02 February 2021


SUBJECTS: Stronger Communities Grants; Parliament Returning.


LISH FEJER, HOST: It's the first day back for school but also the first day back for our Federal Parliamentarians and grants are currently open for the current round of the Stronger Communities Program. Have you heard of this program? It's grants the homelessness and community organisations in our region. Now Alicia Payne is the Federal Labor Member for Canberra and joins me this morning. Hello. 


FEJER: Where are you today?

PAYNE: I'm at home at the moment. I'm actually not back to Parliament yet because I'm still on maternity leave with my baby, from Parliament. I'm doing electorate work, but I'm not back to Parliament till March. 

FEJER: And and the well you're still very much connected though. Let's talk about this this Stronger Communities Program. What organisations were awarded these grants last year. Can you just give us a bit of a background to that program?

PAYNE: Yeah, sure. So it's for up to $150,000 of small grants of $2,500 to $20,000 per organisation. And last year we gave grants to many, many different organisations and a very broad range of different things. So some of the examples were $10,000 for water tanks for the Lyneham Commons Food Forest, which is a community garden. $18,000 for Volunteering ACT's new Events and Training Hub, which will be used by all manner of organisations in the ACT. A new car for Community Services #1 to do community transport, new electronic scoreboards for Hockey ACT and funding for the Canberra Repertory Society to repair and maintain their annex where they store all their costumes and things. So, it's really a broad range of organisations, it can be something with a social welfare focus, an environment focus, really looking for anything that's providing a value to the community in a range of different ways.

FEJER: In terms of the Canberra community, how, how do people go about applying for these grants? So those are the grants from from last year, it's open until the 21st of February for this year's grants, what do people do?

PAYNE: That's right. So, if they go to my website, they can put in an expression of interest and then those will be considered by myself and a panel of community representatives. And then those organisations that are selected will be able to put in a a longer, slightly longer application, which will go to the Department of Infrastructure, who will just check that it's all eligible, and then they get the money to to go ahead with their project.

FEJER: How competitive is it?

PAYNE: Oh very much, so so many amazing organisations in Canberra that couldn't possibly fund all the applications that were that were great that came in last year and I expect that will be the same this year. Something I should note this year, that's different, because of the tough year that organisations have had with COVID, is that rather than needing to match the funding, now they can apply for the full amount. So, before if you'd applied for a grant of $20,000, you also had to go dollar for dollar with what you could bring in. But this year, you can just apply for the full amount.

FEJER: And the full what's the most community organisation can apply for?

PAYNE: 20,000

FEJER: Okay. Okay. 


FEJER: So if people want to find out more, just go to your website, which is and 

PAYNE: That's right.

FEJER: follow, follow all the links.

PAYNE: That would be excellent and they can give my office a call if they if anyone has any questions.

FEJER: And Alicia, while you're on maternity leave, you still very much got your hand on parliamentary business.


FEJER: What is the year hold for you for here in the Territory?

PAYNE: It's a big year coming back to Parliament this year with some, particularly the response to COVID-19 continuing both in the health sense and economic, and a big challenge is how you know jobs are going to be created. For the ACT it's about particularly bringing people back, our tourism sector in particular has been hit very hard and while the ACT Government is doing a lot there, I think, you know, there's a lot more the Federal Government can step up and do. Keeping the pressure up on the Government for action on climate change and yesterday, we saw the Prime Minister say he would like to get to net zero by 2050, well that's really not good enough, he needs to make that commitment like other countries around the world. In particular, also seeing that we, you know, increase JobSeeker payment permanently and don't let it return to the disgraceful $40 a day that it was as Newstart before the pandemic. They're just a couple of the issues, there are many others but yes, it's gonna be a big year.

FEJER: Alicia Payne, thanks for joining me this morning.

PAYNE: Thank you for having me.