Supporting the Community
The Community Benefit Sharing Initiative (CBSI) is funded by the New England Solar Farm by providing $250 a year for every megawatt of power generating capacity installed at the solar farm over its 25-year working life. An annual contribution of $100,000 will kick start the program, coinciding with the commencement of construction of the solar farm.
The money will be used on a range of programs and grants that support the local community such as facility upgrades, local sporting or education programs or energy efficiency or beautification projects. This program is called Uralla Grants and it is independently run by community members who form part of the Community Reference Group (CRG).
After the first year of the CBSI, UPC\AC Renewables will consider other opportunities for using the available funds, which includes employment of a Community Coordinator to help organize local events and administer the CBSI. The funds may also be used towards establishing a revolving low-interest loan to support residents fund energy saving activities.
How it all began
The CBSI was first conceived by UPC\AC Renewables Australia in late 2018, coinciding with the start of development of the New England Solar Farm. A Community Reference Group was formed shortly after to consider high-level aspects of the CBSI. The group provided its recommendation on how the funds should be spent within the community, the geographic extent of where the benefits should focus, and the legal and governance arrangements.
A second Community Reference Group was formed in early 2020 to build on the work completed by the previous group and start implementing some of the recommendations. This group is responsible for preparing the material necessary to implement the Uralla Grants program.
Photographs by Frank Lowe
Community Reference Group
The CRG is an independent body consisting of Uralla-based members. The group brings together an excellent mix of governance, accounting, and legal skills as well as a deep understanding of the local region, its history, environment, and the people who live here.
The CRG was formed following a public Expressions of Interest in early 2020. The group meets regularly to discuss administrative matters relating to the program, criteria and selection of grants as well as how best to publicize and build awareness of the grants.
Richard, Sarah and their two children moved to Balala Station in 2011 from South Africa. Rural resilience and whole of landscape function are passions he is committed to. He is predominantly involved with NSW Farmers and SNEL Landcare plus other farming based organisations and Co Operatives.
Sandra arrived in Uralla in 1993, starting her career with CSIRO at Chiswick leading projects with local farmers on breeding for worm resistance, carbon storage on-farm, EU market access for Australian crops and more recently woodland biodiversity. Sandra is President of Z-NET Uralla and a Member of several Uralla community groups. In her spare time, she enjoys sewing and bottling fruit.
After marrying a local farmer 38years ago, Lisa moved to Uralla, raising their four daughters on their family property on the Salisbury Plains.
Lisa decided to join CRG2 because she is passionate about Uralla providing opportunities for young people and a home for those looking to raise their families in our wonderful community.
Bruce has lived in Uralla for 23 years. Now retired, he has had a diverse career history that included aviation, horticulture, school science and environmental education and administration, and teacher education at UNE. He is a staunch supporter of the local community and its unique character and continues to serve as an active member of various committees.
Thomas (Tom) O'Connor has been a resident of Uralla since 1997. A chartered Accountant with 17 years in public accounting practices followed by a 35-year career in local government in three states; Western Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales; including the last 7 years as Uralla Shire Council’s General Manager.
Uralla has been Lone’s home for 39 years, moving here with her husband Mike and three children. She has been involved over this period with the local school, service clubs, sporting groups, the Scouting and Guides movements and the Anglican Church.
She has also spent a fulfilling 21 years employed at the Uralla Medical Centre and for the past 14 years has been a registered Marriage Celebrant.
She presently works as a volunteer with Helping Children and Families.
Peter brings experience in public and private enterprises in Australia and internationally. In most of his business life he has worked in the areas of strategy, marketing & business development. Peter is CEO of Practical Systems Limited providing technology solutions for small to medium agribusiness enterprises. In this role his main responsibilities are in the areas of financial governance, technology development and business process improvement.
Uralla Grants Program
Applications are now open for grant funding requests up to $5000. The total funds available in this round totals $50,000. A second funding round will open in approximately 6 months with $50,000 available then.
The distribution of grant funding will be available to any individual, community organisation or business that is a resident of the defined community area map. This area is comprised of the Uralla Shire Council area along with areas of Dangarsleigh and Kelly’s Plains within five kilometers of the New England Solar Farm project site.
Please read the Uralla Grants guidelines prior to completing your grant application.
Defined Community Area
How to apply
Once you have read the Uralla Grants guidelines, you can complete a grant application form. Please download the form and carefully complete each section.
Once completed, please scan and return your application to
You can also provide your form in person or by post to the New England Solar Farm Uralla office at 96B Bridge Street, Uralla, 2358
You will be notified as soon as we have received your application.
Applications for the first round of funding must be submitted by 5pm Wednesday October 7th.
We will endeavor to assess all applications expeditiously so that the successful applications can be made in late October 2020.