DESPITE more than $400 million being stripped from Landcare programs in the Abbott government's first budget, local groups are being encouraged to apply for $5 million in grants.
The grants, Environment Minister Greg Hunt said, would be open for projects to restore and protect local environments, up to $20,000 for each grant.
Mr Hunt said applications were now open for natural resource management groups and local community groups, but would close on October 20.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce also said a fifth of the entire pool of funds, or $1 million, would be specifically spent on regional Landcare projects, as promised in the budget.
While the national Landcare program took a $438 million hit in the budget, it still contains about $1 billion over the next four years.
Mr Hunt also on Friday announced the creation of a new National Landcare Advisory Committee, which will help guide ministerial decision on investment priorities and whether the program is meeting its aims.
The new committee will be led by the chairwoman of the Institute for Agrifood Security at Curtin University, Sue Middleton.
- APN NEWSDESK