Thallon in Queensland used an ANZ grant last year to help promote local tourist attractions, including its silo mural.

Thallon in Queensland used an ANZ grant last year to help promote local tourist attractions, including its silo mural.

ANZ has partnered with the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal to distribute $250,000 to community groups in rural, regional and remote communities of up to 15,000 people through its Seeds of Renewal program.

The program is offering cash grants of up to $15,000 or one of ten 13-inch Lenovo Yoga 730 (RRP $1,299) Windows computers to local grassroots groups looking to turn their ideas for strengthening their local communities into reality.

Now in its 16th year, the program has already distributed nearly $4.6 million to more than 800 local projects in communities across Australia since its launch in 2003.

Applications are open until 5pm AEST 17 August 2018 for projects that focus on building economic strength and sustainability, protect the local environment, support lifelong learning or community health and social wellbeing.

Recipients in previous years have included projects to encourage families to move to their town through subsidised rents, set up a lavender farm at a school, add A/V equipment to a community hub, run a program to encourage Indigenous students to stay in school and build a camp for at-risk youth.

Last year, the program provided the Thallon Progress Association in Queensland a $10,000 grant to boost economic activity from tourism through new signage, new landscaping at a local campground and improving promotion on social media.

ANZ encourages submissions from local not-for-profit groups rather than government institutions. For example, a project submitted by a local parents & citizens committee is more likely to be successful than a similar application from a state school or local shire council.

FRRR chief executive officer Natalie Egleton said people living in rural Australia know what needs to change to create opportunities and make their communities strong.

“This program is deliberately flexible and allows local leaders to seek funding for whatever will make their community prosperous,” Egleton said.

“In the past, we’ve funded everything from creating educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth, to public wi-fi infrastructure and the preservation and sharing of Indigenous history.”

ANZ Business Banking general manager Isaac Rankin said that a belief in the importance of vibrant, inclusive and sustainable rural and regional communities is at the core of this program.

“Raising funds in small communities can be challenging and given regional Australia contributes around one third of national output and is home to 8.8 million Australians, we’re passionate about supporting projects that can make a real difference to people living in regional communities,” he said.

More information about the program and an application form can be found on the FRRR website.