RAIL freight company Aurizon has announced funding for 40 community projects in Queensland, NSW, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

The latest round of funding supports initiatives in education, community safety, environment and health and wellbeing.

Aurizon managing director and CEO Andrew Harding said additional funding has been provided because of the company’s new operations in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

“Following the acquisition of the One Rail Australia business earlier this year, including the Tarcoola to Darwin railway, it is exciting to see the successful recipients of these Aurizon grants in South Australia and the Northern Territory,” he said.

“We are thrilled to be supporting the local communities in these two new locations in addition to those in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia where our people live and work.

“In South Australia for example, we’re funding Short Back and Sidewalks Ltd. which offers free hair-cutting and grooming for people experiencing homelessness.”

Mr Harding said Short Black and Sidewalks plans to use the funding to establish a new weekly service to be delivered at the Hutt Street Centre in Adelaide, providing 600 free haircuts per year.

“In the Northern Territory, Children’s Ground Ltd. will use the Aurizon funding to assist with the production and release of educational Arrernte language music for children, with the aim of keeping the Arrernte language strong and visible and to provide opportunities to First Nations artists who will contribute to the production of the music.”

Arrernte, an Australian Aboriginal language, is spoken by about 3000 people in Central Australia, particularly in Alice Springs.

Mr Harding said the funding will also enable children in NSW’s Illawarra region to attend kids camps, and the delivery of cricket programs for First Nations women in WA.

And in Queensland, LifeFlight Foundation plans to use the funding for a community trauma training program.

“I would like to thank each and every community group for the time and effort they took to apply,” Mr Harding said.

Aurizon said its Community Giving Fund distributes funds bi-annually and provides grants of up to $20,000.

More than 540 charities and not-for-profit groups across Australia have received grants since the fund was established in 2011.

Aurizon plans to open the next round of applications for the Community Giving Fund in March 2023.