Funding opportunity to help boost Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains environmental recovery

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

The Morrison Government has announced the establishment of a $12 million Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery Program to help with the recovery of wildlife and habitats following a roundtable organised by Senator Marise Payne and led by the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Sussan Ley MP.

The meeting, held at Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, was attended by a range of local environmental groups and community leaders to help steer the recovery process following the devastating bushfires in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury.

Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, said the grants program was built on community feedback and would help tap into local expertise.

“The roundtable was an important part of the consultation and planning phase, where key stakeholders had the opportunity to provide their feedback directly to both the Environment Minister and Dr Sally Box, head of the Expert Panel,” Senator Payne said. 

“Since then, numerous organisations, such as the Hawkesbury Conservation Society, Western Sydney University, Greening Australia and WIRES, have been in contact to outline their priorities for recovery.

“This program will allow these groups to collaborate and build on their ideas around grassroots data collection and monitoring, native revegetation and enhanced habitat protection.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic brings certain essential restrictions, I am very pleased that our Government is continuing to work alongside the Hawkesbury community on this next phase of environmental recovery.”

Minister for the Environment, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, said work to ensure the continuation of feral animal, pest and weed control, animal relocation and zoo programs, habitat stabilisation, using camera traps to detect native species and predators alike and detailed recovery planning through the Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel is a key focus.

“It is important that we continue to fund activities to support the survival of fire affected animals, plants, ecological communities and other natural assets,” Ms Ley said.

COVID-19 restrictions mean that some activities will not be able to start immediately but the process of identifying submissions and planning their role in what is a long-term recovery process is an important one.

To ensure organisations are given enough time to apply, grants will be staged over two tranches, with the first opening on 1 April and closing on 22 April. Tranche 2 is anticipated to open on 23 April and close on 28 May.

Eligible projects will be considered by the Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery  Expert Panel which will provide advice to the Department and Minister. 

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