Applications are now open for the Protecting Our Places grant program, which empowers Aboriginal community groups and organisations to protect, conserve and restore cultural landscapes and waterways, Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke announced today.

“The long running NSW Environmental Trust Protecting Our Places grants program provides funding to Aboriginal organisations across New South Wales to equip communities with knowledge and skills in environmental protection and conservation,” Ms Cooke said.

“This new round of funding will offer $500,000 in grants to help those organisations to tackle local environmental and cultural priorities, and achieve long-term beneficial outcomes for our environment.

“I would love to support a local Wiradjuri group to develop and conserve the natural places that form the backbone of our history and Indigenous stories.”

These grants connect Aboriginal communities through empowerment and the strengthening of social connections and increased participation on country, and importantly, the program supports opportunities for cultural land management practices.

The annual program is in its second year since a revised program format was implemented following an independent program evaluation.

The objectives of the program are to facilitate the sharing and protection of cultural knowledge with and between groups, government and public stakeholders to contribute to the improved management of environmental and cultural resources on country, and to increase the amount of culturally significant Aboriginal land protected, restored, enhanced and managed by local Aboriginal groups, land managers and stakeholder and support connections to country.

Individual grants of up to $60,000 will be available, with applications now open until October 8, 2018.

For more information on how to apply, go to www.environment.nsw.gov.au/grants/pop.htm