Sector Development FAQs

Frequently asked questions regarding BIRP Sector Development Grant funding to support the medium to long-term recovery and resilience of the forestry, horticulture and agriculture (aquaculture, dairy, viticulture and apiculture) industries in New South Wales impacted by the bushfires from 31 August 2019.

How will projects be assessed and funding apportioned?

Projects will be assessed against the assessment criteria outlined in the Program Guidelines including the projected benefits and costs and other supporting evidence. An expert panel including representation from industry will assess projects in line with broader objectives of the funding package. Projects may be disaggregated by industry sector, project type, region and other themes for equitable funding distribution.

Can I submit multiple applications?

Yes. Applicants should outline the priority order for each application. They should also ensure they are distinct and not sequential or dependent on all applications being approved.

I have already incurred costs for eligible activities. Can these be claimed against the grant?

You can claim costs already incurred as your co-contribution to the grant but not as part of the grant funding amount requested.

If I am successful, will the grant funding I receive be considered as income for tax purposes?

You should seek your own independent financial and accounting advice regarding tax treatments applicable to your individual proposal(s).

Can a project cross multiple Local Government Area (LGA) boundaries?

Yes, however, proposals must demonstrate linkages to one of the three industries (forestry, horticulture, agriculture) and to bushfire impacted LGAs.

How will information in applications be handled?

All information submitted by an applicant may be provided to other organisations for the purposes of eligibility and project proposal appraisal. Summary information about successful project applications will be posted on NSW Government websites unless applicants advise that they do not agree to this. Applicants should identify any information submitted which they wish to be considered as confidential, supported by reasons for the request. Except as disclosed, the Department will keep all information confidential and secure.

Is there support available for completing an application?

A local Business Development Manager will be able to provide information on the program to assist applicants to develop applications.

To find your local Business Development Manager, please email and ask for a referral.

Can I apply for funding if my company is not based within NSW?

Yes, however the project must be located in NSW and primarily generate NSW jobs.

Can I submit an application requesting funding for less than $50,000 or more than $10 million?

No. The minimum grant per application is $50,000. The maximum grant per application is $10 million.

If successful, what is the final date I can start my project before funding lapses?

The Guidelines identify within 12 months of Announcement however the department recognises the challenging environment our stakeholders are working in and are allowing additional time to enable Announcement to Funding Deed. The date is extended to 31 December 2021 to accommodate a range of potential scenarios.

How do I use the data sheets for planning projects (requesting money to undertake a feasibility study, Business Case, R&D project, etc)?

Fill out the data sheet to the extent that you can and what you anticipate the final project would be, noting that some of the details would ultimately be delivered by the exercise.

Which datasheet do I complete if I am a business, but my project also had industry wide impacts?

Business Data Sheet first and then also complete relevant sections of the Industry Data Sheet to capture those benefits which may improve the success of your project.

How do I determine what is ‘Local’ in the data sheets?

Choosing a council area in the Business data sheet will show which Functional Economic Region (FER) a project relates to which may include additional councils. In the industry data sheet multiple FERs may be selected or alternatively you can choose state-wide impacts.

Which datasheet should I fill out if my project is a feasibility study, R&D, or a program (marketing, tourism, etc) that will benefit more than just my business?

The industry datasheet.

When should I fill out the industry datasheet?

If your project has benefits that go beyond job creation/retention for your own business and flow on impacts to your supply chain and customers. Fill out the industry datasheet if it benefits the broad industry.

What is the level of detail required for financial attachments to support my application?

About the same level of detail required in the datasheet for your project, but if more details are available, they could make your application stronger.

Are there scope and risk management templates?

The BIRP website has a link to a business case template with sections on scope and risk management

What types of co-contribution are accepted?

Cash or in-kind and these can be for activities already paid, as long as they relate to the project post the impacts of the bushfire season.

How do I prove in-kind co-contributions?

Use the fair market value for a good or service. If this is a space, it has to be calculated as current rental. For purchase of goods, invoices, receipts or evidence of ownership can be used; for labour, timesheets.

What could be considered extenuating circumstances?

Any situation that caused financial hardship to the organisation as a direct result of bushfire impacts, where the capacity to pay is constrained and the business would cease to exist.

Are development approvals a requirement?

No, however assessors will take into account if these are in place or if they are likely to be in place. It is important to at least consider and start necessary contacts to see what is required.

If successful, what kind of reports do I need to provide?

Successful applicants will enter into a Funding Deed with periodic information that will need to be provided for acquittals and show the project’s alignment with the application and the program’s objective. Grants will be paid via milestone payments set out in the funding deed and timing and requirements will vary depending on the scope and timelines of the project. Examples of measures to be included in the report are completion of project activities and number of full-time equivalent employees created or retained as a result of the project. There will also be a program evaluation and how your project meets its own objectives and the overall program’s objectives.

How to estimate jobs in the datasheets?

The datasheet is set up as full-time, part-time or casual jobs. For a seasonal worker, enter this as a casual job; otherwise a seasonal or casual job can be entered as its full-time equivalent. E.g. if you are employing 20 people for ¼ of year, 4 of these jobs equals to 1 full time job, so 5 full-time equivalents.

You can also put some narrative and information on how that matches to your particular project and the datasheet conversions into full time.

Can I start works before successful projects are announced?

Projects are ineligible if the projects that would proceed and be delivered on the same timeline without government financial assistance. You can start project components that would form part of your co-contribution to the program. Any works commenced will be at your own risk as your project may not be successful in receiving the BIRP funding.

Are letters of support required?

No however they are encouraged, it’s another form of evidence, particularly when approvals are required, it helps strengthen the case.

My project has multiple partners, do we just need details of the lead applicant?

In this case, use the industry datasheet, so it captures the entire project, not just your business. The business datasheet is for when there’s only one business involved. You may also provide P&L for all entities if they are all integral/critical for the application.

When do projects need to finish?

Projects need to start within one year of when the successful projects are announced and ideally be completed within 3 years.

Are upgrades eligible?

Yes, Stream 2 is not only looking at resolving bushfire impacts immediately but also looking into the future. Upgrades are eligible.

What should I do if I am unclear on my project’s strategic alignment?

If you are unclear, ask your local Business Development Manager for assistance.

Can I use other grants as co-contribution?

As this is a NSW government fund, you cannot use other state government funding as co-contribution. However, it may be possible, depending on their rules, to use federal government funding - make sure you meet the requirements of federal government by reading their guidelines.

When will successful projects be announced?

Projects are expected to be announced early October 2020.

I have a large application that identifies multiple sources of government funding which are not confirmed. Should I submit for the whole application or only the stage for which I am seeking a NSW Government contribution?

While you can provide information on the entire project in your documents, only the scope of the project component seeking a NSW Government contribution and related outcomes should be included in the application and data sheets where external funding is not confirmed. This project component needs to be deliverable regardless of the outcome of other applications. It should also clearly demonstrate what benefits are realisable should this be the only project component that ultimately proceeds.

Section B of the data sheet does not contain enough space for me to detail all capital expenditure cost items in my proposal. What approach should I take to outline these costs?

Where you have more cost items than can be listed in the data sheet, please list large items first and aggregate items where possible into rows B1 to B10. Any remaining items should be lumped into row B11 which is the balance of capital expenditure cost items. A more detailed costing of your project may also be attached separately to your application and will be considered.

Can I seek part funding for a multi-stage project where the funding for subsequent stages may not yet be confirmed at the time of application?

For instance, as part of a proposal that will also seek funding from the recently announced Australian Government $40 million Forestry Recovery Development Fund.

Yes, you may seek funding under the NSW Bushfire Industry Recovery Package. However, the stage applied for under the Bushfire Industry Recovery Package must be clearly separable from the broader proposal and meet all eligibility requirements of the fund. In addition to outlining the benefits in delivering the current stage, any additional benefits from full project completion should also be documented, including the timeline of realisation. This can be included in the Business Case.

We note funding under the Australian Government Forestry Recovery Development Fund will be assessed under a separate application process. You will need to check the eligibility criteria of the Forestry Recovery Development Fund, once available, to ensure a project meets the requirements to apply for funding under that program.

My application is part of a larger project seeking funding from another Government program or source. If successful under this package, can I commence works prior to funding being announced/confirmed for subsequent stages of my project?

You will need to confirm your eligibility under the guidelines of the other programs you are applying to. If the applications are for discrete stages of a larger project, then you can commence work if awarded NSW funding.

If successful, can I use some or all the funding awarded under the Bushfire Industry Recovery package as co-contribution towards a larger proposal under the recently announced Australian Government $40 million Forestry Recovery Development Fund?

No. Under the Australian Government’s $40 million Forestry Recovery Development Fund grants must be matched by a co-contribution from the applicant equal to the grant being applied for. Funding from other government programs, including NSW Government funding can be part of a larger project, but not included as part of an applicant’s co-contribution for a project submitted to the Commonwealth as part of the Forestry Recovery Development Fund program. Applicants should also check the different eligibility requirements of the Forestry Recovery Development Fund which offers grants of between $1 million and $5 million and requires projects to be completed by 30 June 2023. Further information about the Fund will be available on the Australian Government’s website soon.

My application is for a project that is part of a larger program of works that identifies funding from another NSW or Australian Government source, so will details of my application be provided to other relevant Government agencies for their review?

Yes, page six of the Bushfire Industry Recovery Package (Sector Development Grants) Program Guidelines outlines that all projects may be referred to other funding programs in the NSW or Commonwealth for consideration. When providing information to other Government agencies, the confidentiality of all applications materials will be maintained.

Top of page