People who applied for the Drought Communities Program (DCP) but missed out may receive funding by the end of the year.
Gunnedah shire councillors voted to include the project applications left over from the DCP in the new $3.2 million Community Resilience Program (CRP).
At an extraordinary council meeting yesterday afternoon, it was decided these older applications would be reviewed at a workshop before the Christmas period and funding distributed to "merit-worthy projects".
Twelve projects in the shire received funding in the federal government's $1 million DCP, announced in August 2018.
Gunnedah Shire Council general manager Eric Groth said the projects that didn't get over the line were estimated at $3.5 million, so new applications may not be covered by the CRP.
"I don't want to give the councillors the impression that we're going to hold back funds if we believe there's merit-worthy projects there to move on with," Mr Groth said.
"Part of the imperative here is to try and get money into the economy as quickly as we can to stimulate the economy."
But corporate and community services director Colin Formann said that, if there were funds left over, new applications would be sought in a similar manner to the DCP.
"[That] would be a short-form expression of interest ... providing details of the project, an estimate of cost and, following that, council would work with groups to develop a project plan," Mr Formann said.
The council allocated its $1 million for the CRP in mid-October; the state and federal governments each matched that last week.
Now we have a $3 million purse that we know will do so much good in this community during this terrible time.Mayor Jamie Chaffey
Many councillors were full of praise for the new program.
"I think we all agree that this is a tremendous project and ... I look forward to what comes out of it and I think it can be a great [example] for what the community does to support each other through tough times," Gae Swain said.
Mayor Jamie Chaffey said the program had "got a lot of notice" from other mayors and it was "great to see we're leading the way on behalf of our community".
"We were quite bold as a council for putting this particular program forward and, of course, the executive team putting a lot of the information together on what it could be," Cr Chaffey said.
"We went out and fought for ... the state and federal government to match it, so now we have a $3 million purse that we know will do so much good in this community during this terrible time."