Basin farmers, landholders and community organisations in Victoria will be able to apply for a share of $6 million in grants to deliver practical on-ground projects that improve the health of rivers and wetlands in the Murray–Darling Basin.
Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, said the $20 million Murray–Darling Healthy Rivers Program opens tomorrow (March 3) and is about putting people, jobs and the environment centre stage.
“The first round for the Healthy Rivers Program will offer $6 million in grants of between $5,000 and $50,000 to assist Basin communities to maintain the health of their local streams and wetlands,” Minister Pitt said.
“While eligible projects will look different across the Basin, they will all focus on the health of the river and will benefit the Basin, its people, industries and particularly the environment.”
Wodonga-based Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie said the grants give local farmers and communities a direct role, and say, in looking after the Basin.
“There’s a broad range of eligible activities and projects such as farmers installing grazing exclusion fences along rivers, installing a tank or trough as alternative water sources, or pest control that’s damaging native vegetation. Community groups could, for example, revegetate local wetlands for birdlife, stabilise or tidy up riverbanks, or re-snagging areas of the river to provide habitat for the iconic Murray cod.
“The beauty of this program is that it sets out to deliver environmental benefits without reducing farmers’ access to irrigation water.
“These grants will also help stimulate local and regional economies recovering from the impacts of drought and COVID-19 by supporting local jobs and businesses in the Basin.
“I encourage all farmers and community groups in Victorian Basin communities to look at the guidelines for the first round of the Healthy Rivers Program and submit an application if they are eligible.”
Minister Pitt said there will be further opportunities under the program.
“Two further rounds will open in July 2021, offering a further $14 million in grants to support economic recovery through investing in local knowledge to improve river health,” he said.
Applications will open Wednesday and will close on 31 March 2021. For more information on how to apply, visit the Community Grants Hub.