Improving the health of our rivers
The Coalition Government is committed to improving the health of rivers in the Murray-Darling Basin, and I was pleased to join some of my National Party colleagues for a few exciting announcements for the Parkes electorate last week.
We are providing $80 million to New South Wales to deliver three projects to create local jobs and support the health of rivers in the northern Basin under the Murray–Darling Basin Plan. This funding will pay to build fishways to improve fish movement in the Barwon-Darling and Border Rivers regions, manufacture and install diversion screens on pumps and pipes at water extraction sites, and construct structures to support the health of the Macquarie Marshes – all directly benefiting communities in the Parkes electorate.
During his visit to Dubbo last week, Water Minister Keith Pitt and I also announced more than $1 million in funding for four projects in the Parkes electorate under the Healthy Rivers Program.
This includes $899,000 for Warrumbungle Shire Council to rehabilitate a two-kilometre stretch of the Castlereagh River in Coonabarabran and $93,250 for OzFish Unlimited to work with traditional owners and recreational fishers to enhance river habitat around Moree by re-snagging the river with 10 habitats for native fish species, controlling woody weeds and planting riparian vegetation.
The other two grants are for private landholders in Condobolin and Eulah Creek to undertake biosecurity and connections works.
In total, these four projects will plant more than 24,000 plants and control 75 hectares for weeds, getting over 100 volunteers of all ages involved in helping our environment.
New veteran wellbeing grants
The Australian Government is investing $27 million to help fund bigger, better and more innovative programs to support the wellbeing of current and former Australian Defence Force personnel and their families.
The new Veteran Wellbeing Grants program will help find and develop new ways to bring veterans together, improve their mental and physical health, and make the difficult transition from military to civilian life easier.
If you’re a community group or organisation with a good idea for improving veteran wellbeing, I encourage you to apply for this program so we can provide even more support for the men and women who have served this nation.
Applications will open next month. More information will be released on the Community Grants Hub website when applications open.
Grants open for soil carbon measurement projects
A key to unlocking the untapped potential of storing carbon in our soils is to bring down the cost of soil carbon measurement. The Coalition Government recognises this and is offering grants of between $100,000 and $20 million for projects to lower the cost of measuring carbon stored in soil.
I encourage eligible innovators and farmers in the Parkes electorate to apply for these grants, which support proof of concept, validation or early stage commercialisation activities relating to the development of lower-cost, accurate technological solutions for soil carbon measurement.
Applications are open for four weeks, with a further round to be released in mid-2022. More information is available at https://business.gov.au/grants-and-programs/national-soil-carbon-innovation-challenge-development-and-demonstration
Scholarships for rural students
Students from the Parkes electorate could be eligible for a scholarship worth up to $18,000 to undertake tertiary education in 2022, with the latest round of the Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships (RRES) program now open.
These scholarships are a fantastic opportunity for students from regional and remote communities to access financial support to complete further study, whether it be a Certificate IV or a PhD level qualification.
I encourage all students from the Parkes electorate to check their eligibility and apply for an RRES scholarship. For more information, visit https://www.qtac.edu.au/rres-program.