Increased funding boosts Rural Landholder Initiative

Published on 15 November 2023

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An innovative program that has supported 218 restoration projects to protect the region's biodiversity is being expanded as Council continues its commitment to protect and enhance our natural assets.

Successful applicants in this year’s Lismore City Council Rural Landholder Initiative (RLI) will receive larger grants over a longer period to complete their environmental restoration projects.

Since it was established in 2015, the program has funded hundreds of restoration projects to improve the quality of rural land and enhance sustainability in the region.

Following on from the success of previous years, this year’s revamped program offers larger grants over longer periods of time, in recognition of the time and effort that goes into each individual project.

Lismore City Mayor Steve Krieg said the sustainability program has achieved significant benefit for the region and hit key milestones after eight years.

"So far, the initiative has achieved remarkable outcomes, with 56,000 trees planted, 360 hectares under bushland restoration and 17km of habitat and riparian fencing," he said.

"The programme also educates and engages with environmental champions and works together with Landcare and other community groups.”

The RLI grants allow private rural landholders to undertake such activities as bush regeneration and weed removal, plant native trees and erect fencing to exclude cattle from sensitive waterways.

Under this year’s program, individual landholders can receive grants of up to $15,000 over three years, instead of $7500 over two years.

Also, from next year community Landcare groups, industry and other incorporated groups with charters to improve natural habitat can apply for a $50,000 grant over three years.

Council’s Environmental Strategies Officer David Dreher, who brings significant practical, field, and industry experience, said the changes are designed to take advantage of the lessons learned over the last eight years.

“The annual grant will change to every two years, which allows us to focus on other opportunities during the alternate years,” he said.

“It will also allow industry, community and other incorporated groups to apply for and receive funding for targeted environmental improvement projects during the alternate years.”

Mr Dreher also said the changes give successful applicants more options.

“The adjustment will boost the quality of environmental projects by recognising that they cost more to complete,” he said.

“As a result, there will be more money available for each project, and allows more time to ensure sites have been stabilised enough before the next stage is ready to implement.”

Expressions of Interests are now open and close on Monday, 18 December 2023.

Apply now

Applicants should read the RLI Policies and Guidelines before making their application online.

To read the guidelines, apply or register for the free planning field day events, please go to our Rural Landholders Initiative webpage.

The next community workshop is on Saturday, 18 November. ‘Realising the Dream: Project Planning for Bush Restoration’ will provide practical advice on bush regeneration, site planning, and exploring a restored forest.

For any further advice and updates on the program, please get in touch with the Council’s Rural Landholder Initiative projects officer at or phone 02 6625 0500.

Photo: A demonstration of environmental weed control techniques during an RLI Field Day in Jiggi.

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