Federal funding flows to drought affected communities

The Australian Government continues to back communities impacted by and recovering from drought, with 38 new projects sharing in over $1.3 million announced today under Round 22 of the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal’s Tackling Tough Times Together program.

This federal funding injection will be amplified by co-investments that bring the total value of the projects to over $3.3 million.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the Government was continuing to back regional and farming communities still feeling the impacts of drought.

“As a proud regional Australian, I know only too well how long the impacts of drought are felt, and with the additional economic pinch of COVID-19 it’s important now more than ever that we keep standing side by side with those hard-hit communities,” Deputy Prime Minister Joyce said.

“This initiative funds economy-boosting community events like regional fairs or arts shows, smaller infrastructure upgrades that improve communal amenities, volunteer facilities or accessibility, or purchasing vital equipment to bolster local operations and existing projects.

“These projects not only provide much-needed economic stimulus to communities but also help reduce social isolation, drive leadership development and skills training, increase social and educational participation, address disadvantage for youth, reduce volunteer fatigue, and build local capacity.

“Our regions and agricultural hubs are essential to our national identity and economy, so when our farmers and their communities face the realities of taps running dry, it’s vital we rally around them to tackle those challenges together – and that’s exactly what this program is doing.”

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said the Australian Government has committed a total of $15 million to the Tackling Tough Times Together program, with $13.7 million of this already out the door to make over 420 projects a reality for drought-affected communities.

“We’ve already seen fantastic benefits flow from the projects supported so far, I can’t wait to see this next round build on that legacy to achieve even more in our communities,” Minister Littleproud said.

“This round is funding local priority projects such as a new Men’s Shed in Lake Grace in Western Australia, installing inclusive play areas, an Indigenous yarning circle and shaded picnic tables at Kingaroy State School in Queensland, and fitting out a professional museum in Murgon in Queensland to deliver a world-class visual attraction for tourists and education.

“It will also support community events such as extra RuralCONNECT Activity Days for isolated children and families in Louth, and Stanthorpe’s Food and Wine Fiesta.

“This Government has provided over $11 billion since 2018-19 to assist farmers, regional businesses and communities experiencing drought, and this is just one commitment that provides immediate support to those communities as they weather and bounce back from the devastating effects of drought.

“The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal has done a marvellous job delivering the Tackling Tough Times Together grants program, and I extend my appreciation for its work to help provide Australian Government and donor support to rural and regional communities.”

More information on the Tackling Tough Times Together program and the latest round of recipients can be found on the Foundation’s website at https://frrr.org.au/TTTT or by visiting the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website at www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs.

Media contacts:

Deputy Prime Minister – Antony Perry | 0477 971 654 | Antony.Perry@infrastructure.gov.au

Minister Littleproud – Douglas Ferguson | 0455 448 985 |

Douglas.Ferguson@awe.gov.au