CONSERVING OUR RURAL ENVIRONMENT

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1 HUME CITY COUNCIL CONSERVING OUR RURAL ENVIRONMENT Grant Guidelines hume.vic.gov.au

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3 CONTENTS 1. GRANT OVERVIEW Program introduction Who can apply? Grant types 1 2. GRANT SELECTION CRITERIA Small grants Medium and Large Project grants 2 3. ELIGIBLE PROJECT ACTIVITIES On-ground environmental works Capacity building and community engagement Nonstandard items and activities Multiple-year projects 4 4. GRANT APPLICATION How to apply Small grants Medium and Large Project grants Tips for a successful project 6 5. FUNDING AGREEMENTS 6 6. INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE Council enquiries and assistance Project development assistance Education, training and qualifications Natural resource management Property protection information Property planning information 8

4 1. GRANT OVERVIEW 1.1 PROGRAM INTRODUCTION The Conserving our Rural Environment grant aims to conserve and improve rural land and the natural environmental assets on private property. This will be achieved through the support and funding of on-ground environmental works, capacity-building activities and community engagement initiatives. The grant is offered in accordance with the Local Government Act Under Section 169, Council can grant a rebate or concession to: assist the proper development of the municipal district preserve buildings or places in the municipal district which are of historical or environmental interest and restore or maintain buildings or places of historical, environmental, architectural or scientific importance. 1.2 WHO CAN APPLY? Landowners with property larger than 0.4 hectares that is zoned: Green Wedge, Green Wedge A, Rural Living and Farming. Conservation areas identified within the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for Melbourne s Growth Corridors and environmental community groups such as Landcare are also eligible to apply. 1.3 GRANT TYPES Three types of grants are available to support and fund project activities. Applicants can apply for either a Small grant or one of the Medium or Large Project grants each financial year. Small grants ($300 GST exclusive) Small grants provide basic support to landowners to continue managing their land. This grant is provided as a reimbursement to the landowner via cheque following submission and approval of the Small grant application form. Small grants are open to all landowners who do not receive a rate rebate through Council s Agricultural Land Use Rebate. Council will carry out property visits or contact landowners who receive funding to review and audit the outcomes of the grant. Medium Project grants ($301 up to $5,000 GST exclusive) Medium Project grants assist landowners and community groups to undertake on-ground works and capacity-building or engagement activities. It will be offered through a competitive application process. Applicants will need to demonstrate the merits of their project against the selection criteria listed on page 2. Applications must be supported by a quote. Landowners can submit a 3 year project and are encouraged to have a management or project plan developed for their property or activities. Council will visit the property with the applicant to assess the project prior to approval and on completion to audit the outcomes of the grant. Large Project grants ($5,001 up to $10,000 GST exclusive) Large Project grants assist landowners and community groups to undertake large-scale on-ground environmental works. It will be offered through a competitive application process. The focus will be on landowners working together, aligning projects with Council s priorities and investing in quality environmental assets. Applications must be supported by quotes. It is a requirement that landowners have a management or project plan developed for their property or project activities. Council will visit the property with the applicant to assess the project prior to approval and on completion to audit the outcomes of the grant. 1

5 2. GRANT SELECTION CRITERIA 2.1 SMALL GRANTS Landowners must submit an application form by the due date to be eligible for the Small grant. All landowners who submit an application form will be considered for the Small grant provided they meet the eligibility criteria and itemise how the Small grant will be spent on the application form. 2.2 MEDIUM AND LARGE PROJECT GRANTS The Medium and Large Project grants operate under a competitive process. The following selection criteria will be used to assess applications and prioritise projects until funding is spent. Council will also consider the merits of each project individually. Not all applications will be successful. In this instance, landowners or environmental community groups may be offered part funding for projects or will be recommended to reapply the following financial year. Management Plans for Medium Project grant applications, applicants are encouraged to have a land management plan or project plan already developed for their property or project activities, or work towards the development of one. For Large Project grant applications, it is a requirement that applicants have a land management plan or project plan already developed for their property or project activities. Conservation Significance areas of conservation significance may include threatened species or patches of remnant native vegetation. Priority will be given to projects that demonstrate a large potential to maintain and improve the quality of these assets in an area of conservation significance. Location properties or projects located within an Environmental Significance Overlay or a Vegetation Protection Overlay indicate that environmental assets occur in an area. These overlays are a form of protection within the State and Local Planning Policy Framework. Long-term Outcomes projects should focus on achieving long-term outcomes. Projects that contribute to a longterm outcome may include connecting vegetation between a fragmented landscape, securing property protection through a conservation covenant, fencing an area from stock or applying for a mutiple-year project. In-kind Contribution contributions are not compulsory but a preference will be given where in-kind or cash contributions are proposed. An in-kind contribution is where the applicant gives their own time in physical labour and/or supplies materials to the project. In-kind labour should be calculated at $30 per hour. Cultural Significance may include cultural areas of significance, homesteads, bridges, farm complexes and Aboriginal places, sites and objects. Priority will be given to projects that demonstrate a large potential to maintain and improve these areas of high value. Collaboration collaborative projects with neighbours or community group members is favorable. Similar works may need to occur over property boundaries or within communities. By working together the outcomes of the project will be greatly improved. For more information about the grant selection criteria or the application assessment process, please visit the Conserving our Rural Environment page at hume.vic.gov.au, or contact the Sustainable Environment Department on Applicants who apply for a Medium or Large Project grant will automatically be considered for the Small grant if the application is unsuccessful. In this situation, applicants will not be required to complete and resubmit a Small grant application form to Council. 2

6 3. ELIGIBLE PROJECT ACTIVITIES Council will fund a combination of activities for on-ground environmental works, capacity-building activities and community engagement initiatives. Details on these activities is provided in the following sections. 3.1 ON-GROUND ENVIRONMENTAL WORKS Noxious and Environmental Weed Control to assist in the control of priority weeds in an area of significance undertaken by the landowner or a qualified contractor. For applicants who would like to undertake their own weed control, Council will fund the material and equipment costs, not the labour. Labour is to be included in the application form as an in-kind contribution. Pest Animal Control to assist in the control of priority pest animals in an area of significance undertaken by the landowners or a qualified contractor. Works should include neighbours working together. For applicants who would like to undertake their own pest animal control, Council will fund the material and equipment costs, not the labour. Labour is to be included in the application form as an in-kind contribution. Revegetation Works to assist with rehabilitating degraded areas, enhance an area of significance or to establish and link vegetation and habitat corridors. For applicants who would like to undertake their own revegetation works, Council will fund the material and equipment costs, not the labour. Labour is to be included in the application form as an in-kind contribution. Materials and Equipment to assist applicants with the purchase of materials or equipment to undertake their own works. Examples include pest animal exclusion fencing in an area of significance, hiring of specialised equipment for weed control or the purchase of herbicide. Landowner Contribution All labour carried out by the applicant as part of the project should be included in the application as an in-kind contribution and calculated at $30 per hour. Activities already started or completed cannot be claimed as an in-kind contribution to the project. FUNDED ACTIVITIES YES NO Weed control carried out by a contractor Purchase of herbicide and weed control equipment Rabbit and fox control carried out by a contractor Control of native animals Purchase of pest control materials and equipment Revegetation with indigenous (locally native) plants (Council will not fund any revegetation works within 50 metres of a dwelling) Revegetation with non-indigenous plants (not locally native to the area) Purchase of revegetation materials and equipment Removal of native vegetation or other environmental assets Fencing to exclude stock and pest animals installed by a contractor Purchase of fencing materials and equipment Burning to manage weeds and regenerate native vegetation (A burning permit must be attained by Council prior to undertaking a burn) X X X For works along waterways, contact Melbourne Water on as a permit may be required. Financial support may also be available through the River Health Incentive Programs. For all works, it is the applicant s responsibility to investigate whether a permit is required. 3

7 3.2 CAPACITY BUILDING AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Training and Development to support applicants with fees for workshops and conferences or to undertake relevant natural resource or land management tertiary studies, certificates or short courses such as farm chemical users course or property management planning. Management Plans applicants may apply for funding to engage a consultant to develop a land or property management plan. The plan must aim to protect and improve natural resources and environmental assets on the property, but may also provide guidance for other rural land uses and activities. Community Group Activities to assist environmental community groups to develop relevant educational or capacity-building materials such as fliers, brochures or land management guides. Council will fund other activities associated with organising workshops or field days for group members and the broader community. Volunteer Recruitment Activities to assist environmental community groups to undertake volunteer recruitment and membership activities such as information sessions, field days and stalls. Activities associated with boosting community group members such as marketing and promotional materials will be funded. FUNDED ACTIVITIES YES NO Fees for short training courses relevant to natural resource and land management Fees for attendance at workshops, conferences and field days Fees for certificates or licenses related to natural resource and land management Fees for subjects relevant to land management at TAFE or a university Purchase of natural resource and land management books or educational resources Development of educational or capacity-building materials Fees for trainers and expert speakers at community group events Costs associated with community group events, including venue hire, catering costs Consultant fees to develop a land or property management plan Consultant fees for property management advice Activities not related to natural resource management Infrastructure such as water tanks 3.3 NONSTANDARD ITEMS AND ACTIVITIES Council may consider funding other items and activities if they meet the objectives of the grant. Please discuss any activity not listed with a Council Officer prior to a Medium or Large Project grant application form being submitted. Contact the Sustainable Environment Department on MULTIPLE-YEAR PROJECTS A single application form can be submitted for a Medium and Large Project grant for a multiple-year project (up to 3 years). Applicants should consider dividing a project into stages over 3 years and are required to have a management or project plan developed for their property or project activities. Applications must be supported by quotes. X X Council will audit the mutiple-year project annually and continue to provide funding for subsequent year(s) if all requirements in the agreement have been met. Applicants must demonstrate a capacity to continue to deliver the project in a satisfactory manner. 4

8 4. GRANT APPLICATION 4.1 HOW TO APPLY Complete all relevant sections on the application form and supply the required quotes to Hume City Council, Sustainable Environment Department, PO Box 119 Dallas VIC 3047 or 4.2 SMALL GRANTS 1. Complete all sections of the Small grant application form and submit to Council s Sustainable Environment Department by 31 March Applicants should keep a copy for their records. 2. Applicants for Small grants must itemise how the grant will be spent on the application form. TIMEFRAME ACTIVITY 1 July 2015 Applications open July March 2016 Applications assessed and applicants receive funding 31 March 2016 Applications close 4.3 MEDIUM AND LARGE PROJECT GRANTS 1. Complete all sections of the Medium or Large Project grant application form and submit to Council s Sustainable Environment Department by 12 June Applicants should keep a copy for their records. 2. All requests for Medium Project grants must be accompanied by one quote and all Large Project grants with two quotes with the supplier ABN, quote date, detailed description of goods or service and the GST amount. If Council is not satisfied with a quote/s, applicants may be asked to provide another. 3. Council will arrange a property visit to discuss projects in detail. If a project is deemed not suitable, Council can provide advice on how to improve the project so that the application can be re-submitted before the closing date. 4. Council will assess all applications using the grant selection criteria. Projects will be prioritised and allocated in order of merit until funding is spent. Part-funding may be offered to applicants. 5. Both successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified of the outcome in writing. Successful applicants will be asked to enter into a funding agreement with Council. Please note that successful applicants will have their property details and funded activities reported to Council and available publicly. 6. All projects must be completed by 31 May Upon successful completion of projects, tax invoices must be sent to Council s Sustainable Environment Department for payment. 7. Council s terms of payment to contractors and suppliers is 30 days from the date the tax invoice is received by Council. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure contractors and suppliers are aware of and satisfied with these terms before applying. TIMEFRAME ACTIVITY 1 April 2015 Applications open April - June 2015 Property visits and project assessments undertaken 12 June 2015 Applications close June 2015 Projects assessed by Officer and Executive Panel members August 2015 Applicants notified of assessment outcomes September 2015 Applicants enter into funding agreement & projects to commence 31 May 2016 Projects to be completed and tax invoices submitted to Council for payment 5

9 4.4 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL MEDIUM OR LARGE PROJECT GRANT When planning your project and preparing your application you should consider the following tips: 1. To be successful you will need a well-planned and organised project. 2. Discuss your project with a Council Officer from the Sustainable Environment Department. Council Officers can clarify whether or not your proposed activities are eligible for funding. 3. Ensure the project description in the application form is clear and all sections are completed. 4. Consider using a property aerial map to assist you to define your project and the location of nearby assets. For a free copy of an aerial map contact the Sustainable Environment Department on Ensure the project can be easily completed within the key time frames. Consider dividing large projects into smaller easily achieved stages and submit an application for a multiple-year project (up to 3 years). 6. Landowners are encouraged to discuss projects with their neighbours. This will help to identify where similar works can occur which will improve the outcomes of the project. 5. FUNDING AGREEMENTS To receive a Medium or Large Project grant, successful applicants will be required to enter into a funding agreement with Council. This agreement outlines the roles and responsibilities of Council and the applicant when implementing and managing the approved project. 6

10 6. INFORMATION AND ASSISTANCE 6.1 COUNCIL ENQUIRIES AND ASSISTANCE For enquires relating to your project and application, please contact the Sustainable Environment Department on or Please use the following resources to assist you when developing your project. Links to these resources and other information can be found on Council s Conserving our Rural Environment page at hume.vic.gov.au 6.2 PROJECT DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE Biodiversity Conservation Strategy The Biodiversity Conservation Strategy for Melbourne s Growth Corridors will result in more Melbournians having a place to call their own while ensuring our threatened species also have somewhere to live. Natural Heritage Strategy Council s Natural Heritage Strategy aims to protect, enhance and manage natural assets, ecological health and landscape character for the long term benefit of the community and the environment. Land & Biodiversity Guidelines Council s Land & Biodiversity Guidelines is a resource for landowners and community groups to manage, conserve and protect natural resources in Hume and where to access more information and support. Contractors and Suppliers Council s Directory of Service Providers provides an up to date list of contacts for local land management contractors and suppliers that service the Hume area. Priority Weeds and Pest Animals Council s Weedeck is a waterproof weed identification guide that covers all of the priority weeds. A directory of priority weeds and pest animals and the local land management threats and assets can be found on Council s website. 6.3 EDUCATION, TRAINING AND QUALIFICATIONS Northern Melbourne Institute of Tafe (NMIT) NMIT offers a range of courses in Natural Resource Management such as Pest Management and Conservation and Land Management. These courses range from short courses through to diploma level. Greening Australia Habitat Conservation and Management Greening Australia offers a 15 week training course on environmental conservation and restoration. AgVet Chemcial Users Course Many agricultural chemicals require a user to have a Victorian Agricultural Chemical Users Permit (ACUP). This course provides the required training to apply for the permit. Anyone who uses agricultural chemicals should complete this training. 6.4 NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT Department of Environment, Land, Climate Change and Water The Department of Environment, Land, Climate Change and Water provides detailed information on land and water resources along with maps and guidance for natural resource management. Melbourne Water If you own land that fronts onto a river or creek, you may be eligible for funding with Melbourne Water to help you manage the land through works such as weed control, fencing and planting of native vegetation. Vic Veg Online Vic Veg Online provides valuable information about the local landscapes and native vegetation, and includes tools and techniques to manage, restore and revegetate these landscapes. 7

11 6.5 PROPERTY PROTECTION INFORMATION A conservation covenant is a voluntary agreement made between a landowner and an authorised body that aims to protect and enhance the natural, cultural and/or scientific values of certain land. The owner continues to own, use and live on the land while the natural values of an area are conserved by the owner in partnership with the Covenant Scheme Provider. Providers can be not-for-profit organisations, government agencies or local Councils that can enter into conservation covenants with owners to protect land with conservation values. Department of the Environment Landowners with covenants agreed through approved programs, can be eligible for taxation concessions. More information on tax concessions and incentives for landowners who enter into conservation covenants can be found at the Department of the Environment website. Trust for Nature Trust for Nature developed its conservation covenant program so landowners could permanently protect remnant native vegetation on their own properties. The agreement is voluntary and negotiated between Trust for Nature and each individual landowner. Section 173 Agreements An authority can negotiate a section 173 agreement with an owner of land to set out conditions or restrictions on the use or development of the land, or to achieve planning objectives in relation to the land. The benefit of a section 173 agreement is that it can be registered over the title to the land so that the owner s obligations under the agreement bind future owners and occupiers of the land. BushBroker The BushBroker program, run by the Victorian state government, provides owners with funding to protect and improve the quality of native vegetation on their properties. The funding is in the form of vegetation credits that are created to offset vegetation that was removed in development elsewhere. 6.6 PROPERTY PLANNING INFORMATION Hume Planning Scheme A planning scheme is a statutory document which sets out objectives, policies and provisions for the use, development and protection of land in the area to which it applies. A planning scheme regulates the use and development of land through planning provisions to achieve those objectives and policies. Zones and Overlays Zones indicate the primary character of the land, whether it is residential, industrial or rural, and determine the types of uses that may occur in that zone. Some local areas have special planning controls (known as overlays), such as areas of significant vegetation or special heritage significance. These controls are in addition to the zone controls and ensure that important aspects of the land are recognised. 8

12 Hume City Council 1079 Pascoe Vale Road, Broadmeadows PO Box 119, Dallas, Victoria hume.vic.gov.au

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