07/08/2021 | David Speirs MP

Conservation work across South Australia’s national parks and reserves will get a $750,000 boost with a new grants program to be delivered by the Marshall Liberal Government in partnership with the Friends of Parks (FoP) South Australia Board.

The program has two funding streams, a FoP Small Grants Program, which will provide grants of up to $5,000 and a FoP Partnership Grants Program which provides grants of up to $25,000 to deliver practical on the ground conservation works.

The funding will go towards activities such as pest plant and animal control, revegetation, habitat restoration, site maintenance and wildlife monitoring and survey work. Works can be carried out across coastal systems, inland waterways and wetlands, and may include European or Aboriginal heritage site maintenance, protection or restoration.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the Marshall Liberal Government is proud to be able to support the great work that Friends of Parks groups do in national parks across the state.

“Friends of Parks have been a very active and dedicated volunteer organisation for more than 30 years and I am delighted to further support the important conservation work they do,” Minister Speirs said.

“There are now 135 Friends of Parks groups across South Australia, who are increasingly working in partnership with community and landowners across the landscape. Each year they spend thousands of hours carrying out conservation and biodiversity management in support of regional National Parks and Wildlife Service staff.

“South Australians love their national parks and the COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted just how important they are for recreation and mental health as well as protecting our environment.

“The Marshall Liberal Government understands this, and this new $750,000 grants program further adds to our record investment in parks right across the state to boost conservation and improve the visitor experience.

“We are committed to delivering practical actions and projects which support conservation and improve our environment and this grants program is another example of that.

“Friends of Parks groups were forgotten by the previous Labor Government and our funding commitment is more than a ten-fold increase.

“I look forward to seeing the calibre of conservation work that this grants program will attract from Friends of Parks groups across South Australia.”

Friends of Parks Board President Duncan MacKenzie said the grants program is a fantastic new initiative.

“Having access to a grants opportunity of this size is something we’re very grateful for. It will help to ensure Friends of Parks groups can continue to roll out the many different activities we undertake in national parks for the protection and enhancement of South Australia’s natural and cultural heritage,” Mr MacKenzie said.

The FoP organisation was established more than 30 years ago and currently has 135 member groups statewide (both full and affiliates), who collectively contribute many thousands of hours of volunteer work. Mr MacKenzie said across the FoP network there were about 3,000 members, and they were keen to encourage more people to join.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to be able to give back to the environment and help with conservation efforts in our most valuable landscapes,” Mr MacKenzie said.

Funded by the Department for Environment and Water’s National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the Landscape Priorities Fund, the program will be delivered in partnership with the Friends of Parks (FoP) South Australia Board.

The Small Grants Program is available to FoP member and affiliated groups, for both on-park and off park projects and activities, as well as the purchase of small group assets, operating equipment, skills development opportunities or personal protective equipment.

As part of the larger Partnership Grants Program, FoP groups will need to partner with another group or organisation to deliver larger scale or more complex projects. Partners could include environmental organisations, councils,

local community groups or academic institutions who may be engaged to support project delivery, or provide technical expertise or specialised equipment to assist a FoP group to deliver their project.

Grant applications for the Small Grants Program are now open, with applications for the Partnership Grants due to open in the coming weeks.

Members of the community interested in volunteering can find out more information at www.friendsofparkssa.org.au

To find out more visit  www.environment.sa.gov.au/grants