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Living Local Regional Fund frequently asked questions

General

What is the Our Regions: Living Local Fund?

As part of the Victorian Budget 2022-2023, the Victorian Government has established the Our Regions: Living Local Fund through an investment of $5 million for regional communities.

The Our Regions: Living Local Fund will support rural and regional Victoria to recover and thrive. It will drive economic and social recovery in communities hardest hit by COVID-19 and provide funding for local community-building projects that promote social connections, enhance liveability, and revitalise regional shopping strips and activity centres.

The Our Regions: Living Local Fund will also provide grants to community not-for-profit organisations to help them support local communities.

The Living Local Fund comprises two streams:

  1. Living Local – Regional Grants Program ($4 million)
  2. Living Local – Regional Community Grants Program ($1 million).

What is the Our Regions: Living Local – Regional Grants Program?

The Program has been established in recognition of increased local living as more people work from home, which has created additional challenges and opportunities for regional towns.

Specifically, this shift creates a significant opportunity to support regional economic growth and enhanced community connections.

The Program will support a range of projects including playgrounds, splash pads, outdoor gyms, community gardens, community hall upgrades, amphitheatres, paths, lighting and public art projects.

What is the Living Local Fund – Regional Community Grants Program?

The Victorian Government recognises that community organisations are key to building social connections. Like many organisations, they have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has presented challenges to their continued operations.

The Living Local Fund - Regional Community Grants Program will provide grants of $2,000 to $20,000 (exclusive of GST) for community organisations to buy equipment and undertake minor building refurbishments and maintenance works that will help them support their local communities.

Supporting local community organisations will contribute to local economic and social revitalisation through:

  • improving community services and facilities
  • increasing wellbeing and social cohesion through supporting increased participation and connections in programs
  • building a stronger sense of place and connection to local centres.

Should I apply for a Regional or Suburban Grant?

Areas, towns and postcodes deemed as regional Victoria can be found on the Victoria's regions webpage. To learn more about grants available for metropolitan Melbourne, visit Suburban Development.


Eligibility

Who is eligible?

Regional Grants Program

The Regional Grant Program is open to applications from:

  • local governments in rural and regional Victoria
  • incorporated (not-for-profit) organisations/associations that are operating in rural and regional Victoria.

If an applicant organisation operates as a not-for-profit organisation and does not hold a current ABN and/or fall within the above description, it may apply through a legally constituted organisation with a current ABN to manage the funds as an auspice organisation.

If requesting a grant amount of $50,000 or more, audited financial reports for the last three financial year and interim accounts (Profit & Loss Statement and Balance Sheets) for the current financial year must be submitted with the application to support Departmental due diligence checks. Local, State, Commonwealth Governments, Universities and Government Authorities or entities are exempt from this requirement.

Regional Community Grants Program

The Regional Community Grants Program is open to applications from organisations that are operating in rural and regional Victoria that are:

  • Incorporated not-for-profit organisations; or
  • charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC)
  • Australian companies limited by guarantee, whose governing rules demonstrate a not-for-profit purpose.

If an applicant organisation operates as a not-for-profit organisation and does not hold a current ABN, and/or falls within the above three descriptions, it may apply through a legally constituted organisation with a current ABN to manage the funds as an auspice organisation. The auspice agency must submit the application.

All applicants must operate out of a public venue open to the community.

Am I required to be registered for GST?

A not-for-profit organisation must be registered for GST if it has a turnover of $150,000 per year or more.

Applicants should note that all project costs included in the application must be exclusive of GST.


Eligibility - Regional Grants Program

Do I need to provide evidence that my project is located in an area most impacted by COVID-19?

You need to list the town/s and postcode/s in which your project will be located in your application.

The Department has data on the locations most impacted by COVID-19 by postcode, which it will use to assess this part of your application.

What if I don’t know who owns the land that my proposed project is on?

You will need to contact your local council to find out who owns the land or do a search on LANDATA. A title search through LANDATA shows the information held in the Victorian Register of land at the time the search is made.

How do I demonstrate the consent of the landowner where the land is not owned or managed by our organisation?

You can demonstrate the consent of the landowner by including a signed letter of consent from the landowner with your application. This is mandatory.

Applications submitted without demonstrating the consent of the landowner will be assessed as ineligible and will not be considered.


Eligibility - Regional Community Grants Program

Can I apply for funding for the purchase of equipment made prior to the program launch date?

No. Funding will not be provided for retrospective activities, for example, where project expenditure is incurred prior to receipt and acceptance of a letter of offer.

Applicants that commence their projects prior to the execution of a grant agreement do so at their own risk, and the offer of the grant may be withdrawn.

Can a sporting club or school apply?

No, sporting clubs and primary and secondary schools are ineligible for this funding.

Please refer to the Victorian Government websites for other funding opportunities:

What type of equipment and activities are ineligible for funding?

Please refer to the Program Guidelines at the Living Local Regional Fund webpage.

The ineligible projects and activities as listed in the program guidelines are as follows:

  • events
  • clothing (except for protective clothing used in programs)
  • assistance for ongoing costs for membership activities
  • items to be used as prizes for fundraising
  • staffing costs
  • requests for retrospective funding where the equipment has been ordered or purchased prior to receiving funding approval
  • projects requiring further ongoing funding from the Victorian Government.

Applications

When do applications open and close for the Our Regions: Living Local Fund?

Applications opened 11 July 2022 and closed at 11:59pm on 14 August 2022. Late applications will not be accepted.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to assist in the timely assessment of applications.

How much funding can I apply for?

For the Living Local – Regional Grants Program, applicants may apply for $20,000 up to a maximum of $200,000 (exclusive of GST).

For the Living Local Fund – Regional Community Grants Program, applicants may apply for grants of $2,000 up to a maximum of $20,000 (exclusive of GST).

Funding for the programs will be awarded on a competitive basis.

How many applications can I submit?

For the Living Local – Regional Grants Program, there are no restrictions on the number of applications you can submit.

For the Living Local Fund – Regional Community Grants Program, applicants can only submit one application.

With limited funding available for both streams, grants will be allocated on a competitive basis.

What sort of financial commitment is required?

For the Living Local – Regional Grants Program, incorporated (not-for-profit) organisations/associations will be required to contribute at least 15 per cent of the grant being sought (cash and in-kind). Total contributions may consist of up to 25 per cent of in-kind.

Local governments will be required to make a minimum matching ($1:$1) contribution (cash and in-kind) of the grant being sought. Total contributions may consist of up to 25 per cent of in-kind contributions.

For the Living Local Fund – Regional Community Grants Program, no financial commitment is required from applicants to be eligible for funding.

However, if successful, applicants may need to contribute to the cost of equipment or minor building refurbishments if the costs are greater than the grant being requested / awarded.

Can I apply for both grants?

Incorporated (not-for profit) organisations/associations that are operating in rural and regional Victoria, can apply for both a Living Local – Regional Grant and Living Local – Regional Community Grant. Please refer to the Guidelines at the Living Local Regional Fund page.

Local governments are ineligible to apply for a Living Local – Regional Community Grant other than as an auspice agency for an un-incorporated community organisation.

Where can I apply for the grants?

The full application process is outlined on the Living Local Regional Fund page and in the associated program guidelines document. Application for each grant is via an online form:

How are applications assessed?

Living Local – Regional Grants Program

All applications will be assessed against the eligibility and assessment criteria and their ability to meet the program objectives, with priority given to projects in locations most impacted by COVID-19.

Projects that progress relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, local government, community organisations and communities will be considered favourably.

Applicants will be advised of the outcome by email and successful applicants will receive a letter of offer.

Applicants may be contacted to provide additional supporting documentation and confirm the performance targets and milestones.

There is no guarantee that an application will be supported for funding, or that the amount of funding requested will be offered. Approval of a lesser amount than applied for may occur if part of the expenditure is deemed ineligible.

Living Local Fund – Regional Community Grants Program

All applications will be reviewed against the eligibility and assessment criteria and their ability to meet the program objectives.

Applications for grants from $10,000 to $20,000 (exclusive of GST) will undergo a detailed assessment to ensure that the project location is accessible to the public, quotes represent eligible expenditure/s and the expected outcomes represent value for money and address the program outcomes.

Recommended recipients will be provided to the Minister for Regional Development for approval.

Applicants will be advised of the outcome by email and successful applicants will receive a letter of offer.

Applicants may be contacted to provide additional supporting documentation and confirm the performance targets and milestones.

There is no guarantee that an application will be supported for funding, or that the amount of funding requested will be offered. Approval of a lesser amount than applied for may occur if part of the expenditure is deemed ineligible.

What criteria will my application be assessed against?

Applications will be assessed against the assessment criteria and alignment with the objectives of the program. For the full assessment criteria, please refer to the corresponding Program Guidelines on the Living Local Regional Fund webpage.

What is the status of my application?

The status of your application will appear in the Business Victoria Grants Portal as one of the following:

  • draft – you have started an application
  • submitted – you have accepted the terms and conditions and submitted your application
  • under assessment – your application has been received and is being assessed by the Business Victoria team
  • successful – your application was successful
  • unsuccessful – your application was unsuccessful.

Please note, we cannot assess your application while it remains in ‘draft’.

When will I be notified of an outcome?

Applicants should expect to learn the outcome of their application by September 2022.

My application was unsuccessful. Can I appeal this?

There is no right of appeal for unsuccessful applications.


Projects

How quickly will I have to start the project?

As part of the application process, you will need to specify the anticipated start date of the project.

When will my project need to be completed by?

For the Living Local – Regional Grants Program, successful applicants will need to deliver the project activities before 1 June 2024. Completion of the project within this timeframe will be a legally binding commitment in the grant agreement.

Project acquittal must not extend beyond 1 June 2024.

For the Living Local – Regional Community Grants Program, successful applicants will need to deliver the project activities before 1 June 2023.

Project acquittal must not extend beyond 1 June 2023.


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