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Growing Local Economies

Published 17th August, 2017

To develop the enabling infrastructure to grow regional centres. This fund will invest in the crucial projects needed to support job creation and economic growth in regional NSW.

As part of the NSW Government’s $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund, funding will be made available through the Growing Local Economies fund over four years to turbocharge new regional economic opportunities and enliven local economies.

Growing Local Economies is designed to unlock growth in regional NSW by delivering the infrastructure that supports projects of economic significance. This could include road works, natural gas mains and pipelines, water supply, sewerage connections and telecommunications (including data networks). The program is expected to deliver long–term growth benefits.


Applications for Growing Local Economies funding must show how projects will improve economic outcomes for communities. Wherever possible, projects should support local procurement, job creation and skills development.

Growing Local Economies will make funding available for projects in regional NSW outside Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.

Project applications are invited from local government; Aboriginal Land Councils and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups; infrastructure providers, such as telecommunication firms; incorporated associations, including business, industry and community organisations; cooperatives; educational institutions and non–government organisations. Partnerships between groups are encouraged.

Purpose of funds

The Growing Local Economies fund is open to projects that:

  • have the capacity to deliver jobs and economic growth
  • help regional communities capitalise on their strengths or broaden and reposition their industry base
  • demonstrate benefits beyond one organisation
  • have a minimum project size of $1 million
  • align with state and regional priorities and achieve Benefit to Cost Ratio greater than 1.0.


Eligible projects will be assessed against four program criteria.

Criteria 1: Strategic assessment

Applicants must demonstrate how a project meets the objectives and eligibility criteria of the program.

Applications for new or improved economic enabling infrastructure will be assessed on the project’s capacity to grow and/or further diversify NSW regional economies and alignment with NSW Government priorities and local economic development strategies and plans.

Criteria 2: Economic assessment

Applicants must demonstrate how projects will deliver jobs and economic growth to the regional economy. They must also submit a detailed application, including a financial business case. Projects will need to achieve a Benefit to Cost Ratio greater than 1.0. The NSW Government will undertake cost benefit analysis of all Growing Local Economies projects.

Criteria 3: Affordability

Applicants must demonstrate that proposed projects are financially viable in the future, taking into account net lifecycle cost impacts and allowing for ongoing operating and maintenance costs.

Project applications must include construction, operating and maintenance costs, noting that regular operating and maintenance costs will not be covered by this fund.

. The construction cost estimates should be supported by estimations or quotes, and include all margins and overheads, project and construction management costs, and an appropriate amount of contingency for the project stage and risks.

Criteria 4: Deliverability

Applicants must demonstrate that they have the capacity and capability to deliver the project through robust strategies for procurement, project management and risk management.

Applicants should provide evidence of support from local stakeholders.

Where relevant, past performance on delivery of other NSW Government funded projects will be considered.

How to apply

Applying for the Growing Local Economies fund is a two-step process.

Applicants are required to contact the Office of Regional Development to check if their proposed project is eligible.

Once the eligibility has been assessed, successful applicants will progress to the next stage, where they will have to submit a business case. The NSW Government can provide guidance on business case development.

Questions about the program can be emailed to [email protected], including queries about eligibility and the application process.

Published 17th August, 2017
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