Wong announces $6m for Basin communities

Local governments in the Murray Darling Basin will receive planning grants to help them prepare their communities for a future with less water, the  Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water, Senator Penny Wong, has announced.

Councils will receive second round funding totalling $6 million from the planning component of the $200 million Strengthening Basin Communities Program, Senator Wong said.

“In an era of extended drought and climate change, many communities across the Basin are confronting the social and economic challenges brought about by reduced water availability,” she said.

“Through the Strengthening Basin Communities program, the Rudd Government is helping secure a stronger future for Basin communities.

“In developing their plans, we encourage councils to continue to consult widely with their local communities and to consider how they can best manage water issues arising in their local catchments,” Senator Wong said.

“Not only will these grants support local water planning, they can also be used to help communities develop their own plans for economic growth.”

The announcement follows on from the successful first round of the program, that delivered more than $14 million of funding to 94 councils across the Basin.

It brings the total amount of funding invested under the Strengthening Basin Communities planning component to $20 million.

Councils that did not receive funding in the first round may apply for funding under this new round, and all councils are encouraged to apply whether or not they had received funding in the previous round.

This announcement confirms the commitment negotiated between the Rudd Government and Senator Nick Xenophon as part of the passage of the Nation Building and Jobs Plan through the Senate during 2009.

Applications for the second round will be accepted up until the closing date of 11 June 2010.

For more information visit www.environment.gov.au/water/programs/index.html.

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