Guidelines released for new regional grants program

Grant guidelines have now been released for the first round of the Australian Government’s new $600 million Growing Regions Program, with expressions of interest to open on July 5 this year.

The October 2022-23 Budget established new grants programs to replace the discredited programs run by the Liberals and Nationals.

After a devasting ANAO report, which showed the programs had been pork barreled to give money to National party seats without any fairness, without adherence to the guidelines and without proper process, the Albanese government was determined to provide something better for regional Australians.

The program will invest in critical regional infrastructure and community projects across regional and rural Australia through two $300 million funding rounds – with a second round to follow Round 1.

Local government entities and not-for-profit organisations will be able to apply for grants of between $500,000 and $15 million through the program, which will be open, competitive and merit-based.

The grants can be used to cover up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs, with lower co-funding requirements in place to support First Nations, disaster-affected and remote applicants to make their projects a reality.

By funding community and economic infrastructure projects in rural and regional Australia, the program will drive economic prosperity, enhance liveability, bolster social inclusion and support local amenity.

Further information on the program, including the Round 1 guidelines, is available at

Quotes attributable to Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King:

“As a regional Australian, I know how vital grants programs like this can be to make local projects in our regions a reality – projects that make a real difference for communities.

“This will allow local government entities and not-for-profit organisations to do exactly that, with funding under this program able to be used to construct new community infrastructure, or upgrade and expand existing facilities.  

Quotes attributable to Regional Development, Local Government and Territories Minister, Kristy McBain:

“The Growing Regions program forms part of our Government’s unwavering commitment to investing in Australia’s regions to create jobs, build opportunity and unlock economic growth and productivity.

“Through this program, we are delivering on our commitment to establish a new regional grants program focused on integrity, transparency, accountability, collaboration and fairness – and I can’t wait to see the incredible benefits it will have in our regions.”