Local community groups and individuals are being urged to apply for funding under the Federal Government’s new $100 million Community Coastcare package for the protection and rehabilitation of beach and coastal habitats.

The funding has been announced as part of the Rudd Government’s $2.2 billion Caring for our Country initiative.

Member for Page Janelle Saffin said Community Coastcare would offer local communities, organisations and individuals grants of up to $50,000.

She said larger grants of up to $250,000 would be available for works in high-priority coastal areas such as nationally significant coastal wetlands.

“The Community Coastcare program will help us better protect our beaches and fragile coastal habitats by protecting nesting sites, controlling feral animals, restoring dunes, protecting culturally sensitive Indigenous sites and improving water quality,” Ms Saffin said.

“This is an exciting new initiative and I would encourage local groups to look closely at the opportunities it provides and submit an application for funding through this program.

“From Ballina to Yamba we have some of the most enthusiastic environmental volunteers and this funding will give them a real boost in their work of protecting our beaches and coastlines.”

Grants will be open to a range of organisations including Coastcare and Landcare groups, local councils, surf clubs, farmers, schools, Indigenous groups and natural resource management bodies.

Up to $20 million will be available for activities in 2008-09.

Applications for the Community Coastcare grants close on July 25.

Information about Community Coastcare including applications form is available on line at www.nrm.gov.au or by calling 1800 552 008