New programme launched to upskill rural community leaders

Media Release


13 October 2014

Joint release with:

Alexandra Gartmann

Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal Chief Executive Officer

The Australian Government and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) today launched the Creating Inspiring Rural Community Leadership and Engagement (CIRCLE) programme, which will provide resources and grants to build capacity in Australia's regions.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the CIRCLE programme, funded by the Australian Government and developed by FRRR, focuses on fostering community leadership in rural, regional and remote communities.

“When passionate people come together, they can achieve outstanding results enabling the whole community to benefit and prosper,” Mr Truss said.

“Australia's regions have long been associated with our values and sense of identity, but the regions are also the economic engine room of the country, which can only prosper if we develop local solutions essential to sustaining our those communities.

“Increasingly, population growth in other parts of globe, changing diets and bourgeoning middle-classes are driving demand for the things Australia's produce so well, including food, fibre and minerals.

“The CIRCLE programme is another investment the Australian Government is making in ensuring our regional communities are sustainable and geared for growth and prosperity.

“It is critical to encourage local leadership skills and build community capacity to address local issues and keep community spirit alive through initiatives like the CIRCLE programme.”

FRRR Chief Executive Officer Alexandra Gartmann said CIRCLE had three main components: providing training and development materials; delivering a $350,000 grants programme focused on building leadership; and conducting an environmental scan to assess development opportunities.

“It's a proven fact that community-led initiatives with local support have the greatest impact and achieve longer term results,” Ms Gartmann said.

“Community groups can access a series of case study videos and other information online at the FRRR website. Web users can also register to attend the first of a series of CIRCLE webinars at 1.30pm on 28 October, which will feature the Chairman of the Into Our Hands Foundation, Loretta Carroll.

“Leadership takes many forms and similarly CIRCLE is not a one size fits all programme—we have deliberately developed a diverse range of activities to address the different needs of our small, rural, regional and remote communities.”

The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) was established in 2000 with funding from the Australian Government and the Sidney Myer Fund to support the renewal of rural and regional communities in Australia through partnerships with the private sector, philanthropy and governments. For more information about the CIRCLE programme, visit FRRR.