2016 a year for grants*

How do you meet the ever-increasing community expectations to fund your strategic objectives, infrastructure or facilities when there is so much competition for grants?

National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF), Bridges, Community Service and your State Government infrastructure, disaster, community funds and others are available, but are always oversubscribed and take so much work to apply for. There are ways to be more efficient and effective, and here are just a few.  Reduce those last minute stress levels and start preparing now rather than just waiting for the next round to open. The date hasn’t been announced yet, but with a new Prime Minister, local government now back into the Ministry, and an election year, it is likely NSRF round three will open in February 2016 or even earlier, so if you can, start now and get that extra preparation advantage. The second hint is to put time into understanding your funding provider, both Commonwealth and State. In July 2014 Mathias Cormann, Minister for Finance, released new Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines under section 105C of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. You don’t have to read them, but to know that every grant program is managed under these rules makes a big difference. A simple summary is that a Commonwealth Grant is provided to assist you to achieve your goals; to help address one or more of the Australian Government’s policy objectives; under which you may be required to act in accordance with specified terms or conditions. So many applicants stop at the first point, which is understandably all about you and your community. The rules are clear, you are there to deliver one or more of the Australian Government policies, not just your own, so get to know what their policies are and make sure your application addresses what they want.

The third hint relates to the last rule and that delivery and reporting of existing grants is critical for future success. Do you still have any old Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF), Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP), or other grants in the cupboard? As an assessor in Canberra I know that Departments look at your grants delivery history. A great record is very much to your advantage and will help you in being more efficient and effective in obtaining further funding for your community in 2016, a year for grants.

*Copy supplied by Colin Steele, Managing Director of Section51
Section51 is a specialist consultancy that has a comprehensive insight and knowledge of the grants and funding system gained from working in all three governments, and as assessors. Colin and his team use their knowledge of the policy and process behind grants and funding in a way that has led to improved success for councils in applying, with reduced risk by ensuring delivery and reporting is completed the way the funding provider wants.