by Michael Nolan
OUR community groups are almost $30,000 richer after the South Burnett approved the latest round of Community Assistance and Healthy Communities grants.
The money is used to support a range of groups, from sporting clubs, church groups and large events.
The Bloomin' Beautiful Blackbutt Avocado Festival received one of the larger grants.
It received $3000 and festival organiser Jeff Connor said the money would be used to employ someone to encourage more organisations to get involved.
"We'll employ a person to actively go out in to the South Burnett and get involvement from wineries, food outlets, tourist destination and others,” Mr Connor said.
"For example the Peanut Van needs to be at the Blackbutt Festival, Taste South Burnett needs to be at the Blackbutt Festival.
"And the wineries, we're talking to Jason Kinsella about a wine alley at the festival.
"We'd love to have stalls promoting Bunya Mountains, Boondooma dam and Ringsfield House.
"We'd love to have buses that pick people up from Nanango, Kingaroy, Murgon and bring them down for the day.”
Mr Connor's goal is to grow the festival so as to get about 5000 people in attendance and he reckons most of that growth will come from South Burnett residents.
The announcement follows the council's decision to change the way it handles community grants.
Events that are deemed to be 'regionally significant' will get access to three years worth of funding but this money will scale back with each successive year.
Cr Danita Potter said the council also ended its annual funding that saw groups getting a regular amount of money each year without needing to apply.
"For some groups that's a huge change,” she said.
Other grants like the Elite Performance, Councillor Discretionary Fund, Regional Arts and Mayor's Community Benefit Fund will stay the same.