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

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Keith Pitt, said the $20 million Murray–Darling Healthy Rivers Program opens tomorrow (March 2) and is about putting people, jobs and the environment centre stage.

“The first round for the Healthy Rivers Program will offer $6 million in grants of between $5,000 and $50,000 to assist Basin communities to maintain the health of their local streams and wetlands,” Minister 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.” Minister Pitt said.

Member for Barker Tony Pasin 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 Pasin said.

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

“In addition, 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 Pasin said.

Tony Pasin 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,”

“I encourage all farmers and community groups 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 Pasin said

Minister Pitt said there will 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.

Applications will open from 2 March and will close on 31 March 2021. For more information on how to apply, visit the Community Grants Hub.