Basin farmers, landholders and community organisations are being encouraged to apply for $6 million in grants that will deliver practical on-ground projects that improve the health of rivers and wetlands across the Murray-Darling Basin.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, said the $20 million Murray-Darling Healthy Rivers Program is about putting people, jobs and the environment centre stage.

“The first round of the Healthy Rivers Program will offer $6 million in grants of between $5000 and $50,000 to assist Basin communities to maintain the health of their local streams and wetlands,” Mr 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.”

Federal Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum, said the grants give local organisations a direct role in looking after the Basin.

“These grants will help our local farmers and communities ensure the money is going where it’s needed most to protect the health of our important waterways,” Mr Drum said.

“That could be installing grazing exclusion fences along riverbanks or measures to control invasive plants and animals in wetlands.

“These grants will help stimulate our local, regional economies recovering from the impacts of drought and COVID-19 by supporting local jobs and businesses in the Basin.”

Mr Drum said Basin communities had a say in designing the program.

“It was also important that we engaged the community to ensure funding meets the on-ground needs of our region and I thank everyone who took the time to share their views, which led to real improvements in the guidelines,” Mr Drum said.

“I encourage all farmers, community groups and First Nations communities in the Basin to look at the guidelines for the first round of the Healthy Rivers Program and submit an application if they are eligible.”

Mr Pitt said there would 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,” Mr Pitt said.

Applications will open March 2 and close on March 31.

For more information on how to apply, visit the Community Grants Hub.


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