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Guidelines released for new regions funding

Building-better-regions-fund.jpg

Program Guidelines for the new Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) have now been released.  Under the BBRF Program, the Australian Government will invest $297.7 million over the next four years (2017-2020) into rural, regional and remote infrastructure and community building projects across Australia. 

The aim of the BBRF is to grow jobs, drive economic growth and build stronger regional communities into the future.  Grants will be available through two funding streams:

  • The Infrastructure Projects Stream will support projects that involve the construction of new infrastructure, or the upgrade or extension of existing infrastructure that deliver economic and social benefits to regional and remote areas.
  • The Community Investments Stream will fund community building activities including, but not limited to, new or expanded local events, strategic regional plans, and leadership and capability building activities that deliver economic and social benefits to regional and remote communities.

Local Government and Not for Profit organisations can lodge an on-line application for project funding through the first round of the BBRF that opens 18 January 2017.   Applications for the Infrastructure Projects Stream close 28 February 2017, and for the Community Investments Stream - 31 March 2017.

For more Information

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s AusIndustry Business Grants Hub will administer the program on behalf of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, including responding to enquiries and project management activities.

Program Guidelines and application forms are available at www.business.gov.au/bbrf, or to get answers to general queries or copies of information material call 13 28 46. 

A series of BBRF Information Sessions are being organised throughout Australia, with the closest for this region being held 10.00 – 11.30 am on 7 February at Level 1 of the RSL Building, Southern Region Business Enterprise Centre, 251 Crawford Street, Queanbeyan.

Project Eligibility

Applications must be led by Local Governments or Not for Profit Organisations that have an ABN; and there is a limit of two applications per round, per stream.  However, project applications can include otherwise ineligible organisations within a project partnership or consortium e.g. RDAs.

Although similar in some ways to the previous National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF), a key difference of the BBRF is its focus on rural, regional and remote communities, with projects in major capital cities not eligible under the BBRF guidelines i.e. Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane and Canberra.

The physical location of a project is a key element of BBRF eligibility.  The eligibility of locations is advised via a mapping tool:  http://gis.infrastructure.gov.au/BBRFViewer/index.html?viewer=BBRF.HTML5_2_6

Project Merit

Applicants are encouraged to contact their local RDA and work with the Committee to prepare a strong application.

It is important that applications focus on quantifying community benefits that will result from the project into the future.

Projects will be assessed on four merit criteria, those that provide:

  • Economic benefit to a region
  • Social benefit to a region
  • Value for money
  • Capacity and capability of the applicant to deliver a strong project outcome.

The level of application detail needs to be commensurate with the $ value of the project.

Canberra and the ACT

The ACT Government is eligible to apply for BBRF funding.

The BBRF location eligibility map shows that Canberra is not eligible for funding under the BBRF.  However, the ACT region beyond the Canberra city boundaries is eligible with an Inner Regional Classification. 

At project assessment, a weighting factor will preference projects located in remote areas, with a lower weighting factor for outer regional area projects, less again for those classed as inner regional, and metropolitan areas being excluded.

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