Transcript - Webinar Regional Precincts & Partneship Program

- [Ann-Elise] This is our agenda for the day. We'll just do a brief introduction. I'm joined today by Phil Ventham from the Business Grants Hub, the hub's administering the grants programme on the behalf of the department. We'll spend 10, maybe 15 minutes going over the programme itself. Then we'll turn to the application portal, how you will engage with that in submitting applications. And then, of course, we've allowed time for questions and answers at the end. And if we don't get to your question because we run out of time or you happen to think of it after the webinar, we do have a dedicated inbox. I'll remind everybody of what that is, where you can submit your question after the presentation as well.

We're going to run through the programme from a policy perspective and I'm going to outline the key details, particularly around eligibility requirements and partnerships. But everything that I share with you today, you can also find on the grant opportunity guidelines.

The regional Precincts and Partnerships programme was announced at the October budget and it's undertaken a comprehensive design process within the department and in collaboration with the hub. We open for applications with the release of the programme guidelines on the 24th of August this year. The programme has a total quantum of 400 million funding, which is committed over three years.

The programme will run from 23 to 30 June, 2026. And the programme is being offered as an open, non-competitive grants process that will provide funding for precinct development and precinct delivery processes. That is, it's an always open process. Applications can be submitted at any time once the programme opens. The grant process being non-competitive, means, that applications will be assessed on their individual merit against the assessment criteria rather than in comparison to other applications. This programme is one of four programmes, which together will provide opportunities to all communities across Australia.

We've got the Growing Regions programme, many of you may already be aware of this programme, and that is a regional-rural focused programme. We've got the regional Precincts and Partnerships, this programme we're speaking about today, and then we have the Thriving Suburbs and the Urban Precincts and Partnerships, which will sit in the urban and suburban space. Information on these other programmes can be found on our department's website and for those interested, if it's relevant to you, the Urban Precincts and Partnerships programme will have consultation in early October. Again, those details will be available via the department's website.

The objectives of the programme to facilitate place-based approaches to planning, characterised by collaborative partnerships, engaging in shared design, stewardship and accountability of planned outcomes. To provide targeted benefits related to productivity, equity, and resilience for the people of regional, rural or remote Australia. To support community priorities for regional cities, rural or remote centres and areas, and to reflect the government's approach to regional investment as outlined under the regional investment framework.

The outcomes of the programme are to demonstrate the value of partnerships between governments, communities, and businesses for effective planning, coordination, and delivery of regional infrastructure. To develop and deliver regional precincts comprised of multiple infrastructure components, providing benefits related to productivity, equity and resilience, and to contribute to the Australian government's current policy priorities, including but not limited to closing the gap, transition to a net zero economy, Australia's emission reduction goals, social and affordable housing, and the national cultural policy. I highlighted this point that you'll see these outcomes flowing through into the assessment criteria for grant applications.

There's not an expectation for your application to demonstrate that it is achieving every single one of the Australian government policy priorities and this list is indicative, so it's including but not limited to. Applications of merit will demonstrate alignment with Australian government policy priorities, thus meeting the programme outcome. So one of the above or another government priority should be highlighted and identified in your precinct partnership.

Which brings us to the question, what are precincts? I'd like to spend a few moments to help conceptualise what this programme is meaning when we talk about precincts. Regional precincts or 'places of purpose' are user-defined, geographic areas. They have a specific shared need or theme. The regional precinct may include business districts, a neighbourhood, activity centre, commercial hub or community and recreational areas. A precinct will be located in a renewal, growth area of a regional centre, a regional corridor, regional cities, or smaller town centres that serve as service hubs in more remote communities. There is no defined size for how large or small the precinct should be. So the scale of a regional precinct project will vary depending on the location and objectives.

Our website provides a couple of examples for consideration to help conceptualise what we are meaning when we talk about precincts. For example, the University of Tasmania Inveresk Campus. So this is a good example. It demonstrates the partnership model and precinct development and delivery. Local and state government working in partnership to redevelop regional towns and civic spaces. This redevelopment project is currently underway and it aims to create a university city, easy pedestrian, bike and public transport access, high visibility and integration with both community and industry. The redevelopment is part of a shared precinct which will enable collaboration with the three levels of government, the city of Launceston, community and industry, helping build and support the region well into the future. Under the precincts partnerships programmes, the precincts are purposefully given a very broad definition, user-defined geographic areas with a specific shared need or theme. This is very purposeful as we're not intending or wanting to limit the type of precinct that could be funded by the programme. The precinct proposal should be based on community need, identifying local priorities and a real place-based partnership to bring those local priorities to life through the project application.

The project, sorry, the programme has two streams. Each stream has its own set of guidelines, so in preparing your application, make sure that you're referring to the correct set of guidelines for the type of proposal and which stream you are applying for. The programme has been designed with two different grant streams to support the planning and development of precincts as well as the delivery of construction ready precinct projects. The intention behind having these two different streams is to create the most equitable process possible, particularly to help smaller organisations that may not have an investment ready project but still would like to access funding to start thinking, scoping, planning, design for precinct development.

So some of you joining us today may have a shovel-ready project, in which case stream two would be the ideal place to submit that, but for others, stream one enables the creation of a pipeline of shovel-ready projects that could be considered as applications to stream two later.

Stream one is all about precinct planning and development. So the grant amounts are between 500,000 to 5 million and the eligible activities include scoping, planning, design and consultation activities related to the proposed precinct, the development and formalisation of partnership relationships and responsibilities and business cases and feasibility studies. Whereas stream two is for that precinct delivery. Grant amounts are between 5 million and 50 million, and eligible activities include the delivery of one or more elements of a precinct. That could include public transport infrastructure, it could include roads, pathways, it could include open spaces or a specific building that will catalyse other investment in the broader precinct.

Stream two is looking for investment ready projects, that will develop or improve a regional precinct, construction, upgrade or extension of existing or shovel-ready infrastructure to support the precinct. And it may involve procurement of suitable equipment and infrastructure.

So who's eligible for the Regional Precinct Partnership Programme? A regional university which may be a for-profit entity, incorporated not-for-profit organisations, local government agencies or bodies and state or territory government agencies and bodies. Now if you're joining us today and you're not from an eligible entity, you will not be able to submit an application to the programme. But you may be a partner and contribute to the partnership for an eligible organization's application for that broader precinct development. So this programme is all about developing partnerships. There are some other eligibility criteria you need to be able to meet. So you require an Australian business number or an Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations registration.

I would encourage you to make sure your application is within an eligible location, so your precinct must be located outside of the Greater Capital City Statistical Areas as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. We've provided a mapping tool which you can use to check the location eligibility of your precinct proposal. For stream one, applicants must have authority or must be close to seeking authority for use of the land the precinct will be situated on and for stream two you must have authority for use of the land in place.

Finally, your project must be completed by 31st of March, 2026. If you're applying for stream two, you must already have a completed business case or precinct design ready for delivery.

There is a co-contribution requirement. The co-contribution could be a cash contribution or in-kind support. There is no defined percentage of the co-contribution, but applicants will be required to demonstrate the level of co-contribution and commitment and this will be assessed as part of assessment criteria 4.

Applications must also meet the partnership requirements and that is across both streams. So let's turn our attention to what we mean when we're talking about partnership. One of the key differences for this particular programme compared with other traditional grants processes is this partnership element. The partnership approach is designed to bring together governments and communities who will deliver regional precincts tailored to local needs with a shared vision for how the precinct connects to the region. It's this local perspective that will be critical to delivering place-based infrastructure with the support and supported by the community. The programme will allow governments and communities to establish long-term partnerships and jointly invest in regional priorities.

When establishing your partnership, there's not a closed list of who may or may not be within that partnership. So the partnerships are intended to be varying conglomerates of eligible organisations, as well as other local stakeholders. This might include First Nation groups, regional Development Australia committees, also private enterprise, land owners, developers, designers, end users and community groups. And that's where, as I highlighted before, you would likely have into the partnership, entities that are not eligible to apply to the programme, but they can form part of the robust partnership that will support the delivery of the precinct.

Under both streams, you will be required to identify and submit a governance structure, that will outline the roles and responsibilities of the partner organisations. That governance piece will show who is in the partnership and it will show how the partnership works. Levels of governance required will be influenced by the nature of the partnership itself, who the members are. It'll be influenced by the type of precinct, what's being proposed and what specific project you are seeking funding for. But at a basic level, you should demonstrate and/or supply documentation regarding your partnership as part of the application process and I encourage early engagement with proposed partners before including them in your application. The partnership should have in principle agreement from all proposed partners prior to the application being submitted. Successful proposals will receive further information and support from the department on how to facilitate governance arrangements of the partnership.

We're currently in the process of considering the materials that may support partnership governance arrangements and really interested in the thoughts of applicants and prospective applicants as to what might be useful in that application and also project delivery phase of this programme. So keen to work with prospective and current applicants on what might be usable and helpful in establishing and identifying those governance arrangements.

Partnership eligibility requirements. So all applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements to demonstrate that there is indeed a partnership. This slide will outline the partnership eligibility requirements for stream one. There are different eligibility requirements for stream two. For stream one proposals must identify the intended project partners that form your partnership supported with a proposed governance structure for your precinct. You must also provide evidence that the relevant state or territory government has been invited to participate in the partnership, evidence that the relevant local government agency or body has been invited to participate in the partnership and evidence that the following organisations have been contacted to seek their support for the concept of the precinct and that is the relevant RDA committee and Traditional Owner or First Nation groups for the area.

For stream two, you must identify the project partner or partners that form your partnership and support that with the governance structure outlining anticipated engagement, roles and responsibilities to carry out a precinct in collaboration. You must provide evidence that the relevant state or territory government has been invited to participate in the partnership and if they are not part of the partnership, the reasoning for that should be provided in your application. You must provide evidence that the relevant local government agency or body has been invited to participate in the partnership and where it is not provide the reasoning in the application, as well as evidence that the relevant RDA committee has been contacted to seek support. And finally, you must provide evidence that the relevant Traditional Owner or First Nation groups form part of the partnership or will be consulted on a regular basis through the implementation of the precinct in order to ensure their views are considered. So that's really all from me on that programme design perspective.

As you can see for the requirements of partnership, it's generally the same for both, but stream two has an added layer requiring evidence to show why certain organisations might not be in the partnership itself. I will hand over to my colleague from the Business Grants Hub, Phil Ventham, to talk more specifically to the application process and the portal. Thanks Phil.

- [Phil] Thank you Ann-Elise, and good morning everyone. I'll now be taking you through the application process for the two stages of the regional Precincts and Partnerships programme. Much of my presentation will apply to both streams, but where there is divergence, it'll be indicated in red font on the slide and I'll mention it in my comments.

So all applications must be submitted via the official portal, which is accessed from the website. From the homepage, use the grants and support menu item to navigate to the grants finder and type regional precincts and partnerships into the search field. Click into the search result relevant to the stream you wish to apply for, to access the programme page and scroll down to the Apply Now section, where there is a link to the portal. The portal will be where successful applicants will manage their grant activity, so it's worth saving the portal homepage URL as a favourite. New users to the portal will need to register to gain access. Applicants that have previously applied using a specific email address may still be recognised.

Some things to note about the portal, applicants should save their work on a regular basis as the system times out after 30 minutes without a save. Moving the cursor will not reset the timer, but there is a save button at the bottom of every page. Questions marked with a red asterisk are mandatory and cannot be avoided. Each page of the form must be completed and validated. The save and continue button validates content, the save button does not. Error messages will be displayed if the validation process cannot be completed pointing to problem areas on the page. If there are no errors, clicking the save and complete button will move the application onto the next page and a green tick will appear against the validated page in the left-side navigation bar. All pages must show the green tick before the system will allow the application to be submitted.

Applicants can invite others to contribute to completing the form using the participant's option in the application summary screen. An application must be started, saved and then closed and then accessed through the my applications list before participants can be invited. Any page of the application can be edited up until the application is submitted. Once submitted, however, the application can no longer be edited but can be viewed via the application summary page. Now all applicants are strongly encouraged to read the guidelines for their preferred stream thoroughly before starting an application to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria and to determine whether their proposed project aligns with the objectives of the programme.

Next slide please. The application form asks questions over 13 pages with the headings listed on the screen. The slides that follow focus on the six pages highlighted in yellow, where the bulk of the application content will be entered. Beyond this, the instruction page covers much of the information I provided in the previous slide. The applicant address page seeks the mailing address of the entity submitting the application. It's not asking for the address of the project location, which is entered on a later page. The about your organisation page seeks top line financial information about your entity from the previous financial year together with the Australia and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification Codes and is a standard inclusion in Commonwealth government grant application forms. It also allows an entity to declare majority indigenous ownership or control. While it's not relevant to the application assessment, the information on this page provides us with standardised background information on all applicants. The project partners page seeks the entity name, address and ABN for each of the formal partners that will be involved in the delivery of the project. That is entities that will have an official role in the planning of or delivery of the precinct project. Their contributions can be financial or in-kind, but should be underscored by a formal agreement or memorandum of understanding specific to the project.

Project partners do not refer to companies paid to undertake work on the project delivery. In this section, in stream two, the form will also ask for the contact details of each project partner and provide the opportunity to upload a letter of support for the project from that partner. Uploading a letter of support from each partner is mandatory in stream two in accordance with section 7.1 of the guidelines. In addition, this section in stream two will also ask the applicant to confirm if the relevant state or territory government is part of the precinct partnership. Answering yes to this question does not mean the state government partner details do not need to be added. Instead, it provides an opportunity where an applicant answers no to include reasoning as to why the state government is not involved. Again as required by section 7.1 of the guidelines. Information entered into the primary contact information page should relate to the person who will have day-to-day responsibility for the project on an ongoing basis. If the application is successful, the Business Grants Hub will use this contact for all communications for the lifecycle of the grant, unless advised otherwise. Similarly, information provided on the bank account details page should be the account that the grant funds will be paid into together with the contact details of the individual in your entity who has primary responsibility for the account.

Finally, prior to submitting the application, the applicant is required to make a declaration covering a range of application specific obligations. So I'll now go through the information about the highlighted pages of the application in a bit more detail. Next slide please. The programme selection page allows the applicant to select one of the two streams of the regional Precincts and Partnerships programme and launch the application form. As not all entity types are eligible for all government grant programmes. This page of the form asks some initial questions about the entity, including asking for an ABN before it delivers the programme options. You'll need to click the validate button on entering your ABN to continue populating the form. The system will use your ABN to pre-populate information sourced from the Australian Business Register database.

Can I have the next slide please? In the programme selection section of that page, ignore the first entry field with the filter by code button next to it. Beneath this is a dropdown menu that lists all of the programmes available to your entity type. Applicants should select either Regional Precincts and Partnerships programme, Precinct Development, for stream one or regional Precincts and Partnerships programme, Precinct Delivery for stream two from the dropdown list of programmes offered in the left-hand dropdown box. The second field on the right pre-populate upon the initial selection. If the programme is not on the dropdown list, it means the entity type indicated in the proceeding questions may not be eligible for the programme. On saving and completing this page, a unique application ID number will be generated for the application, which will appear at the top of each subsequent page. This will be quoted in all future correspondence about the application.

Next slide, thanks, thanks. The eligibility section of the application form is based on the eligibility criteria covered in section four of the guidelines. There are nine questions in stream one and 10 questions in stream two that must be answered correctly to progress to the next page. Eligible answers will automatically deliver the next question, where an ineligible answer is given, the process will stop and the next question will not appear.

Please note, an error message will only appear when the Save and Continue button is clicked. Error messages do not appear automatically when the ineligible answer is selected or if the save button is clicked.

The first two questions relate to the applicant entity and its registration type. As previously noted, applicants must be an Australian state or territory government agency or body, a local government agency, a regional university, or an incorporated not-for-profit organisation to be eligible to apply. Both these questions have dropdown boxes with limited response options related to the criteria. For example, entity types list the eligible options or none of the above, while registration type offers ABN or ORIC options. In the next three questions, the applicant declares its eligibility against other criteria by answering a simple yes or no.

For location eligibility, all project sites must be located outside the Greater Capital City statistical area. A link to the specially developed mapping tool is available to provide an eligibility check down to the street number level. For landholder permission, all applicants must either own the land or property being built on or upgraded or have the written permission of the relevant landowner or property owner. Evidence will be needed to be attached to the application, which I'll discuss in more detail later in the presentation. For project partnerships, the applicant must declare that they can identify the intended members of a proposed partnership together with an outline of the governance structure that the partnership will operate under. Further evidence of this will also need to be attached later in the application.

For stream two, there is an additional eligibility question where you declare that you have already completed a business case precinct master plan or equivalent development planning document that includes designs for the project and that demonstrates a project for which funding is being sought is ready for delivery. The final four questions relate to confirmation that the applicant has already undertaken engagement with key stakeholders that will be critical to the delivery of the precinct project, namely, the relevant state or territory government, the relevant local government or governments, the relevant Regional Development Australia committee and the Traditional Owners and/or First Nations group for the project area.

Where an applicant gets an error message on a question and they think their answer is eligible, they should consult the guidelines and seek further advice using the helpline number listed on

Next slide. Thanks. Sorry. Next slide. Yeah. So this slide gives a visual representation of the things that I've mentioned. On the left side you can see the navigation bar showing that pages one and two have been validated. As you can see, an ineligible answer has been given for the eligible location question and the save and continue button has been clicked. You can see that the next question has not been delivered and an error message has appeared. The navigation bar shows the page has not been validated. Getting an error message does not nullify the application. If, for example, at the time of starting your draught, you haven't yet invited state government to participate in your project, you can save your draught, complete the invitation and then return to the draught and change the eligibility answer to proceed further with the application.

Next slide. Thanks. The project information page is the applicant's opportunity to provide a detailed overview of the project. The form asks for a project title, both a brief and a detailed description of the project and a summary of the project's expected outcomes. The brief project description will be used for marketing purposes, for example, for promoting a successful application on the GrantConnect website. It should therefore be succinct but give a clear outline of the project and its purpose. The detailed project description and the project outcomes will be included in the grant agreement and applicant should take care to make sure the content is comprehensive, relevant and accurate. Applicant should check for errors in grammar and spelling as these are not edited before the agreement is generated. The project description should give assessors a clear picture of what is involved in the project. In other words, the activities that the grant funding will be paying for.

For stream one this might outline the background precinct development idea, the steps that need to be taken to deliver a precinct plan and why grant funding is needed. For stream two, the description might include a background to the development of the precinct concept, the current status of the broader precinct project, and an indication of what elements or elements of the project that funding is being sought for, together with the steps required to realise those elements. The project outcome should provide a summary of the anticipated impacts that the project that funding is being sought for will deliver to the local area. This might include financial, commercial, and/or societal benefits and applicants may also wish to indicate how the project will help to deliver on the objectives and intended outcomes of the regional Precincts and Partnerships programme. As outlined in the project programme guidelines. Applicants need to enter an anticipated start date for the project and the expected completion date.

The system will deliver an error message if the project start date is before the 1st of November, 2023. Applicant should note that section 8.2 of the guidelines indicates that the expert panel is only expected to meet twice a year to consider applications. Project start date should take this into consideration and provide a start date that allows for assessment of the application and the development of an agreement. Similarly, per section 3.2 of the guidelines, an error message will be given if the project completion date is after 31st of March, 2026. Applicants must nominate up to six key milestones for the project, which include a description of the milestone content and the expected start and end date for delivery of those milestones. If successful, the applicant will report on the progress of these milestones in a series of progress reports submitted to the Business Grants Hub over the lifecycle of the grant, so they should reflect important aspects of the project delivery. This project information section also asks for the street address and geo coordinates of the project location. Where the project is being delivered across multiple sites, the addressing coordinates of each site is requested together with an indication of the percentage of the project value being undertaken at each site. Applicant should use the mapping tool to find the geo coordinates for each site location. Finally, where applicants have an Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations number, it should be included on this page.

Next slide. Thanks. On the project budget page, applicants will need to enter the grant amount sought, declare all cash contributions to the project from other sources and a breakdown of the project's eligible expenditure budget. A table is provided for declaring eligible project expenditure based on standard expenditure categories. These categories are slightly different between the two streams, given the different nature of the projects they support. Common categories for both are labour, labour on costs, contract, travel and other eligible expenditure, with stream one, including partnership establishment and operation costs, which is not included in stream two and stream two including materials for construction and hard lease and plant which are not included in stream one. Budget should be completed based on GST exclusive figures, unless the applicant entity is not registered for GST. Applicant should refer to the two appendices in the guidelines which provides an indication of the type of costs that will be eligible and those that will be considered ineligible. As part of the assessment process, there will be a full analysis of the project budget and an ineligible costs will be excluded from consideration. Applicant should pay close attention to which costs are eligible and which are ineligible as the removal of ineligible costs may impact the agreed final grant amount, which could fall below the minimum grant amount for the stream. If this happens, the application may be deemed ineligible.

Applicants must list all expected cash and in-kind contributions from themselves, other members of the partnership or other sources, both government and non-government, including details of the source entity and the amount of that co-funding. Evidence for each of these contributions, for example, letters of commitment or grant confirmation notices will need to be attached later in the application. The budget table will automatically show financial year rows for completion based on the start and end dates of the project, indicated in the project information page. If you return to the project information page to amend the dates after having completed the project budget page, you should ensure that all figures in the budget are returned to zero before doing so, as the system will create new lines if the dates cross into new financial year. The budget table has background formulas that calculate the totals and validates those totals against some of the grants amount requested and the other cash contributions being declared. If the numbers don't add up correctly, you will get an error message, so the need to accurately reflect the breakdown of your total project contributions in the budget table across budget categories and financial years.

Please also note when completing the fields related to contributions, you must complete the field for in-kind support even if there is none, the system requires you to add a zero to the field to continue, otherwise it will deliver an error message. The system will also run calculations throughout the completion of the fields rather than at the end. Consequently, you may get an error message when you complete the grant amount requested field, if there are still other contributions to add. The error messages will disappear when the other contributions are added, provided all the numbers add up. The completion of the budget table does not remove the obligation to provide a detailed budget as part of the required attachments later in the application form. Any differences in expenditure between the attached budget and the table in this section should only relate to ineligible expenditure items. Finally, as noted in section 3.1 of the guidelines, other Commonwealth government funding may not be used for the project. Applicant should take care when noting funding from other grants to ensure they do not derive from other Commonwealth government programmes.

Next slide. Thanks. The programme guidelines for both streams, one and two, include four assessment criteria which shall now go through individually. Applicants are required to give separate answers for each of the four criteria. The four criteria are weighted. That is they have maximum scores that the answer will be assessed against. These scores are different for each criteria based on its importance to the overall assessment. The scores also vary for each criteria between the streams, so please refer to the guidelines to confirm the weighting for each stream. Applicants will need to score a minimum of 50% against each criteria to be sufficiently meritorious to be considered for grant funding. For all criteria, applicants are encouraged to give answers that are concise but effective. It is better to make reference to supporting documentation attached with the application rather than repeat large chunks of information already in those attachments, so the answer can be used to build the case for funding. Assessment criteria 1, seeks to identify the alignment of the project for which funding is being requested with the programme objectives and Australian Government priorities.

The guidelines offer five indicators to guide applicants in preparing their answer to this criterion. These include identifying local or regional plans or strategies that have informed the project or precinct idea. These strategies should preferably be available in the public domain so that you can provide them as attachments to the application. Applicants should reference the priority and then use their own words to explain how the project delivers on that priority. We're pointing to an attached strategy document. We strongly encourage including page references to guide assessors to relevant sections that corroborate your answer rather than expect them to locate the information themselves. The answer to criterion one should also address how the precinct development process will or has considered a place-based approach to planning. That is the involvement of local communities to achieve better outcomes for those communities. In addition, it should summarise how the planning process has or will consider better integration of land use to facilitate outcomes such as sustainability and biodiversity. This answer should also address anticipated economic, social and community outcomes, such as the project's expected contribution to local or regional developmental or renewal and any increases to productivity, equity and resilience. Analysts has previously described the programme objectives and the government priorities, and this answer is an opportunity to outline how issues such as disaster risk, emissions reduction, and energy efficiency have or will be addressed in the development and delivery of the precinct project and whether the project will, in addition to other outcomes, help deliver on one-on-one national priorities such as the net zero economy and closing the gap.

Next slide. Thanks. Assessment criteria two seeks information on project need, that is the background rationale, that has inspired the idea for the precinct project and/or the specific element or elements of the precinct that funding is being sought for. Project need can be demonstrated by identifying recognised public infrastructure gaps, for example, with reference to local strategies, development plans or reports, and outlining how the precinct project will help fill these gaps. This section should address both the short-term and long-term benefits for the local area in delivering the project, from the impacts on the local economy and the creation of jobs, the precinct's role in the improvement of public services. In addition, applicants should provide insights into the different individual elements to be included in the precinct, why they have been included and how they will contribute to the creation of the precinct as a place with purpose. The answer to this criterion should consider the funding plan for the broader precinct and discuss how grant funding will complement any existing investment commitments to the project. Similarly, it should identify any existing or potential barriers to investment, what strategies have been employed to address them and any identified risks that might prevent the future development of the precinct. For projects in stream two, applicants are also encouraged to consider the longer term opportunities the precinct might offer for attracting private investment to the region and the potential for this investment to stimulate further expansion beyond the initial precinct concept and the impact of this investment on the ongoing sustainability of the project as a whole.

Next slide. Thanks. Assessment criteria three is looking for insights into how you plan to engage with your partners, with critical stakeholders and with the local community. The guidelines outline the importance of a partnership approach that encourages collaboration and the involvement of local perspectives to deliver precincts that are the results of shared vision and that are tailored to local needs. The breadth of this partnership approach will be dependent on the scale and ambition of an individual precinct project. This criterion seeks to understand how applicants will work with their formal partners, consider the views of local communities and how they plan to establish regular consultation during the planning and delivery of the precinct project to benefit from local knowledge and to address concerns and challenges effectively. Formal partnerships should be documented by agreements and managed through a governance plan that outlines the roles and responsibilities of each member of the partnership. A governance plan should establish the objectives of the partnership and describe the way in which the members of the partnership will interact with each other and other stakeholders external to the partnership to achieve those objectives. Engagement with external stakeholders may be described through an anticipated or existing consultation plan, depending on whether the application is to stream one or stream two. The plan should identify how you intend to capture and integrate learnings into the planning of and/or delivery of the project. An answer to criterion three might describe a consultation plan, identify any known concerns and what strategies have been employed to address and overcome them. The involvement of First Nation groups in the planning and delivery of precinct context is specifically identified in the guidelines as an area of interest. While this will vary depending on the location and scope of different projects, applicants are encouraged to consider this aspect as it relates to their project in the response to this criterion.

Next slide. Thanks. The final assessment criterion relates to the applicant's capacity, capability and available resources to deliver the proposed precinct project completion. Applicant should consider their past experience in delivering projects, similar to that for which funding is being sought and provide some examples of projects that have been successfully delivered. Depending on the scale and complexity of the precinct projects, applicants should identify their experience with specific areas of project management that relate to this complexity, whether it be financing, stakeholder engagement, risk management and/or knowledge of the regulatory environment. This section should also provide an outline of the skilled resources available to the applicant to deliver the project or an indication of how those skills will be secured. Again, the complexity of the project will dictate the breadth of coverage required for this section and a resource plan may be a convenient way to reflect the resourcing required for more expansive projects. Where members of the project partnership will be contributing to the provision of skilled resources, this should be indicated. For stream two, applicant should also provide a demonstration that the project for which funding is being sought is ready to commence. This might include a detailed timeline, an overview of the status of required approvals and land rights issues, and confirmation that all legislative requirements are in place to begin construction. In addition, stream two applicants should also indicate the status of their broader funding programme beyond this grant application, together with the status of any longer term commitments made or propose that we'll sustain the project beyond the term of the grant funding. For stream two, this assessment criterion has a high importance to the overall assessment and applicant should give consideration to ensuring they've built a strong case supported by appropriate evidence.

Next slide. Thanks. The application finalisation section of this form is the opportunity to attach all of the supporting evidence required as part of the eligibility criteria or to support the answers to the assessment criteria. The section starts with an opportunity to declare any conflicts of interest. A conflict of interest may occur if an applicant or any of their personnel has a professional, commercial or personal relationship with a party that is able to influence the application selection process, for example, with an Australian Government officer or member of the expert panel or has a relationship with or interest in an organisation which is likely to interfere with or restrict the applicant from carrying out the proposed project activity fairly or independently or has a relationship with or interest in an organisation from which they will receive personal gain.

Because the organisation receives grant under the Regional Precincts and Partnership programme. Where you have doubts, it is best to declare. The guidelines list a range of documents that should be attached as evidence to support the application content. For the most part, these attachments are mandatory and applicant should ensure that they clearly demonstrate the guideline requirement. First, assessors will be looking for evidence that the project has been well considered. The evidence for this will be different for stream one and stream two, given the nature of the projects. But as a starting point, the attachments should be the kind of documents the applicant might submit to a board, council or senior executive team to justify progressing with a project.

For stream one, the application seeks a project plan or project outline that might include a project rationale, an outline of costs, a delivery timeline, expected outcomes, considered risks, and an overview of relevant stakeholders. For construction projects in stream two, it might further include project designs, an in-depth business case, a detailed delivery plan and a summary of approval requirements, the status of those approvals and any legislative requirements the project needs to meet. This will be a key attachment for the application as it will reinforce the description of the project and demonstrate rigour. If for whatever reason the content of this document differs from anything that has been detailed in the application, it should be clearly explained to avoid any confusion for the assessor.

The project budget should be a more comprehensive version of the budget table provided in the application, showing in detail the estimated costs of the project, both eligible and ineligible. Ideally, ineligible expenditure items should be highlighted to ensure the assessors can easily confirm that the attached budget aligns with the budget table in terms of total eligible costs. If a budget is already included in the project plan or business case, ensure that any difference between the two are explained. For example, if one was an earlier estimate superseded by a subsequent draught, you should not expect assessors to know what you know if not clarified. For stream two, there is also the requirement to attach a precinct funding strategy. A stream two offers grants for the construction of one or more individual elements within a larger precinct project.

The precinct funding strategy should outline how the applicant intends to fund the remaining elements that make up the broader precinct. Evidence to support landowner authority must clearly demonstrate that either you, the applicant, own the land on which you intend to undertake the project or that you have the landowner's permission to undertake that project. Please take care with this attachment. An assessor will not be able to cross-reference a lot number in an attachment against a street address in an application if the evidence does not make it clear.

The provision of a lease document may not be sufficient if a clause in that lease states that approval of construction works requires separate written approval from the landowner, you may also need to provide that as additional evidence. The evidence of land ownership must very clearly link the applicant with the project site address provided in the application. Where the applicant is not the owner, the evidence must clearly demonstrate, the landowner is the owner of the project site and has given specific consent for the new construction or for the upgrade or extension. Where land ownership is complex, the evidence must show that all parties with a legal interest in the land had given their permission. Evidence of support from intended partners or in the case of stream two, confirmed partners, should take the form of formal communications from each partner, preferably on letterhead, confirming their intent to join a partnership related to the proposed precinct project in the case of stream one or in the case of stream two, confirming their involvement in the partnership. The communication should detail any funding or other contribution commitments and also provide a declaration of their support for the specific project that funding is being applied for.

As noted previously in stream two letters of support from partners also required in the partners page, provided those letters include the required information. They can also be used here. You must also attach your proposed or agreed governance structure for how the partnership you plan to establish or have already established to deliver the project or precinct will operate. That is how will the project lead, relationships with each partner be managed and what is the partner's responsibility to the project and how will these responsibilities be tracked and administered.

The guidelines outlines an expectation that certain key stakeholders will be engaged to support a precinct project or play an active role as a member of a partnership. Applicants must attach copies of correspondence or other records that demonstrate that they invited the participation of the relevant state or territory government and the relevant local government or governments. In addition, evidence must be attached to demonstrate that the applicant has sought the support of or involvement of the relevant Regional Development Australia committee and the relevant Traditional Owners or First Nations groups for the area. Applicants should also attach any letters of support they have received from the local community and local businesses that relate to the project. Applicants will also have the opportunity to attach any additional evidence relevant to or referenced in their answers to the four assessment criteria, if not already included in previously described attachments. This could include regional strategies, feasibility studies, minutes of community engagement activities, and a summary of previous projects delivered by the applicant. If the lead applicant is an incorporated not-for-profit organisation-

- [Instructor] Is, he's coming?

- [Phil] Sorry, could you mute yourself? Thank you.

- [Instructor] No. It's alright. Yeah, he thought, yeah, it'd be better to have one of them here.

- [Phil] Sorry about that. If the lead applicant is an incorporated not-for-profit organisation, they must attach evidence that demonstrate its not-for-profit status. Not providing this evidence runs a risk of being deemed ineligible. Appropriate evidence could include a copy of an Australian charities not-for-profit commission registration, a copy of state or territory incorporated association registration or copies of constitution documents or articles of association that demonstrate the applicant's not-for-profit character. If providing constitution documents or articles of association that are lengthy, it is recommended that you either provide relevant excerpts or highlight the relevant sections relating to the entity's not-for-profit status to make the assessor's job easier. Finally, where an applicant is a trustee applying on behalf of a trust, they must attach trust documentation that confirms that the trustee is a formal trustee for that trust and has authority to be making the application on the trust's behalf.

Again, highlighting relevant information is recommended. An important consideration when pulling together your attachments is portal capacity. As noted in the guidelines, an individual applicant has a total capacity limit of 20 megabytes for attachments and individual documents should not exceed two megabytes in size. Applicants are responsible for ensuring they don't exceed this limit. Consider compressing large documents, particularly designed documents or consider using excerpts rather than attaching full versions of documents, where most of the content may not be relevant. If doing so, it is recommended to include the cover page and index, so assessors have context. Consider whether full design documents are necessary or whether sufficient information on a project can be conveyed with a judicious selection of specific pages. Where you're combining multiple documents or excerpts into a single attachment, make sure you clearly differentiate where one document ends and another starts. You should not expect assessors to be able to recognise this if it is not clear. Applicants may consider providing links to documents that are available on public websites. Be aware that some companies and government agencies block access to some websites, while government and local government sites are usually okay. Other public sites may not be, an applicant should carefully consider whether to use links. We recommend against linking to file sharing sites like Dropbox, WeTransfer or Google Drive, these sites are often blocked. Similarly, do not link to files held in your organization's private server or Share Space. It is not the assessor's responsibility to follow up with applicants if websites are blocked, links are broken, don't work, or if they point to files held on private servers that require password access. Applicants must carefully consider how they use their attachment capacity limit to maximise their application. So that completes my section of the webinar. I'll now hand it back to Ann-Elise to open up for questions.

- [Ann-Elise] I just wanted to acknowledge that we are on time and apologise for our technical challenges setting up today. We'll stay on and answer as many questions as we can in the next 5 to 10 minutes, but we'll take everything that you've submitted to us through the chat and we'll get answers and we'll upload that to the department's website as soon as possible. So if we don't get to your question right now, I apologise, but we will get to it and pop that up now. If we don't have your question yet and you think of it later, please feel free to submit it to 13-28-46, that's the helpline for applications, or to and we'll make sure that all questions do get answered. For anyone popping their hand up, please just pop your questions straight into the chat and we will capture them that way. In the interest of time, there seem to be a number of themes that have come out in the questions in the chat.

The first one is around co-contributions and whether we could explain better what we mean by that, the expectation for co-contribution is, so while applicants are not expected to or required to provide necessarily a financial contribution, there is an expectation that there will be support demonstrated from applicants and from the partnership to the project. There's no defined percentage of the proposal costs that must be contributed, but each stream requires applicants to demonstrate the commitment to the proposal and that could be monetary or otherwise. So by co-contribution that could be inclined, land use, resources, staff time, system access, connections, all of those things that you might require and bring together to put through and to support the delivery of the precinct proposal. The organisations within your partnership do not have to be co-contributors or co-funding partners, but they can and where they are that should be captured in your project proposal. Evidence for co-contribution is important. Examples of the type of evidence could be where it is financial loan approvals and agreements, letters of offer from financial institutions, a letter of commitment from a funding partner or grant funding confirmation letters, where other forms of grant funding are being utilised. Examples of the type of evidence for in-kind contributions could include, but this is not an exhaustive list, land lease agreements, letters or agreements to outline the service that will be provided. For example, if it's labour or donated goods to the project, that would be captured in a letter of support or an agreement, memorandum of understanding, et cetera. In that I just remind everybody, the project specifically seeking funding through the regional Precincts Partnerships programme cannot utilise other Commonwealth funding, but for stream two there may be other aspects of that precinct that are being supported with Commonwealth funding.

We also had a lot of applications and a lot of interest on whether multiple applications could be submitted or whether it was possible to be submitting to both stream one or stream two at the same time. There is no limit to the number of applications that an individual applicant can submit, but they must be for different precincts. If you had multiple projects within the same precinct, you should be bundling that up into one application. You are encouraged to consider which elements of the precinct would be best to put forward or submission because really we want to see your strongest proposal. Each application is going to be assessed individually on its own merits against the selection criteria as a separate application. So if you've got an application for precinct A and for precinct B, they'll be independently assessed.

Can you apply for stream one and stream two? Well, yes, yes, you can. You might submit applications to either stream, but again they must be for different precincts. The applications, the precincts for that is established in the guidelines, only shovel-ready projects within precincts that are established and supported are eligible for stream two, but stream one is focused on planning and development. So by virtue of being eligible, an application to stream one precinct would not be eligible for stream two because it would not be shovel-ready or development-ready and vice versa. If you receive funding for a project in stream two and undertake the development and planning function through the support that you receive, you could later submit an application under stream two. So part of the intent behind stream one is to support precinct and to become investment ready. An application under stream two would be a whole independent application. The previous answers to stream one would not be assessed as part of that second application, it would be a unique discreet application process to stream two and it would be assessed on its own merits against the criteria of stream two.

Similarly, if you submitted an application for a proposal that was deemed ineligible or was assessed as not meritorious for funding, you could choose to resubmit a revised application. You would need to amend the application, should you have been found ineligible to then comply and demonstrate compliance with the guidelines. If the application was not meritorious through the assessment process, there'll be an opportunity to discuss the outcome with the Business Grants Hub to improve your application before choosing to resubmit for consideration in a later batch.

We've had a question about obtaining support from state or territory governments and I need to check my notes. Was that a question on the process of that or maybe I need go there. So the question was surrounding what do we mean by obtaining support or seeking support and that evidence of invitation for state or territory government? So what we mean by seeking support is particularly, if it is relevant under a portfolio that you've reached out, if you are proposing a health precinct, we want to see engagement with relevant agencies for supporting that health precinct delivery. You would be contacting a relevant department, relevant contact to engage for that support from your state or territory government and/or the relevant department responsible. So if the precinct requires planning, you'll reengage as appropriate. If it requires new road building, you'll reengage as appropriate, but it's demonstrating that you have identified the appropriate parts of connections that you need with your relevant state or territory government and that you are reaching out and seeking support to that. For some proposals that, for example, a design proposal that might be simply sending an email or a letter and receiving an email, letter in its reply saying, "Yep, we think that's a great idea." For a more comprehensive... I'm noting Chris's comment there.

For a more comprehensive proposal, you may need to engage over an extended period of time. Around concerns for timing, one of the reasons that this is a non-competitive, always open process is because we understand that building partnerships and engaging with other agencies or state territory governments, not being as agile as you might like, that might take time and it might take time to put those parameters for your partnership in place. So by being always open, you have time available to develop a robust precinct proposal, to develop an appropriate governance structure and partnership and to put those things in place that you require to demonstrate support for and capacity to deliver the precinct that you're putting forward.

We have some questions on timing. Noting everything that I've just said before. We know that this is not going to be as simple as some grant applications where you can identify your need, clarify your project, put together your budget, submit your application. There's other expectations and other intent behind this programme. So the pace for our assessment processes are going to be contingent on the volume and timing of applications received. So we will work with the pace that the applications are prepared and submitted with our assessment panel and then with the subsequent assessment processes to be making funding decisions. So you're encouraged to start work, to start forming partnerships or to start utilising existing partnerships to bring forward proposals, but take the time that you require to bring those together and we will be monitoring applications as they're submitted and guided by that in preparation of our assessment processes. I think that is our top four themes throughout questions and I know we are right on the dot of 11:10, so thank you for everyone who stayed with us, the extra 10 minutes. If we haven't covered your question, but you've pasted it in our, copied it into the chat already, we will capture that through that process. If you've still got a burning question, please feel free to put that in right now.

We'll leave that open a few more minutes to make sure we've captured everybody's thoughts and requests for additional information or clarification. Thank you again for joining us today. Thank you, Phil, for being a great co-host. We'll pop the information that you've seen, including our speaking to the PowerPoint, to the department's website, so you'll be able to access all of this information to review at your own leisure as you prepare your applications. Thank you everyone.