Murray-Basin councils get funding call

By Staff Writer

The Federal Government is calling for proposals from local councils in the Murray-Darling Basin to help them better deal with the huge challenges posed by a future with less water.

Proposals from Basin communities for Government funds are being sought to help them assess the impact of less water on their local area, and undertake community-wide planning for the future.

This initiative is part of the $200 million Strengthening Basin Communities program to assist local governments in the Murray-Darling Basin plan for reduced water availability and deliver associated local water saving initiatives.

Climate Change and Water Minister Senator Penny Wong said local governments would be able to use guidelines to lodge the applications for the planning funding.

"With this funding, local councils, or groups of local councils, will be better able to update existing plans or develop new plans that better prepare their communities for the impacts of climate change," she said.

"The plans developed through this funding round may form the basis for further applications for funding for local community water-saving initiatives under a later stage of the program.

"I encourage all local governments in the Murray-Darling Basin to apply before the closing date of 21 August 2009."

According to the Federal Government, the announcement of a program to assist Murray-Darling communities confirmed the commitment made between the Rudd Government and Senator Xenophon as part of the passage of the Nation Building and Jobs Plan through the Senate earlier this year.

Under the program, funding will be reimbursed based on actual costs incurred up to a maximum of $200,000 per local government area.

A consortium or regional organisation will be able to pool funds for each local government area involved, up to a cap of $800,000 for four or more councils. Projects must be completed within 24 months of approval.

The Strengthening Basin Communities program is part of the Australian Government’s $12.9 billion Water for the Future plan.

Guidelines and application forms are available from or by calling 1800 218 478.

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