Grants to get drought-ready

November 18, 2023 BY

Recovery: Bridgewater on Loddon was hit hard by the October 2022 floods, now a national funding program is set to pay for a redevelopment of the town’s community hub redevelopment. Photo: BRENDAN McCARTHY/ AAP IMAGE

THE Foundation for Rural Regional Renewal has announced funding for drought preparedness initiatives across the region as part of the organisation’s Community Impact Program.

Four local projects will share in $450,000 as part of the announcement.

“All these projects have come about thanks to a robust, locally led co-design process,” said FRRR disaster resilience and recovery lead Nina O’Brien.

“In the Loddon Campaspe region 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, there are four projects that will be supported in this region.”

Local projects receiving grants are the Bridgewater Community Hub redevelopment, including a community garden and sensory garden, Let’s Talk About the Weather education program, and knowledge-sharing workshops.

“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,” Ms O’Brien said.

“The final project will focus on building and strengthening networks and building capacity of individual leaders in climate resilience.”

The FRRR Community Impact Program is delivered in partnership with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and has received backing from the Australian Government Future Drought Fund.

Some locals will also take part in a leadership development activity which will be tailored to the community.

“We’re already working with the local community partner lead organisation to work out the best timing for the various activities,” said Australian Rural Leadership Foundation chief executive, Matt Linnegar.

“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.”