David Littlerpoud MP David Littlerpoud

$2.4 million to flow to locally chosen community projects in Balonne

July 12, 2021

St George and Thallon are set to benefit from more than $2.4 million in grants under Round 3 of the Murray–Darling Basin Economic Development Program, Maranoa MP David Littleproud announced today.

“Four locally-chosen community projects will be funded across the Balonne Shire to strengthen and diversify the economies of local communities impacted by aspects of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The projects were put forward by locals who know best how to tackle the challenges they face, and what their communities need.

We’ve listened to communities and this is something we’re doing to help them recover.

“Each of the selected projects will help our communities by using local suppliers and resources as well as through local knowledge to drive the best outcomes for our region.

“The Balonne Shire Council will receive $1 million to upgrade and enhance the St George River foreshore including an extension of the foreshore footpath to incorporate a boardwalk, river lookout and recreation area.

“$908,601 will go towards Stage 2 of the St George Community Wellbeing Centre Project, allowing Goondir Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Corporation for Health Services to  continue refurbishing the former RSL.

“The St George Community Wellbeing Centre will provide Indigenous-focused programs, function room and conference room facilities, and other beneficial healthy lifestyle, arts, culture, education, mental health and social wellbeing initiatives.

“Thallon Progress Association will receive $447,780 to engage community and visitor engagement coordinators. This project aims to increase employment opportunities in Thallon, diversifying and strengthening the local economy. It will also deliver enhancements to local infrastructure and visitor sites.

“$100,000 will go towards establishing the Women’s Leadership and Business Collaboration, which will create workshops for women and small businesses designed to support individual leadership and community building. The project will be developed by Care Balonne, in conjunction with stakeholders from the business community within the Balonne Shire.

“Each and every project will make a positive and lasting difference in their region.”

The approved projects will create new jobs as they are delivered as well as enduring employment opportunities, increase the capacity of communities to diversify and strengthen their local economies, and help them to manage their current and future economic challenges and changes.

“Both St George and Thallon have done more than their fair share of heavy lifting for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan,” Mr Littleproud said.

“This funding recognises the pressures that many people in the Basin’s rural and regional communities are under, and seeks to create new economic activity and job opportunities for impacted communities.”

Close to $39 million of funding has already been approved under Rounds 1 and 2 of the program for a huge array of activities-throughout Murray-Darling Basin communities.

List of projects in Balonne successful under Round 3:

  • Thallon Progress Association Inc – Opportunities from Adversity – $447,780
  • Goondir Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders Corporation for Health Services – St George Community Wellbeing Centre Project – Stage 2 – $908,601
  • Care Balonne Association Inc. – Women’s Leadership and Business Collaboration – $100,000
  • Balonne Shire Council – St George River Foreshore – $1,000,000

Fast Facts:

More than $9 million funding for projects in Balonne under previous rounds of the Murray–Darling Basin Economic Development Program, including:

  • $500,000 for Goondir Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders Corporation for Health Services’ refurbishment of the RSL for the St George Community Well Being Centre Stage 1
  • $500,000 for South West Indigenous Corporation’s recording studio at the Harmony Centre in St George to preserve and share local Indigenous language and culture.
  • $40,000 for Weribone Jack Family Descendants Aboriginal Corporation’s to upgrade their campsite and cultural learning ground for cultural tourism and events.
  • $12,915 for Dirranbandi Landcare Group’s “Dirranbandi Seasons” project to install interpretive signs about drought and rainfall impacts on the landscape.
  • $95,000 for Care Balonne Association to conduct a series of digital marketing workshops to improve digital literacy for local businesses
  • Balonne Shire Council will conduct seven projects across St George and Dirranbandi:
    • Up to $5 million to build wild dog exclusion fencing
    • Up to $1 million to expand digital connectivity
    • Up to $82,500 for the Dirranbandi Rural Transaction Centre Hub and install video conferencing at the local library
    • Up to $70,000 to improve the Dirranbandi Showgrounds caravan park
    • Up to $875,000 to develop Dirranbandi thermal hot springs with construction of thermal baths
    • Up to $499,100 to conduct business coaching
    • Up to $492,000 to revitalise Dirranbandi’s main street