RSM’s National Grants Manager explores the agricultural government grants landscape.
Australian Governments offer billions of dollars of grant funding over thousands of programs. To complicate matters, the grants landscape is constantly changing, with programs expiring and emerging daily.
Understanding the grant funding landscape is a significant job that few have time for. As RSM’s National Grants Manager, I frequently have organisations approach me asking “are we missing out?”
To answer this question, it’s important to understand what funding bodies are hoping to achieve. Governments don’t typically see themselves as having a mandate to support the success of individual businesses. They do, however, have a mandate to support the broader economy.
If your project has;
- Broad economic impacts,
- Plugs a supply-chain gap,
- Alleviates a challenge for the whole sector or creates jobs for your region,
- Creates jobs for your region,
Then, you’re potentially in the realm of grant funding.
For example, several States have funding programs to incentivise significant job-creating projects to occur within their borders, especially in regional areas. New South Wales offers the Regional Investment Activation Fund while Victoria offers the Regional Jobs Fund. Further north, the Invested in Queensland program and Northern Territory Local Jobs Fund provide powerful incentives to new projects. Western Australia’s Value Add Investment Grants support job-creating expansions in the agriculture and food sectors.
Nationally, industry-specific bodies such as the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and Hort Innovation provide grant, loan or investment funding according to their mandates.
Governments also offer funding to support those affected by natural disasters. Drought-related programs include the Federal Government’s Future Drought Fund and State programs such as Queensland’s Drought Preparedness Grants. Several programs emerged after the recent floods, such as the New South Wales Government’s Primary Industry Support Package and South Australia’s Flood Recovery Grants.
Finally, grants are available periodically for specific agricultural priorities such as biosecurity or carbon emissions abatement. Examples include Victoria’s annual Livestock Biosecurity Fund and the Federal Government’s National Soil Carbon Innovation Program.
Of course, these programs are an indication of the funding landscape but are far from comprehensive. If you’re planning a significant project with economic benefits outside your organisation, it’s worth ensuring you’ve investigated available grant programs which could offer you the funding you need.