The $175 million Growing Regional Economies Fund is part of the NSW Government’s $3.3 billion Regional Growth Fund and is designed to deliver economic growth and productivity across regional NSW.
The Growing Regional Economies Fund will support projects that have a strong alignment with the Regional Economic Development Strategies (REDS) and increase infrastructure investment and economic activity within regional NSW’s Functional Economic Regions (FERs). It will facilitate the delivery of the NSW Government’s 20-year Economic Vision for Regional NSWby co-funding transformational projects that enable economic growth and prosperity in regional communities.
The Growing Regional Economies Fund builds on the success of the NSW Government’s Growing Local Economies (GLE) fund, under Restart NSW, which provided more than $463 million towards 66 projects.
The Growing Regional Economies Fund also provides an opportunity for projects supported through the NSW Government’s Business Case and Strategy Development Fund to seek further funding towards the realisation of infrastructure projects.
- Status: Open
- Grant amount: From $2,000,000 to $30,000,000
- Application opened: 8 February 2023
- Application closes: 23 May 2023, 5:00 pm
The Growing Regional Economies Fund aims to accelerate economic development and prosperity in regional NSW, increase the appeal of investing in regional NSW, support investment in major transformational projects that increase employment opportunities in regional areas and ensure that regional communities have the infrastructure and services required for sustainable growth.
The Fund also has a focus on enabling infrastructure that will support investment in regional housing projects to meet demand generated by growth in employment and economic activity.
This program is administered by Department of Regional NSW.
Who can apply
Eligible applicants are:
- local councils
- Lord Howe Island Board (in its capacity as a service provider for an eligible location not covered by a local government entity)
- RDA Far West (in its capacity as a service provider for an eligible location not covered by a local government entity)
- joint organisations of councils, or regional organisations of councils
- Australian universities
- Local Aboriginal Land Councils.
Applicants must provide evidence that they are an incorporated entity by providing either an Australian Business Number (ABN) or an Australian Company Number (ACN). Eligible organisations that are unincorporated must provide evidence that they are registered with NSW Fair Trading under the Associations Incorporation Act 2009 or another Act.
Projects must be in one or more of the 93 regional Local Government Areas, in the Unincorporated Far West region, or on Lord Howe Island.
Read the list of Eligible Local Government Areas.
- Enabling infrastructure such as roads, bridges and other services to develop housing and investment precincts that can be linked to economic growth and employment
- Education, research and development facilities to drive innovation in engine or emerging industries
- Airport upgrades and expansions
- Enabling infrastructure that will support increased investment and employment opportunities.
What can’t you apply for
Project types and costs that are not eligible for funding include:
- costs that would be considered business-as-usual activities and operations
- projects or activities already funded or expecting to receive NSW Government funding, with the exception of new stages of a previously funded project or activity
- marketing, advertising, or product promotion including signage
- costs associated with recruiting employees, staff development and training
- activities, equipment or supplies that are already being supported through other sources
- financing costs, including interest and debt financing
- costs involved in the purchase or hire of software (including user licenses) and ICT equipment, with the exception of equipment and software specifically related to the project and essential to its success
- costs such as rent and utilities unless specifically related to the project
- insurance costs (applicants must hold and maintain adequate insurance coverage for any liability arising from their participation in funded activities)
- depreciation of plant and equipment beyond the life of the project
- opportunity costs relating to allocating resources to the agreed grant project
- projects that require ongoing grant funding from the NSW or Australian government
- projects that are likely to proceed without any NSW Government financial assistance
- buying or upgrading equipment that is not fixed to a particular site, with the exception of equipment specifically related to the project and essential to its success
- retrospective funding to cover any project component that is already complete before funding is announced.
View the Program Guidelines
For all information about the Growing Regional Economies Fund, including further details about program eligibility and assessment criteria, please see the Program Guidelines (PDF 12.42MB).
Online Information Sessions
The Department of Regional NSW hosted two online information sessions for the Growing Regional Economies Fund (GREF) on Wednesday 15 February and Friday 17 February.
The sessions included an overview of the Program Guidelines (PDF 12.42MB) and participants were able to ask questions about the program and the application process.
Frequently Asked Questions
View Frequently Asked Questions to assist in preparing your application.
What your application needs to include
- Read the program guidelines (PDF 12.42MB)
- Ensure you are an eligible applicant and the project is located in an eligible Local Government Area as listed above
- Ensure the project addresses the eligibility criteria regarding type and costs
- Watch the online information session recording
- You may also view the Frequently Asked Questions
- Prepare your documentation including the resources listed below
- Complete and submit your Expression of Interest application.
- Landowner’s Consent Form (DOCX 66.44KB)
- Sample funding deed (DOCX 272.63KB)
This is a sample funding deed only. The sample funding deed may differ from the project funding deed used for successful applicants. Successful applicants should seek legal advice once they receive the successful project funding deed.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Program Guidelines (PDF 12.42MB)
- Business Case Project Template (DOCX 3.76MB)
- Regional Economic Development Strategies
Start the application
The Growing Regional Economies Fund will be a two-stage application process, consisting of an initial Expression of Interest (EOI), followed by an invitation to provide a Detailed Application for successful applicants.
EOI and Detailed Applications for the Growing Regional Economies Fund must be submitted online via SmartyGrants.
After the application is submitted
- EOI applications close at 5pm (AEDT) 23 May 2023
- Invitations issued: Invitations for detailed applications will commence from July 2023
- Detailed Applications close: 17 October 2023
- Notifications: Successful applicants will be notified confidentially from January 2024 or as soon as possible after a grant is approved.
After the Expression of Interest is submitted
The Department of Regional NSW will coordinate the assessment process.
An Assessment Panel will be convened to consider Expressions of Interest received through Stage 1 of the application process and to determine the projects that will be invited to submit a Detailed Application in Stage 2.
Successful applicants will be notified by email and/or letter and invited to submit a Detailed Application.
Detailed Applications will only be accepted and considered after the Expression of Interest has been assessed and the Department of Regional NSW has directly invited the applicant to progress to Stage 2.
After the Detailed Application is submitted
Following receipt of Detailed Applications, the Department of Regional NSW will arrange for the assessment of projects against the Assessment Criteria.
Successful applicants will be notified by email and/or letter. Applicants will be required to keep the grant confidential for a period if an announcement is likely to be made by the NSW Government.
Support and contact
It is strongly recommended that applicants seek advice from the Department of Regional NSW prior to applying to ensure applications are consistent with the Growing Regional Economies Fund key objectives, are well developed and investment ready.
Contact us via the details below and please state the Local Government Area you are enquiring about.
Phone: 1300 679 673