Fight to Restore Funding for Community Volunteers

Your Help is Vital

The Natural Resource Management (NRM) Community Grants program was abolished in the State Budget of 19 June.

Since 2009, these grants have been an essential support for volunteers looking after their local patch, doing much-needed work the government is unable or unwilling to do itself.

We need YOU to let our leaders know that this grant program is vitally important and urge them to reverse the decision to abolish it.

Please take action AND spread the word!


What you can do

 

Talk to your local state MP

  • The most effective method is to meet them in person. Ring their office to arrange a meeting time and be prepared to follow up until you get one.
  • If you’d rather not meet with them, please write them a letter, send them an email, or make a phone call. It’s surprising how few letters and visits MPs actually receive, so please be assured you will have an impact.
  • Make it personal – as well as using any of the talking points on the next page, tell the story of why the grants are important to you:
    • If your group has received grant funding: it would be wonderful to talk about what a difference it made. Do you have before and after photos showing what you were able to achieve?
    • If your group has applied for funding in the past: how do you feel about no longer having this opportunity? What things have you planned that may not be possible without any funding support?
    • If you are generally concerned about the loss of support to environmental volunteers: talk about why they are such an integral part of a healthy society, and a vital way to stretch limited government dollars a lot further. Each grant dollar leverages four more in community support!

To find out which electorate you live in, visit here.

Look up your MP’s postal address, email and phone number here.

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Contact the Premier

Given his history of establishing this grant program, we urge people to contact the Premier using our easy form- 

Take Action, email the Premier.

http://www.ourbackyardsa.org.au/support_volunteers_email_premier

It would be worth also writing a separate letter or email to Premier Weatherill.
Address the letter to:
Hon J W Weatherill, Premier, GPO Box 2343, ADELAIDE SA 5001 or email: cheltenham@parliament.sa.gov.au

Background and talking points

The Natural Resource Management (NRM) Community Grants program was established by then Environment Minister Jay Weatherill in 2009. The Minister recognised the significant contribution of community volunteers devoting hundreds of hours to protecting and restoring their local patch. The grants provided some much-needed funding support from the government.

For every dollar the government spends, it reaps five times the value in volunteer effort.

The grants have funded 745 projects across the state and achieved a huge range of benefits, such as:

  • facilitating positive partnerships between community groups, sustainable agriculture groups, government departments, industry, NGOs and NRM regions
  • offering opportunities for older community members to share valuable skills and knowledge with younger generations
  • enabling projects to be done in a professional manner, by funding equipment or consultants with specific expertise
  • enabling a number of Aboriginal community groups to maintain or remediate culturally significant sites on country.

The grant program was $2.8 million at its peak but government support steadily eroded to

$1.5 million in 2013-14. Now the government has abolished the program altogether.

The grants were a tiny proportion of the government’s total expenditure on environmental programs, which delivered many times more than what they cost.

Ending this program makes no economic sense, especially at a time when environment budgets and staffing at the state and federal level are also being slashed.

It is a cruel blow to the volunteer communities who give up their free time to look after places that are important for all South Australians.

Make sure you spread the word, please share this page to your networks. 


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