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New portal makes it easier for regional communities to access $64 billion in government grants

Sally Hopman28 September 2021
Firefighter with hose battling blaze

Financial help for regional and remote communities to recover from everything from bushfires to the COVID-19 pandemic is now easier to access thanks to Regional Development Australia’s Grant Funding Finder portal. Photo: Warwick Costin.

It has just become easier for community groups, schools, not-for-profits and businesses in regional and remote areas to access billions of dollars in government funding.

Using Regional Development Australia’s Grant Funding Finder portal, community groups can apply for more than 1000 Federal Government and state government grants, rebates, concessions, awards and scholarships worth $64 billion.

Local councils including Yass Valley Council, Goulburn-Mulwaree Council, Hilltops Council, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, Snowy-Monaro Regional Council and Wingecarribee Shire Council have joined with Regional Development Australia Southern Inland to launch the portal to make accessing available funding simpler.

“Searching Australia’s most comprehensive grant listing is really easy to use and free of charge,” said Yass Valley Council Mayor Rowena Abbey.

“Access to funding is critical for the ongoing development of our region. So if you’re a member of a school, social or sporting group, register now and never miss a grant opportunity again.”

Using the Grant Funding Finder portal will alert potential grant seekers to when applications open, are updated and closed, can track applications, and provide tips and support when applying for grants.

Specific grants for groups affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are also included. For example, support is available for people working from home during the pandemic to help cover additional expenses incurred. This can be claimed at tax time.

A Creative Economy Support package is also available to help production and event businesses which have been unable to put on events because of the pandemic. Funding may be available for them to put on new shows, events, concerts and festivals once social distancing restrictions end.

There’s also a Live Music Australia Program designed to revive live music business ventures in small towns and communities which had to close during the height of the pandemic.

Wagga Wagga during flood event

Regions including Wagga Wagga that were affected by natural disasters such as flooding, should now find it easier to access government assistance through Regional Development Australia’s Grant Funding Finder portal. Photo: Supplied.

Disaster relief, including for floods, bushfires and other natural disasters, is a large component of the program. The assistance includes direct loans to primary producers in a natural disaster area; regional tourism bushfire grants; the Youth Action Program, which assists young people to cope with post-crisis challenges, from mental health issues to employment opportunities; and funds for wildlife and habitat recovery programs.

Previously profitable businesses whose operations have suffered because of COVID-19, may also be eligible for funding assistance under an Export Finance Australia program.

More than $1 billion is available in grants to regional and remote areas of Australia under the Recovery for Regional Tourism project.

There are also hundreds of grants available to regional communities including for help with hiring apprentices; rural financial counselling; a program to support social and economic recovery of regions by attracting domestic and international businesses; and helping individuals become business owners.

To register for the grants, click here.

To access the Grant Funding Finder portal, click here.

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