Legislative Council: Wednesday, October 18, 2023


Thriving Communities Program

The Hon. J.E. HANSON (14:52): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister inform the chamber about the announcement of the latest round of grant recipients from the Thriving Communities Program?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:53): I thank the honourable member for his question. The Thriving Communities Program is an important part of the Thriving Regions Fund, offering small grants of between $20,000 to $50,000 for projects which build social wellbeing, resilience and greater community participation.

The program has been designed to allow community groups—for example, show societies, agricultural bureaus, chambers of commerce or registered charities—to apply for grant funding for new or improved infrastructure, plant and equipment, improved access to services and programs, and events with wellbeing outcomes.

One of the advantages of the program is that it doesn't set out a long list of prescriptive criteria which applicants must meet to be eligible but aims to be flexible in allowing grassroots community groups to identify and design local projects and programs which most appropriately address community needs and aspirations. The program also endeavours to have a spread across regional South Australia, and the successful grant recipients for round 4 reflect this ambition, with projects spread from the Upper Spencer Gulf through to the Barossa, McLaren Vale and the Riverland.

In addition to this geographical diversity, the projects and programs included in this grant round also offer very different contributions to their local communities. From the purchase of equipment to support a healthy meal preparation program administered by the Bungala Aboriginal Corporation to the construction or upgrade of shelter facilities at a childcare centre in the Barossa Valley and a community garden in Willunga, these initiatives respond to the specific needs and aspirations of regional communities.

Recently, I had the opportunity and indeed the privilege to visit the two Riverland community groups which were awarded grants in this latest round of funding: the Loxton Netball Club and the Renmark branch of the Girl Guides. The Loxton Netball Club was excited about receiving $38,000 to support the costs of a fully enclosed, sheltered and inclusive playground, which I am told will be capable of containing children within the play area safely, protecting them from the harsh Riverland sun and providing inclusive play spaces, such as a sound arch where children can sit and make music.

The Renmark Girl Guides will receive $50,000 for significant restoration works of their hall, which currently hosts 15 guides between the ages of five and 14. I am advised that these works will actually help the organisation to become financially self-sufficient and, as a consequence, be in a better position to continue their work of mentoring and upskilling Riverland girls into the future. I thank all community groups who have made applications to the Thriving Communities Program, and I look forward to the completion of grant-winning projects in the coming months.