Grants for bushfire affected landholders and small business

A couple of funding packages providing additional support for businesses indirectly affected by bushfires and landholders who experienced damage to boundary fencing were announced this week.

Businesses in our region indirectly affected by bushfires are now eligible for the $10,000 Small Business Bushfire Support Grant which has now been extended to cover the Mid-Western LGA.

The expansion of the Small Business Bushfire Support Grant to cover businesses that have suffered hardship as a result of the recent bushfires in an additional 13 LGAs was announced by Federal Minister for Emergency Management, David Littleproud, and NSW Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Disaster Recovery, John Barilaro, this week.

To be eligible, businesses must have experienced a 40 percent drop in revenue over a three-month period, compared to last year, because of the bushfires. Businesses that have received financial assistance via other grants may still be eligible for the $10,000 grants.
For small business assistance please contact Service NSW via or 13 77 88.

As part of the COVID-19 economic stimulus package the NSW Government has committed $209 million to help bushfire affected landholders rebuild boundary fencing adjoining public land.

Private landholders who were affected by bushfire activity from August 2019 to February 2020 and share a boundary with National Parks, Forestry Corporation land, travelling stock reserves, Crown reserves, tenured roads and leases, or roads managed by Roads and Maritime Services or Local Government are eligible to apply.

The ‘Supporting our neighbours – public land boundary fencing program’ will enable eligible landholders to receive up to $5,000 per kilometre as a one-off grant payment. The funding can be utilised to purchase fencing materials or contribute to procurement of both materials and labour from a licensed fencing contractor.
Landholders are encouraged to install wildlife friendly fences with plain top wires. Use of fire-resistant materials, such as ironbark, tallowwood or concrete posts, is also recommended.

Landholders who have already completed work to replace damaged fencing can apply retrospectively.

Total funding of $209 million is available, of this $90 million is to be allocated by the end of this financial year. Final funds are to be allocated by 30 June 2021 and all work completed by 31 December 2021. The program recognises that due to the on-going COVID-19 situation supply chain issues may be experienced, limiting supply of fencing materials. Local project officers will work with landholders on a case by case basis should problems arise.

Expressions of Interest can be lodged online:, or by calling 1300 778 080. Further information and the program guidelines are also available on the website. You can also request a call-back from the Fencing team via the Messenger function on the Central Tablelands LLS Facebook page (

And a reminder that Local Land Services offices are now open by appointment only and all contact should be done online or via telephone. The best way to contact Local Land Services during this period is by sending an enquiry online via or by calling 1300 795 299.

Environmental health through community

Local landcare group, Watershed Landcare, remains focused on promoting and facilitating environmental sustainability and natural resource management in our region. Our mission: to engage, empower and support our community to achieve a resilient and sustainable environment within the Watershed Landcare district.

And that’s no mean feat in a region of diverse land use and community interests with a footprint of 900,000 ha!

Sustainable agriculture and care for our natural environment are key priority areas. We work with our members and the community to improve knowledge and awareness, and to increase the uptake of sustainable land management practices.

We strive to promote practices that protect and enhance biodiversity, including threatened species and endangered ecological communities, while bringing innovation and sustainability into agricultural production; that means getting people to do business in a sustainable and viable fashion and fostering value in their natural assets.
To encourage the uptake of innovative practices we provide training in the latest agricultural and land management practices and techniques, focusing on a diverse range of topics such as grazing management, building soil carbon and health, plant identification and management of invasive species.

In the last year we have supported our members to conduct projects to protect and enhance native vegetation on their land by establishing paddock trees and corridors; providing not only habitat linkages but also contributing multiple benefits to productive systems. Our Sustainable Soil Management workshops provided participants with subsidised soil tests, resources, guidance and training to enable them to make their own decisions on soil management and building fertility.

Late last year we ran a series of events to refresh and reinvigorate our community in the midst of drought. We hosted workshops on the use social media for small business as well as a Rural Refresh evening with an inspirational panel of speakers.

Our special interest groups remain a high priority and we have supported the Grazing Group, Mudgee Microscope Group, Women in Ag Group, Mudgee Bee Group and the Friends of Putta Bucca to explore topics of interest and provide a peer support network and an active forum for discussion for their members.

Current COVID-19 restrictions have meant that a number of our activities have been put on hold, or even cancelled. But our Committee remains active and our Coordinators are still working from home to support and engage our community.

Want to find out more about what we do or how to get involved or just need a chat? Contact one of our Coordinators, Claudia Wythes on 0412 011 064 or Agness Knapik on 0435 055 493 or email:

Do you have a great idea for a project, speaker or topic we should explore? Let us know, we’re always on the look out for fresh ideas.

How much do you know about what happens in your own backyard?

Do you know which native bee, butterfly, wasp, fly, moth, beetle, thrip and ant species frequent your garden to pollinate flowers, fruit and vegetables? There are over two thousand of these insects in Australia but relatively little is known about their distribution, populations, interactions or their pollination habits.

Filling the gaps in our understanding of the ecology of these insects, and how this changes over time, has important implications, not only for their conservation, but also for our food supply as many are thought to contribute to pollination of crops and gardens.

A national citizen science project is addressing this knowledge gap. The Wild Pollinator Count, an evidence-based independent project, aims to count Australia’s wild pollinators and learn more about what is happening to them. Everyone is encouraged to get involved, discover which pollinators live in your local environment and contribute to research which will help scientists build a database on wild pollinator activity.

The autumn 2020 Wild Pollinator Count starts this Sunday, 12 April and runs until the following Sunday, 19 April.

The project was started by a couple of researchers and educators with a passion to learn more about our wild pollinators. For Dr Manu Saunders, an ecologist at the University of New England, and Karen Retra, native bee naturalist, beekeeper and permaculture teacher, it is a labour of love. They run the project in their own time and with no funding, simply to learn more about our wild insect pollinators, contribute to their conservation and to give them the attention they deserve.

To get involved visit the Wild Pollinator Count website ( where you will find information on how to count pollinators, identify the insects you see, as well as a handy tally sheet to record your observations.

Then all you need to do is find some flowering plants, spend 10 minutes watching for visitors and submit your observations via the website. During the week you can submit as many 10-minute observations as you like.

Observations from the Wild Pollinator Count will build a picture of the ecology of wild pollinators, what plants they visit, where they are found and how they are affected by human activities. Participation from the public means that many observations, from an extensive area can be collected, something that would be impossible otherwise.

Once a large enough, long-term data set is available it will enable the researchers to analyse it for trends and contribute to our understanding of native pollinator ecological dynamics.

Its a great opportunity to learn more about the insects that frequent your patch and contribute to science. So find some flowers and start counting!

Do you know your harvestable rights?

Did you know that the size and location of your property dictates how much water you are permitted to hold in dams?

In our region, rural landholders can capture and store 10% of the average rainfall run-off on their land without a licence. The total allowable capacity of your dams is called the Maximum Harvestable Right Dam Capacity (MHRDC).

To work out your MHRDC, use the calculator available on the WaterNSW website. The calculator will specify the total legal capacity of dams on your property and takes into account rainfall and variations in rainfall pattern and the size of your land. If you are thinking of constructing a new dam, you must factor in the volume of any existing harvestable rights dams on your property.

Approval and licences are required for the construction of dams which exceed your MHRDC.

Harvestable right dams can be constructed on first or second-order streams. These are minor watercourses that do not permanently flow, or carry flow from third or higher order streams.

First-order streams do not have any other watercourses flowing into them, they form the top of a catchment. Where two first-order streams meet, they become a second-order stream.

A second-order stream that has other first-order streams flowing into it remains a second-order stream. However, when two second-order streams meet they become a third-order stream.

To identify the stream order on your property you will need to refer to a legislated topographic map.

There are a number of exceptions when calculating your harvestable rights. Dams constructed for the purposes of flood mitigation, soil erosion prevention or control, or containment of drainage or effluent do not contribute towards the total capacity of dams allowed on your property under harvestable rights. Dams without a catchment, such as turkey nest dams used for storage of ground water or water pumped from a river, are also not included.

However, the construction of these dams may still require other approvals and licencing and the use of water held in these structures may be subject to conditions.

More information about water licencing and compliance and the harvestable rights calculator are available on the WaterNSW website:

We have also collated some useful resources on our website: