Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Submission guidelines

Award Key dates



Entries open

26 November 2019

Entries close

7 February 2020

Category Judging

February 2020

Category winners announced

March 2020

Category winners series of events, Canberra

April 2020

National Award judging, Canberra

April 2020

National Award Winner Announced and Presentation

15 June 2020

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About the National Awards for Local Government

The National Awards for Local Government (NALG) are an annual celebration of the best of Australian local government achievements. The Awards highlight innovative and resourceful solutions implemented by local governments to make a difference to their local communities.

Administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development with the support of key sponsors, the NALG promotes the significant role of the local government sector in delivering targeted quality services to Australians in urban and regional communities. Through the promotion of excellence in service delivery, the Awards showcase community solutions that directly respond to community need, overcome barriers and feature new, advanced and creative thinking.  There are ten Award categories that cover a range of projects that local government is delivering for their communities. These categories reflect the kind of community outcomes that are creating stronger, more resilient and more cohesive communities where people are safe and living their best lives.

A key focus of the 2020 NALG is to encourage a greater number of local governments, small or large, to tell us about projects they are delivering which contribute to developing sustainable communities for the future.

In an economic climate where all levels of government are required to optimise value for money, the Commonwealth will play a key role in ensuring that the 2020 winning projects are profiled nationally to encourage greater collaboration and knowledge sharing between all levels of government.

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Entry Eligibility

ELIGIBLE ENTITIES: All elected local government organisations (councils, shires and other recognised organisations that provide direct services to Australian communities) are eligible to enter.  If developed with other organisations, the local government entity must be the lead applicant.

INELIGIBLE ENTITIES: Local governments that are under administration for any reason other than amalgamation are ineligible to apply.

PRIMARY ENTITY: Each entry must have one local government organisation as the lead entity responsible for the entry.  This includes collaborations with other councils or organisations.  Acknowledgment and reference to the collaborative entities can be made in the entry submission

FUNDING PARTNERS: Councils that receive funding from other bodies (including Commonwealth bodies) may enter, but one local government entity must be the leading entity for the entry.

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Award Categories


The Minister Coulton Award – Progressive Community Leadership


Arts Animates – creating vibrant and cohesive communities through the Arts


Boosting Productivity through Infrastructure


Contributing to Regional Growth


Disability Access and Inclusion


Excellence in Road Safety


Multicultural Australia – Cohesive Communities


Addressing Violence Against Women and their Children


Promoting Indigenous Recognition


The Susan Grace Benny Award

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How to enter

Entries must be submitted using the online entry form at /local/awards/index.aspx

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Entry Guidance

  • To prepare your entry submission ensure you have referred to both the Award Category Fact Sheet and the Submission Guidelines
  • Complete all contact details at the beginning of the entry form
  • Complete a short project overview that describes the project, what it does, the issue that it addresses, who it benefits and what community outcomes it is providing
  • Complete Assessment Criteria A1 to A4 and note that a 300 word limit applies for each criteria
  • Short attachments may be added to your entry but each attachment must not be more than 10 pages
  • Links to multimedia may also be included in the submission or submission attachments
  • Submissions for the 2020 Awards will be accepted from 08:30am 26 November 2019 until 11:59pm on Friday 7 February 2020
  • No late submissions will be accepted.

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Further Information

Further information is available from the Awards Secretariat at the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities.

Phone:  02 6274 6922

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Assessment criteria

Your application can be about large or small projects, but most importantly you will need to show how the work you are doing is innovative, delivering best value, and securing real improvement in your local government’s capacity to improve outcomes in your community.
To be competitive your application must address each of the following criteria, and provide evidence that substantiates its claims.  The criteria used to assess and judge the submissions are common to all projects. For each project, judges will focus on the following criteria:

A1. What does your project do?

  • What issue/challenge does the project address?
    • How is the project meeting financial, service demand or other challenges, using new ideas or ways of working?
  • How did the organisation know these issues/challenges existed?
    • What factors determined the need for the project and what outcomes will indicate the success of the project?
  • What stakeholder consultation was undertaken and what was the community response?
    • How did community engagement/consultation lead to or support the development of the project?

A2. How will it be delivered?

  • What is unique about the process used to deliver the project?
    • Demonstrate a clear plan for the structure and delivery of the project and how the plan fits within the broader organisational structure
  • Is the project financially sustainable into the future?
    • How is the project helping prepare for the future in affordable, creative and sustainable ways?
  • How did the project managers deal, or plan to deal, with barriers?
    • Provide examples of any opportunities exploited or barriers overcome

A3. How is the project leading practice?

  • How is this project demonstrating leadership and innovation in its field?
    • Describe the originality/uniqueness of the project, and the creative approaches and strategies used
  • How does the project/activity represent a new and creative way of doing things?
    • How the project is delivering, or will deliver, better outcomes for the future compared to conventional approaches
  • What evidence supports the claim that the project is leading practice?
    • Reference broader research demonstrating why this particular approach was chosen

A4. How does the project benefit the community?

  • Who in the community benefits? How and why?
    • Provide a clear breakdown of the impacts (actual or projected) of the project, including peripheral or unanticipated impacts, on the broader organisation or on the community at large
  • How will the project’s achievements be assessed/measured?
    • Set out the assessment process used to determine the project’s impacts and the plan to utilise those assessments to support ongoing improvements
  • What are the evaluation processes in place to ensure the project continues to improve over time?
    • Describe the extent to which learning and measurement is leading to further improvement

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Assessment process

Entry submissions will be assessed in three stages:

1: Compliance check

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development will ensure entries have answered all the eligibility and assessment criteria.

2: Category Judging

Sponsors will provide and coordinate judging panels to assess the entries within their sponsored categories. At the completion of this phase, panels will have identified the category winner based on written submissions only.

3: National judging to select the winner of the National Award for Excellence in Local Government

Category winners will be invited to Canberra to attend a series of events in mid-April 2020.  One of these events will be for category winners to present their projects to a panel who will decide the overall winner of the 2020 National Award for Excellence.
Selections will be based on:

  • the written submission;
  • presentations and  pitch to the panel; and
  • responses to questions directed to the entrant by the judges.

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What happens next

  • The National Awards for Local Government category winners will notified by the Awards Secretariat in March 2020 and then announced publicly.
  • Category winners will receive regular information updates from the Awards secretariat in the lead-up to the April 2020 events.
  • The announcement of the winner of the 2020 National Award for Excellence will be announced at the National General Assembly of Local Government gala dinner on 15 June 2020.

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