Regional Investment Activation Fund – Frequently Asked Questions
View frequently asked questions regarding the Regional Investment Activation Fund.
Definitions and explanation of terms used
The RIAF program defines catalytic projects as those that are strategically significant and aligned to key NSW Government priorities and strategies, which are necessary to activate priority precincts and/or deliver high-value jobs across key industries in Regional NSW.
An industry driving growth in a regional economy. Typically, key industries can be categorised as engine industries, emerging engine industries, and enabling industries. Further information on examples of key industry types can be found in the relevant Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS) and the 20 Year Economic Vision for Regional NSW.
For the purpose of RIAF, contingency is defined as something that may or may not occur but must be dealt with if it does. They are often known unknowns. A maximum of 25per cent of the project can be included in the budget for contingencies.
High-quality employment and upskilling opportunities refers to the pay and benefits, job design, level of skill or training, and future work prospects that an employee receives.
On the grant amount.
One FTE position is equal to a ‘standard working week’ of 35 hours of someone directly employed by the company. Positions filled through the use of labour hire firms are not included.
Indirect jobs created during the project construction period do not count towards the new FTE positions.
Cost-effectiveness will be measured by the grant contribution request per job created or retained, directly employed with the applicant or joint applicant.
Jobs will only be counted if they are created or retained as a direct result of the project. For similar grant funding programs, the benchmark cap for each FTE job created (one FTE is equal to a ‘standard working week’ of 35 hours) is $20,000.
Positions filled through labour hire firms will not be considered as direct FTE and will not be recognised for the purposes of reporting.
A Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) seeks to determine the value of the contribution of the project to the NSW economy. A CBA includes all costs and benefits, such as benefits to NSW businesses and Government, and benefits to NSW residents and workers.
The Cost Benefit Ratio is calculated by the NSW Government based on information provided by applicants in their application, which is collected on a standard format datasheet. A copy of the datasheet will be provided to applicants.
Applicants should provide information on how projects benefit the NSW economy such as export opportunities, import replacement potential onshoring, or footloose projects, i.e. where projects could otherwise occur interstate or in an overseas location.
The project scope, planning and budget documentation that an applicant provides as part of their detailed application process will guide the use of funding if the project is successful.
The funding deed will outline the purpose, scope and use of the grant funding for the project, based on the information provided during the application process.
Projects located in Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Wollondilly), Newcastle or Wollongong Local Government Areas are not eligible.
Yes, however international businesses will need to have an Australian Business Number, be registered for Goods and Services Tax, have at least A$20 million in public liability insurance and be an eligible entity type to enter into a funding deed, if they are successful.
A business can still apply if it has operated for less than three years however, the applicant will need to provide evidence of financial viability and a justification why three years of financial statements cannot be provided.
Strong experience of key staff involved in the project and evidence of alignment with the overall objective of the program and other criteria will also need to be provided. Applicants may also consider providing other evidence, such as financial statements of principal investors and/or a letter from their external accountant confirming the applicant’s financial viability.
There is a significant risk an application will not be approved if the financial evidence provided to the Department of Regional NSW is not strong.
Yes, a project stage can be eligible for funding providing the project stage is clear in scope and discrete from other stages, the project stage can be delivered by 30 May 2025, the funding requested is no more than half of the cost of the project stage and the applicant has provided evidence of secured funding for remaining stages required to deliver the jobs within two years of signing a funding deed.
In order to meet the competitive neutrality requirement, the development of new regionally significant and/or iconic tourism experiences and visitor attractions are considered eligible if they will create new interstate or international demand in the region (without impacting other NSW tourism businesses).
If a tourism project is not regionally iconic and not sufficiently differentiated from existing similar experiences, it is unlikely to increase the tourism market in the region. This will not meet the objective of the fund.
Applicants are encouraged to consult their relevant Departmental Official before submitting an application - phone 1300 679 673 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The grant does not override normal development and regulatory approval processes. When considering project and job creation milestones in your application, approval timelines must be considered.
Please consult your allocated Business Development Manager who can provide introductions to other government agencies.
No, grants cannot be for equipment that has already been purchased.
No, any costs related to preparing an application are ineligible for funding.
Non-fixed equipment is an eligible cost if part of a larger project providingthe project is anchored to a specific location within regional NSW, and the jobs created will be based in regional NSW. Applicants will also need to demonstrate how the project will continue to be delivered over the long term in regional NSW.
Projects should not have commenced prior to an offer of grant funding being made. The NSW Government is under no obligation to pay any funding unless, and until, the project application is successful and both parties execute an agreed Funding Deed. Further, applicants are required to demonstrate the project would not occur in regional NSW at all or in the same timeframe without government investment.
Speak to a Department of Regional NSW representative if you have concerns about your ability to order equipment and deliver the project within the program timelines.
No, project funding for RIAF is for projects based in regional NSW only.
No, not for direct funding of the same project.
There are other programs available to support businesses to deliver projects already funded by the NSW Government, for example training or regional skills relocation grants. Please talk to your relevant Department of Regional representative about these opportunities.
A project is eligible if the project requires funding from both sources to enable the project to proceed (for example, if both Australian Government assistance and assistance from RIAF is required to realise the total project outcomes). If the project can achieve the same outcomes through assistance already provided, then the project would not be eligible.
Projects must be located in one of the 93 regional NSW Local Government Areas, Lord Howe Island or the Unincorporated Far West. Projects located in Greater Sydney (including the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Wollondilly), Newcastle or Wollongong Local Government Areas are not eligible.
Yes. If your project will be delivered across multiple LGAs, you must include the location details of each site.
Download the full list of regional NSW locations / Local Government Areas (LGAs) below:
The Program Guidelines require a minimum 50 per cent cash co-contribution. Applicants are required to provide supporting evidence for being unable to meet the threshold requirement.
The Program Guidelines require a minimum of a 50 per cent cash co-contribution. In-kind co-contributions will only be considered in extenuating circumstances. Extenuating circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and justification must be provided for consideration.
Examples of what is considered as in-kind co-contribution are: land or equipment ‘gifted’ by an external entity, or purchased by an applicant prior to a letter of offer for RIAF grant funding; services ‘gifted’ by an external entity to an applicant as part of the project delivery; cash already expended on a project prior to a letter of offer for RIAF grant funding.
There is a significant risk an application will not be approved if there is not a minimum 50 per cent cash co-contribution.
Generally, co-contributions should be confirmed. Applicants will be required to provide confirmation of the co-contributions to the project in the application.
The co-contribution can be cash reserves or a bank loan. Applicants will be required to provide evidence that this co-contribution is secured and confirmed (at Detailed Application stage), noting that applicants are expected to have access to their nominated co-contribution available through the delivery of the project.
No. Ongoing staff wages and salaries are not an eligible project cost.
Under Stream 1 - The minimum grant amount per application is $2,000,000. The maximum grant amount per application is $20,000,000 (GST exclusive).
Under Stream 2 - The minimum grant amount per application is $1,000,000. The maximum grant amount per application is $10,000,000 (GST exclusive).
The Regional Investment Activation Fund is a $110 million investment by the NSW Government to activate the economic potential of key industries and locations in alignment with the 20 Year Economic Vision for Regional NSW and other NSW Government strategies and priorities. This funding will be applied across two targeted funding streams.
The application process
Yes. Eligible organisations may submit more than one application, however grant funds are limited and applicants are encouraged to focus on their highest-priority project.
If an organisation has projects that meet the requirements of Stream 1 and Stream 2 then they may submit separate projects under both streams. However, one project will not be able to be submitted under both streams as it will not meet the eligibility criteria of both streams.
Collaboration arrangements including identification of project partners and how resources, technology and/or infrastructure will be shared should be identified in an applicant’s EOI for Stream One.
Formal partnership agreements should be established by the time the funding deed is established.
Budgets should include a contingency in proportion with the risk related to the project. A maximum of 25 per cent of the project cost can be included.
Project budgets should include administration costs relevant to the project. A maximum of 10per cent can be included in the budget for project management and administration costs. Design, including regulatory applications and approvals should be included in the administration costs allocation.
Yes, applicants would need to demonstrate that the proposed project aligns to the key objectives of the fund and Stream 2. Specifically, that the project is contestable, time-sensitive, and strategically significant for a priority industry or location. If the application is successful, a lead applicant will need to be nominated and enter into the funding deed, and be ultimately responsible for delivering the project.
Yes, a key assessment criteria for the fund is the degree by which the project creates high-quality employment opportunities specific to pay and benefits, job design, level of skill or training and future work prospects.
Policies and strategies
Projects should align with and support key NSW Government policies, priorities, strategies. These Strategies set out a clear pathway for regional NSW to continue growing while supporting people’s decision to live, work and invest in regional areas.
To identify how your project aligns with these policies or strategies, information can be found here:
- 20-Year Economic Vision for Regional NSW
- 2040 Economic Blueprint
- Relevant Regional Economic Development Strategy (REDS)
- NSW 2040 Economic Blueprint
- NSW Trade Statement
- Going Global
- Turning Ideas into Jobs
- Net Zero Plan Stage 1: 2020-2030
- NSW Industry Development Framework
- NSW Government Defence and Industry Strategy
- Critical Minerals and High-Tech Metals Strategy
- NSW Visitor Economy Strategy
- NSW Hydrogen Strategy
- NSW Advanced Manufacturing Industry Development Strategy
- DRNSW Aboriginal Outcomes Strategy 2022-2025
- NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041
- NSW State Government Aboriginal Procurement Policy