Barnaby Joyce

Further drought support for Manilla, Inverell

20 May 2020

The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government is continuing to back drought-affected communities, with two projects in the New England receiving support under the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal’s Tackling Tough Times Together program. 

Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said the Government was pleased to support the Foundation’s crucial work of stimulating regional economies while strengthening social connections in drought-affected communities.

“The Tackling Tough Times Together program has a range of benefits, including keeping money flowing through shops and suppliers and creating jobs for communities which have been disadvantaged by drought,” Mr Joyce said.  

In the New England, projects to be funded under this latest round of grants include:

-    $27,500 - Manilla Community Renewable Energy Inc – for its Renewable Manilla Festival. The festival aims to increase social connections and provide activities that support learning.
-    $20,000 - Delungra Public School - Exploring the Ocean Landscape excursion. The week-long excursion to Lake Ainsworth for students of Delungra and Gilgai Public Schools aims to enhance social and educational participation of children disadvantaged through drought.

“Once the worst of COVID-19 is over and it’s safe to proceed with events and activities like this, the funding being provided now will support the social activities our drought-hit communities in the New England so desperately need.”

Mr Joyce said it complemented additional infrastructure work already in planning or underway around the New England.

“For Manilla, this recent funding comes on the back of more than $120,000 in Australian Government support for its showground upgrade and more money for town improvements like new footpaths funded through our Drought Communities Program,” he said.

“In Inverell we’re delivering millions of dollars in invaluable infrastructure projects like the saleyards upgrade and a new aboriginal health centre.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said rural and regional Australia is continuing to show amazing spirit and resilience as they support each other through these tough times. 

“Large parts of regional Australia have received some good rainfall over the past few months, with many farmers having the best start to the winter sowing season in years, but the drought is far from over,” Mr McCormack said. 
“We are absolutely committed to standing side by side with these hard-working communities – whether it’s through drought, the recent bushfires or the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr McCormack said.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said projects supported through the program help rural communities cope with the stress of drought on families and businesses while contributing to the local economy and infrastructure renewal. 

“Many projects funded this round will help reduce volunteer fatigue, enhance social participation and boost the operations of local not-for-profit organisations, which are all crucial to drought-affected regional communities,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Standing together is important now more than ever and communities can rest assured the Government continues to have their back, with money already flowing through rolling grants as part of our more than $8 billion drought support package.”

More information on the Tackling Tough Times Together program can be found by visiting the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website at www.regional.gov.au/regional/programs  

(ENDS)