Infrastructure Betterment Fund frequently asked questions

Read the frequently asked questions about the Infrastructure Betterment Fund

What does ‘betterment’ mean?

Betterment is repairing or building-back an asset that can better withstand future natural disasters while delivering benefits associated with improved resilience and generating productivity, economic and social outcomes.

Betterment is made up of the following core values:

  • Resilience – Reduce the risk of impact to an asset over its lifecycle to better withstand natural disasters. Improve the ability to respond, recover and adapt after asset disruption.
  • Productivity – Maintain or improve the level of service and sustainable function that an asset provides.
  • Economic – Achieve benefits across the lifecycle that will determine value proposition and return on investment.
  • Social – Maintain or improve a community’s ability to function during and after asset disruption.
What is the Regional Road and Transport Recovery Package (RRTRP) and how does it relate to the Infrastructure Betterment Fund?

The $312.5 million RRTRP is administered by Transport for NSW (TfNSW) and will provide funding to reinforce and upgrade the State and Local Government road network in northern NSW. This is to meet continuing impacts of natural disasters by planning, developing and delivering priority transport infrastructure resiliency works on Eligible Infrastructure Directly Damaged by February and March 2022 Severe Weather and Flooding (AGRN 1012).

Both the Department and TfNSW are working together to streamline the application assessment processes for eligible applicants across both programs to maximise convenience for applicants.

Assessment of projects will be undertaken progressively and collaboratively across the Department and TfNSW.

Does the IBF cover the rebuild or restoration of damaged infrastructure?

No - the IBF only funds the betterment component of a project. The rebuild or restoration must be funded by Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), insurance or self-funded by the applicant.

If we claimed costs through insurance, but not all of the cost has been covered by insurance, can we apply for the IBF to cover the difference?

Applicants can source rebuild and restoration costs through insurance. This generally only covers like-for-like rebuild or restoration costs. The IBF will only provide funding for the betterment component that is additional to the rebuild or restoration works.

In terms of eligibility, AGRN 1012 is listed as 'NSW Severe Weather and Flooding 22 February 2022 onwards', does this mean the IBF covers infrastructure damaged under the current flooding?

Disaster Declarations are issued by the NSW Government and incorporate an Australian Government reference number (AGRN). This is the list of eligible LGAs categorised by their AGRN number and disaster types.

The word 'onwards' is used in the description of the event and does not necessarily extend to subsequent disasters which have different AGRN numbers. To be eligible for the IBF, your asset must have been Directly Damaged by AGRN 871, 954, 960 or 1012 as listed on the natural disaster declaration webpage.

Current flooding events have different AGRN numbers which are not currently eligible under the IBF.

Are applications seeking funding for betterment work already completed eligible?

Yes - IBF may consider retrospective funding requests if they do not involve the destruction or damage of what has already been reconstructed. These requests will be considered under exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the Assessment Panel.

Example: An applicant has repaired and restored a road back to its original condition, however damage or inundation is likely in subsequent flooding events. In this case the applicant may apply for betterment funding for additional drainage works or culverts to ensure the asset is more resilient. The betterment activity must not compromise the completed rebuild and restoration works. 

Prior to applying for retrospective funding, it is recommended that applicants contact the department by email.

Are the 26 Local Councils that are eligible for the Regional Roads and Transport Recovery Package (RRTRP) still eligible to apply for the IBF for projects that are not eligible under the RRTRP?

Yes – the 26 LGAs that are eligible for RRTRP will be assessed under RRTRP for transport related assets only. Other IBF Eligible Infrastructure types will be assessed under the IBF.

The application form requests applicants to nominate what betterment fund they are applying for – RRTRP or IBF. 
Eligible applications will be assessed under either the IBF or RRTRP – not both.

Can the application closing date be extended for LGAs affected by the October 2022 floods?

All IBF applications must be submitted by 2pm 15 December 2022 (AEDT). 
Applicants who are impacted by current flood events should contact the department to discuss support options and consideration of extenuating circumstances prior.

Who has funded the IBF?

In 2022, the NSW and Australian Governments announced a jointly funded $512.5 million investment into two complementary betterment programs.

The investment includes a $200 million Infrastructure Betterment Fund, administered by the Department of Regional NSW, and a $312.5 million Regional Roads and Transport Recovery Package, administered by Transport for New South Wales.

The Regional Roads and Transport Recovery Package closes on 01 December 2022, but IBF closes 15 December 2022. Are eligible RRTRP applicants allowed to lodge an application by 15 December 2022 for the IBF?

All applications for RRTRP must be submitted by 01 December 2022. All applications for IBF must be submitted by 2pm 15 December 2022 (AEDT).

Applicants who are eligible for the RRTRP or IBF will need to identify in the application form which program they are applying for and adhere to the relevant closing date.

Eligible applications will be assessed under either the IBF or RRTRP – not both.

Will it be necessary to provide pre-disaster condition evidence if the damaged asset is to be completely relocated from the hazard area?

Yes – all IBF applications will need to provide evidence of the condition of the asset pre-disaster and post-disaster. The application form sets out the types of evidence that is required. 

Are community halls and museums classed as an Essential Public Asset and eligible for the IBF?

No - community halls and museums are categorised as community infrastructure and therefore not eligible for the IBF.

Are riverbank retaining walls/revetment works eligible for the IBF?

Riverbank restoration is not eligible for the IBF. However, riverbank retaining walls/revetment works may be eligible for the IBF if the applicant can demonstrate the works are resilience improvement or betterment to Eligible Infrastructure.

Can you lodge the same project in both betterment funds?

No - Eligible applications will be assessed under either the IBF or RRTRP – not both.

The application forms for both programs are identical, and request applicants to nominate the betterment fund they are applying for – either RRTRP or IBF.

Do Department of Education assets fall under the betterment fund?

Yes - school and education assets are categorised as Other Public Infrastructure assets. Please review Appendix B of the IBF Guidelines for a full definition of this asset type. 

Are pedestrian boardwalks considered an eligible tourism asset?

The IBF defines Tourism assets as - an asset that is an integral part of State and regional tourism. This includes signage, information assets, attractions, walking tracks and so forth.

The IBF Assessment Panel will determine if a particular pedestrian boardwalk meets this definition of eligible Tourism assets.

Can more than one asset be included in a single application form?

You can submit a group of ‘like assets’ on a single application form if the asset type, asset subcategory and betterment activity are the same. For instance, two roads in different locations with the same betterment activity can be grouped in a single application form but not a road and a bridge as they are different asset subcategories.

If you submit a group of assets that are the same asset type, asset subcategory and betterment activity in a single application form, will each asset be individually assessed?

Grouping 'like assets' does not guarantee funding for all assets applied for. The Assessment Panel will assess each asset individually.

What if you have multiple similar projects, but with a potential total value > $10m? Can this still be one application?

No - the maximum grant amount for one application is $10 million. If you have multiple similar projects that exceed $10 million, you can submit one application per project. There is no limit on the number of assets or applications that can be nominated within an eligible Local Government Area.

You will be asked in the application form to identify the priority order of your projects if you are submitting multiple applications under the IBF. The Assessment Panel will assess each application individually.

The location of my asset is not in an eligible LGA in the IBF Guidelines – can I still apply?

IBF Eligible Infrastructure must be located in one of the LGAs listed under the IBF Eligible Disaster Declaration Events, which are as follows:

  • AGRN 1012 – February and March 2022 Severe Weather and Flooding 
  • AGRN 960 – NSW Storms and Floods from 10 March 2021 onwards
  • AGRN 954 – Northern NSW Storms and Floods from 19 February 2021 onwards 
  • AGRN 871 – NSW Bushfires from 31 August 2019 onwards.

Please refer to Appendix A in the IBF Guidelines for a full list of eligible LGAs by AGRN.

Disaster Declarations are issued by the NSW Government and incorporate an Australian Government reference number (AGRN). This is the list of eligible LGAs categorised by their AGRN number and disaster types.

Are joint applications accepted where the lead applicant meets the eligibility criteria?

The IBF does not accept joint applications. All applications must be applied for by a single eligible applicant, noting the funding deed will be established between DRNSW and the eligible entity. 

Are non-fixed projects eligible?

The IBF supports the betterment of Directly Damaged Eligible Infrastructure – as set out in Appendix B of the IBF Guidelines. 

IBF will only fund non-fixed equipment if it is a small component of a larger fixed project where no more than 30% of the overall project expenses are non-fixed.

Can incorporated companies or associations apply for the IBF? 

No - incorporated companies or associations are not eligible to apply for the IBF.

The following NSW entities are considered eligible applicants:

  • NSW local government councils.
  • County councils that are not for the primary purpose of weed control.
  • Section 355 committees of council are eligible to apply for funding, but the council will be required to execute the funding deed should the project be successful.
  • Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs).
  • A department or other agency of NSW Government.

Please refer to page 12 and 14 of the IBF Guidelines for full details on eligible and ineligible IBF applicant types.  

What if my LGA is eligible for the IBF but the asset was damaged by an AGRN not listed in the IBF Guidelines?

The IBF provides funding to Eligible Infrastructure that were Directly Damaged as a direct result of the 2019/20 NSW bushfires (AGRN 871), the February and March 2021 flooding events (AGRN 954 and AGRN 960) and February and March 2022 NSW Severe Weather and Flooding (AGRN 1012) events.

Even if an LGA is eligible, if the asset was not Directly Damaged by AGRN 871, 954, 960 or 1012, the project will not be eligible for IBF.

Please refer to Appendix B in the IBF Guidelines for the full definition of Direct Damage/Directly Damaged.

What if we are not an IBF eligible LGA and the asset was damaged by AGRN 1034 (or any other AGRN not listed in the IBF Guidelines)?

If the location of your asset is not in one of the LGAs listed under any of these Eligible Disaster Declaration Events, you are not eligible for IBF.

Please refer Appendix A of the IBF Guidelines for a full list of eligible LGAs by AGRN.

Is the betterment of effluent treatment ponds eligible for IBF?

Yes – An effluent treatment pond is an eligible asset and categorised as a Water and Sewerage asset.

Are Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations eligible?

No - Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations are not eligible to apply for the IBF.

What resources and support are available to help me with my application?

DRNSW is offering free support to eligible NSW local councils, LALCs, section 355 committees of councils and county councils. This includes direct applicant support: 

  • Economic assessment - via email and phone for the economic benefits aspect of the application form.
  • Project scope and deliverability – via email and phone for engineering, betterment and/or pre or post disaster evidence aspects of the application form. Face-to-face support with applicants is also possible in some circumstances. 

If you require assistance or advice with your application, please contact or 1300 679 673 for a referral to the appropriate team. 

When will applicants know if their application has been successful?
  • Rolling application checkpoint and assessment of applications: November 2022 - April 2023.
  • Rolling approval and announcement of successful projects: from January 2023.
When do works need to have been commenced and completed?
  • Funding Deeds executed and works commenced from early 2023.
  • Projects completed and funding expended on 31st May 2025.
Can I request an extension to apply for the Infrastructure Betterment Fund?

The closing date for applications for the Infrastructure Betterment Fund is 15 December, 2022 at 2:00pm.

The IBF guidelines state that late applications may be accepted at the sole discretion of the Department under extenuating circumstances. 

The following is required from applicants seeking a late application prior to the IBF closing date: 

  • Evidence of the extenuating circumstance(s) that the extension request is based on.
  • A proposed date to submit the application or the part of the application that will be late. 
Will the relocation of eligible infrastructure be considered under IBF?

IBF funding is available for resilience improvements (referred to as betterment activities) which are additional to repair and reconstruction works.

The guidelines provide a project example as “relocation of a critical or high dependency asset beyond natural disaster high risk areas”. This is an example only and applicants are expected to propose the betterment activity relevant to their project. 

Each application must contain eligible project costs and satisfy the Assessment Criteria for the fund: Strategic, Resilience, Viability and Economic. 

Applicants are encouraged to outline in their application why relocation is preferred over other betterment options at the current location. 

The IBF Economic Assessment Help Sheet available on the website provides detail about ‘without betterment’ (like-for-like in the current location) and ‘with betterment’ (relocation to a new site).

Why were AGRN 871, 954, 960 and 1012 selected to be eligible for IBF?

The IBF comprises of funding allocated for the 2019-20 NSW bushfires (AGRN 871) for betterment, and from part of the $790 million storm and floods recovery package for communities impacted by the February and March 2021 flood events (AGRN 954, 960).

The disaster declarations are issued by the NSW Government and incorporate an Australian Government reference (AGRN).

Approval for any changes to the scope of the IBF must be sought from the Prime Minister, via the NSW Premier. 

The Severe Weather and Floods event (AGRN 1012) was approved in time for inclusion in the program, prior to launch.

Are leased assets eligible for IBF?

No, leased assets are not eligible for funding under the Infrastructure Betterment Fund. 

Are waste facilities eligible?

Waste facilities are eligible.

When completing your application use the subcategory – Other Public Infrastructure asset, then select ‘other’ and provide a description of the betterment activity.

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