Bloomin’ Beautiful Blackbutt Festival chairman Jeff Connor says the funding will be used to employ an arts officer to work with groups in the town

February 26, 2021

Three South Burnett organisations will be smiling after the announcement of the latest round of “Tackling Tough Times Together” grants.

The three groups will share more than $140,000 in funding for local projects:

  • Bloomin’ Beautiful Blackbutt Festival will receive $58,744 to employ an arts project officer (see below).
  • Mondure Public Hall Committee will receive $58,680 for refurbishments at the hall, including the installation of a disabled toilet.
  • Tansey Show Society will receive $23,848 to buy transportable, shaded grandstands and water troughs for Tansey Showgrounds.

The three South Burnett grants are among 29 from across the country – totalling $1.26 million – announced jointly by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) and the Federal Government on Friday.

The grants aim to help groups in drought-affected regions.

“We are delighted to be able to award these grants to help turn local ideas into reality. We know it’s challenging to get these projects off the ground in the midst of a pandemic, especially when many are dealing with reduced local fundraising capacity, and fatigued volunteers,” FRRR’s Nina O’Brien said.

Agriculture Minister and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud said the Federal Government was pleased to support FRRR’s critical work of supporting and strengthening the capabilities, connections and wellbeing of drought-affected communities.

“The Tackling Tough Times Together program has a range of benefits, including reducing social isolation, stimulating the local economy and supporting social and educational participation for disadvantaged youth,” Mr Littleproud said.

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Bloomin’ Beautiful Blackbutt Festival chairman Jeff Connor said the grant was an opportunity to nurture the arts in Blackbutt as well as develop a shovel-ready plan for a “Big Avocado” for the town.

He said the committee – which organises the annual Blackbutt Avocado Festival –  aims to examine art “through the eyes of the festival”.

An arts officer would be employed to develop a register of arts assets, create an arts strategy document and produce a feasibility study for a “Big Avocado” which could then be used as the basis for future grant applications.

“There will have to be a lot of community consultation,” Mr Connor said.

“The arts officer will consult with groups including the Blackbutt Tourism and Heritage Association, the Show Society, Red Cross and tennis club.

“There are a lot of cultural, Indigenous and historical sites in the Blackbutt area.

“We want to recognise the old and highlight the new, the avocados.”

Mr Connor said he hoped the project – which will run for 12 months from either June or July – can work alongside the South Burnett Regional Council which is planning upgrades to the main street in Blackbutt, including new footpaths, foot bridges, lighting and seating.

“It would be good if we could weave the two together,” he said.

No site has been chosen yet for the proposed “Big Avocado”.

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