Funding for pests and weeds
Applications are open now for a new grants program that offers funding for pest and weed management projects.
All 18 local councils in the Parkes electorate can apply via a competitive process to deliver projects under the Communities Combating Pests and Weed Impacts During Drought Program – Biosecurity Management of Pests and Weeds. New South Wales has been allocated $3 million in funding under the Program, and applications close on 15 February 2019.
The objectives of this program are to assist communities manage the impact of wild dogs, vertebrate pest animals and weeds during drought (including the impact on agricultural production), stimulate economic activity and local employment, and provide long-term benefits to the communities where the projects take place. There is great scope for councils in my electorate to put forward strong proposals for pest and weed management projects.
I would encourage all councils to read the program’s Guidelines and more information at: www.communitygrants.gov.au/grants/communities-combating-pests-and-weed-impacts-during-drought-prog
Independent review into fish kills
The Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud, has recently announced a panel of scientists will conduct an independent assessment of fish deaths in the Lower Darling.
The panel will be chaired by Professor Rob Vertessy from the University of Melbourne, former head of the Bureau of Meteorology and an eminent water and climate scientist. He will pick his own panel independently.
The panel will consider the likely causes of the fish deaths and the effectiveness of fish management responses. Prevention of similar events in the future will be looked at, such as early warnings of heightened risks from drought and flood events.
This assessment will inform the Murray-Darling Native Fish Management and Recovery Strategy, which the Minister has requested Basin governments commit to for $5 million, to protect native fish populations in the long-term.
The panel will provide the Agriculture Minister with an interim report in February, and the final report by the end of March which will be made public. I look forward to reviewing the findings once available.
The terms of reference for the inquiry can be found on the Murray-Darling Basin Authority website – https://www.mdba.gov.au/
Digital makeover for small businesses
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities across the Parkes electorate, and digital technology is key to unlocking immense business opportunities.
Small and family businesses can now put forward their strong applications for a digital transformation valued at up to $20,000.
100 small businesses from diverse sectors across Australia will be chosen to receive a digital transformation, which will include the hardware, software and digital skills training required for them to thrive in their particular field.
Fifteen of these businesses will be selected to become a ‘Digital Champion’ – to undergo their transformation in the public spotlight, with mentoring assistance from high profile Australian entrepreneurs including Larry Kestelman (founder of Dodo internet), Dr Sam Prince (founder of hospitality chain Zambrero) and Michelle Bridges (fitness trainer).
For more information and to apply to become a Digital Champion, a Digital Mentor, or a corporate partner visit www.digitalchampions.jobs.gov.au.