New funding cycle, new strategy*

The Federal Election is over and we are now at the start of a three year Australian Government funding cycle. 

With most state elections held in the last 18 months there is now a certain degree of stability in politics across the country.  

When the dust has settled on grand promises made during election campaigns, the grants and funding cycle will move into the traditional phase of a more level playing field, with vastly more applications than funding available, and a focus on projects and applications that will deliver government outcomes, rather than just being in a marginal seat.  

This will be better for everyone with a focus on good projects that deliver government policy outcomes rather than just where you are located.  

As the 2019 Federal Budget Papers said, “The Australian Government budget sets out the economic and fiscal outlook for Australia and includes expenditure and revenue estimates for the current financial year, the budget year and three forward financial years.

“It shows the Government’s social and political priorities and how the Government intends to achieve these…and…the $841.6 million Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) supports the Australian Government’s commitment to create jobs, drive economic growth and build stronger regional communities into the future.”

This includes a further $200 million for a fourth round of the program which is anticipated to open in the second half of 2019.

BBRF Round 3 was highly competitive with 915 applications received under both streams.

A total of 166 projects to the value of $197.4 million were approved for funding under the Infrastructure Projects Stream.  

Round 4 will be even more competitive in a tightening funding environment and outside the heat of an imminent election.

For any council that received feedback on why their application was not successful under rounds 2 or 3 there are some telling points on the potential focus of round 4.

Being shovel ready, having the funding in place and being able to demonstrate why council needs the commonwealth funding are just a few.

There were many more hints provided in the feedback sessions that are worthy of analysis.

For councils that were successful in round 3, and you are applying for another project in round 4, don’t expect that the same approach will work again.

The funding cycle is very different at the start of a 3 year term, than at the end.

Another telling part of feedback was that the assessors are looking in detail at how you have delivered your National Stronger Regions Fund or Round 1 BBRF projects.

There will be many traps in round 4 of BBRF, and many opportunities for those that are ready with a great project.

*Copy supplied by Section 51