Communities throughout the Murray-Darling Basin can now apply for a share of $34 million in grants to stimulate job growth and boost economic development under the third round of the Economic Development Program (EDP).
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, said the third round of the EDP, which opens from this Wednesday (March 3), is about putting people, jobs and communities at the heart of the Basin Plan.
“An expansion of the Economic Development Program was a central commitment in the Communities Investment Package I announced in September 2020,” Minister Pitt said.
“Our government has allocated $34 million towards the largest round of the EDP to date, offering grants of between $50,000 and $1 million to fund projects in 38 eligible community areas.”
Wodonga-based Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie said the program will allow Basin communities in northern Victoria determine what best works for them.
“Victorian basin communities are best placed to decide what’s going to work to address their unique challenges, using these grants to provide that practical assistance to boost their local economy, job opportunities and resilience,” she said.
“Past projects in northern Victoria that have been supported in rounds one and two include the Yarrawonga to Burramine Cycling and Walking Trail, redeveloping the Tatura Library, upgrading the Kyabram Fauna Park, Rochester’s tourism and marketing project, Murray Dairy Limited’s Fodder for the Future project, and the Murray Darling Association’s Basin Communities Leadership program.
“So there’s a variety of ways for our local basin communities to diversify economically and I look forward to working closely with them and stakeholder groups over the coming months to ensure anyone interested has the opportunity and support they need to apply for funding under this program.
“I encourage all eligible Basin communities across Victoria to check the guidelines for Round 3 and submit an application if they can.”
Minister Pitt said previous rounds of the program have already delivered real benefits.
“Close to $39 million of funding has already been delivered under Rounds 1 and 2 of the program for a huge range of activities – from thermal hot springs upgrades to business mentoring, ecotourism trails, agritourism projects and aerodrome developments.”
EDP Round 3 grant applications open from March 3 and will close on 12 April 2021.