes Creek Catchment Collaborative (Landcare Victoria Inc)Citizen Science
Build depth of social connection and 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 in remote, rural and regional Australia, through coordination of citizen science programs.
Murrindindi, Strathbogie$22,140

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.