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Regional Jobs & Infrastructure Fund

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The Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund (RJIF) is the Victorian Government’s fund supporting the ongoing development and prosperity of Victoria’s rural and regional areas. 

Current status of program

CLOSED

To register your interest in future rounds or discuss alternative grant opportunities please contact us here.

To date, funding from this program has been awarded to local councils, private sector organisations and educational institutions, among others.

Naturally, jobs and infrastructure are at the heart of this fund. If you wish to receive funding from the RJIF’s fundamental, ongoing grant streams, you should consider how your project will contribute to job creation, job retention, or the development of new or existing infrastructure. You should also consider how your grant project could stimulate activity in your local economy.

The RJIF has multiple grant streams active at any one time. New grant streams may be added and ongoing grant streams will open and close intermittently. 

This page will be updated as new information becomes available when changes to this fund and its grant streams are announced.

What is the Regional Jobs & Infrastructure Fund?

The $156 million Regional Jobs & Infrastructure Fund is administered by Regional Development Victoria (RDV). The fund was established to enrich and support regional Victoria by issuing grants to support job creation, encourage investment, and build and develop infrastructure.

Since 2020, the RJIF has also been used as part of the Victorian Government’s COVID-19 recovery stimuli, with grant streams such as the $10 million Regional Recovery Fund coming available to help regional areas recover and further develop. 

Regional Jobs & Infrastructure Fund Objectives

The Regional Jobs & Infrastructure Fund’s five main strategic objectives are to:

  • drive long-term regional growth through the support of key economic development projects and the delivery of community-led responses to social and economic challenges
  • support regions and industries to recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19), pandemic, economic transition and natural disasters by leveraging opportunities to create jobs of the future and diversify the regional employment base
  • catalyse and increase private sector project investment in regional Victoria and respond to market failures that prevent high quality and transformative economic projects in the regions from reaching the shovel-ready investment stage
  • improve productivity and enhance long-term competitiveness of regional Victoria through innovation and transition to new growth opportunities
  • improve the livability of Victoria’s cities, centres and towns to attract and retain families and young people to live and work.

For the full guidelines and criteria for this fund, refer to the RDV web page linked at the bottom of this page.

Grant programs under the Regional Jobs & Infrastructure Fund

Over the years, the RJIF has included numerous different subprograms designed to meet the needs of Victoria’s rural and regional areas as they shift over time. Former grant streams under this fund include the Bushfire Recovery Timber Storage Grants, the Wine Growth Fund, and the Regional Gas Infrastructure Program. 

Two of the longest-standing grant streams under the RJIF are the Regional Jobs Fund and the Regional Infrastructure Fund. As the names suggest, these grant streams form the bedrock of the fund. 

More recently, the Investment Fast-Track Fund grant was added to provide strategic support for organisations applying for funding under the Regional Jobs & Infrastructure Fund, and accelerate business case development. This fund seeks to fill RDV’s pipeline of eligible grant projects.

Here’s a look at the Regional Jobs Fund, Regional Infrastructure Fund, and Investment Fast-Track Fund in more detail.

Regional Jobs Fund (RJF)

The Regional Jobs Fund (RJF) is one of the fundamental grant streams under the Regional Jobs & Infrastructure Fund. 

The fund seeks to strengthen and support rural centres and regions by providing financial support to organisations that are developing or expanding their operations in regional Victoria.

This is a competitive grant with applications accepted through the 2020–21 and 2021–22 financial years, unless funds are exhausted prior.

The key objectives of the Regional Jobs Fund are to:

  • attract new investment
  • create new jobs
  • retain existing jobs (in some cases)
  • support the improved competitiveness and productivity of businesses

Regional Development Victoria will consider applications for this grant from:

  • private sector businesses
  • business and industry groups including:

    1. chambers of commerce and business associations
    2. industry peak bodies
    3. business and industry clusters and networks.

 

Applications that involve the provision of enabling infrastructure necessary to activate projects delivering investment and jobs may be considered from:

  • utility and services providers
  • water corporations
  • Local Government Authorities
  • incorporated not-for-profit organisations operating businesses.

 

The following types of projects are eligible for funding from the Regional Jobs Fund:

  • investment projects where regional Victoria is in competition with interstate or international locations (i.e. footloose investments)
  • projects attracting footloose capital into new and/or existing facilities
  • investment to develop new facilities, expand existing facilities and repurposed facilities.
  • projects that underpin the sustainability of businesses and the retention of jobs in regional Victoria
  • projects introducing new technologies, plant and equipment and systems to improve productivity, competitiveness and business growth
  • projects enhancing the skills of the workforce to raise productivity
  • the introduction of innovations, technologies, equipment and processes to develop and increase exports
  • projects improving supply chain efficiencies through collaborative projects
  • projects boosting the capacity of new and existing regionally significant employment precincts such as CBDs, health, education, innovation, industrial and special purpose precincts
  • projects that involve utility and service connections and/or upgrades to activate business investment and create jobs (i.e. typically, consideration will be given to projects that require upgrades to electricity supply, gas supply, water supply and wastewater treatment services).
  • projects that focus on water and energy savings that improve the operational sustainability of a business in a regional location such as solar and water recycling projects.

 

The following types of projects and activities are generally not eligible for funding:

  • projects primarily to meet regulatory requirements
  • requests for retrospective funding where projects have been completed or have commenced prior to receiving funding approval
  • ongoing operating costs or salary subsidies
  • purchase of property
  • projects undertaken by the private sector as a result of a Victorian Government contract
  • projects normally funded through commonwealth, state or local government sources
  • projects requiring operational funding from the Victorian Government once completed
  • telecommunication service improvements and access road upgrades will not be considered.

 

Since 2017, 359 applicants have been able to secure project funding from RDV’s Regional Jobs Fund. This also includes projects funded under the following ceased grant streams:

  • Employment Precincts
  • Food Source Victoria
  • Horticulture Innovation Fund
  • Innovation and Productivity
  • Investment Attraction
  • Local Industry Fund for Transition
  • Market Access
  • Regional Skills
  • Wine Growth Fund

 

This diversity of grant streams is reflected in the previously funded projects. Grants have been awarded to support everything from health and community services to food and wine exports, to sustainable Agribusiness strategy, tourism, and more.

Under this fund, 20 scholarships were offered to workers at regional businesses; these scholarships were valued between $1,000–$25,000.

See the table below for more information and a summary of the funding for each of

Victoria’s regional areas.

Note: More than 80% of funding distributed under the RJF is designated CiC (Commercial or Cabinet in Confidence). The figures in the below table are calculated only from funding that is publicly available and is not CiC.

  • Total funded projects: 359
  • Total funding (non-CiC): $9,488,559
  • Largest funding (non-CiC): $1,049,099
    — Australian Federation of Disability Organisations
  • Median funding: $60,000

 

 

Region Total recipients (including CiC funding) Total funding (non-CiC only) Largest funded project (non-CiC only)
Barwon 37 $2,279,899 Australian Federation of Disability Organisations: Improving the accessibility of Greater Geelong and the Bellarine (2018, $1,049,099)
Central Highlands 54 $1,769,730 Hop Temple Pty Ltd: Australian Centre Craft Beer Excellence – Education Project (2019, $380,000)
Gippsland 30 $1,203,810 Federation University Australia – Gippsland: Allied Health Workforce Attraction – Development of Education Programs (2019, $500,000)
Goulburn 38 $545,880 Murray Dairy Limited: GMID Rural Skills Connect (2019, $316,750)
Great South Coast 18 $1,190,292 Warrnambool Council: South West Victorian Livestock Exchange (SWVLX) Dirt Pen Roofing (2020, $429,851)
Greater Melbourne 32 $319,000 Victorian Farmers’ Markets Association: Growing regional economies through accredited farmers markets (2018, $150,000)
Loddon Campaspe 45 $400,000 Bendigo Council: Regular Passenger Transport (RPT) (2018, $400,000)
Mallee 22 $924,894 Grape Co Australia Pty Ltd: Table Grape Punnet Packing Equipment (2019, $400,000)
Ovens Murray 66 $755,054 Hop Products Australia: Buffalo River Expansion (2020, $250,000)
Statewide 4 $100,000 Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations Ltd: Traditional Owner Native Food and Botanicals Strategy Development (2018, $100,000)
Wimmera Southern Mallee 10 N/A N/A
Others (not specified) 3 N/A N/A

Register your interest here with GrantHelper.

Regional Infrastructure Fund (RIF)

Along with the Regional Jobs Fund, The Regional Infrastructure Fund (RIF) is the other fundamental grant stream in the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund. Grants are available for infrastructure projects with potential to stimulate regional Victoria’s economic and community activity. 

The second round of funding (closed 10 August 2021) also sought to support businesses in their recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.

The Regional Infrastructure Fund has three key objectives:

  • create and retain jobs and support regional economies and communities, including transition, diversification and recovery efforts
  • increase economic and social benefits through improved community access and usability of precincts, towns or regions
  • to increase economic and social benefits through investment in strategic and public enabling infrastructure

  • Applicants may seek funding of a minimum $20,000 and up to a maximum of $3 million excluding GST
  • This program is currently closed
  • Register your interest here with GrantHelper

 

For the second round of funding, a co-contribution requirement was also introduced. RDV stipulates that applicants should maximise funding from sources other than the RIF, such as:

  • loans from financial institutions
  • equity from business investors
  • grants from the Commonwealth Government
  • contributions from Local Government Authorities
  • contributions from utility / service providers
  • other funding sources.

 

A range of funding contribution ratios apply, depending on the type and size of applicant. They can be found in the below table.

Applicant type Maximum RDV funding ratio 
Regional City Maximum RDV $2 : $1 other
Large Rural Council Maximum RDV $3 : $1 other
Small Rural Councils, Alpine Resorts, not for profits, and business, industry and community organisations Maximum RDV $4 : $1 other

Applications will be accepted from:

  • Local Government Authorities
  • Alpine Resorts Management Boards
  • Business and industry groups including:

    1. Chambers of commerce and business associations
    2. Industry peak bodies
    3. Business and industry clusters and networks

  • Incorporated not-for-profit organisations, including community groups that are:

    1. Cooperatives or associations
    2. Social enterprise organisations

 

Councils can also sponsor (auspice) projects on behalf of business and industry groups including:

  • chambers of commerce and business associations
  • industry peak bodies
  • business and industry clusters and networks
  • incorporated not-for-profit organisations and community groups that have an Australian Business Number (ABN) or can provide written advice from the Australian Tax Office that no withholding tax is required from the grant payment.

 

The following are not eligible for funding:

  • Individuals
  • Early-stage project planning
  • Retrospective funding
  • Ongoing operating costs or salary subsidies
  • Private sector projects undertaken as a result of a government contract
  • Purchase of land.

 

Infrastructure projects seeking funding will need to demonstrate how they will achieve one or more of the following:

  • improve economic performance and growth (e.g. this may include supporting social procurement outcomes and/or for relevant projects supporting the objectives of the Growing Regional Opportunities for Work initiative)
  • create and capture value by harnessing key regional strengths such as social, environmental or economic assets, capital or specialisations
  • enhance the social and/or economic resilience and competitiveness of the location
  • support economic transition, diversification and recovery
  • align with state and regional priorities (i.e. Regional Partnership priority, or Regional, State or National or Council-endorsed plan or strategy)
  • maximise the value for money to the state including leveraging investment or funding from other sources
  • demonstrate long term feasibility and viability (e.g. via feasibility studies and/or business cases) that will sustain positive impacts.

 

Funding will be provided for infrastructure projects that achieve one or more of the following:

  • improve the economic performance, potential and outcomes of a precinct, town or region
  • improve business, transport, retail, education, social, cultural, industry or community linkages
  • provide multi-purpose infrastructure, suitable and accessible for a wide range of business and community groups such as business hubs, co- working spaces, community, and event and visitor facilities
  • support cultural initiatives of economic significance to the region such as renewal of buildings and sites, arts and cultural centres or resource facilities.

 

Note: evidence should be provided that demonstrates all relevant approvals and permits required to commence the project can be obtained within the proposed delivery time frame.

Since 2017, 84 projects have received funding from the Regional Infrastructure Fund.

Small grants ranging in value from $30,000–$50,000 have been awarded to regional councils for business cases, economic analyses, and concept designs.

Large grants include $5 million to Ballarat Council for the Eureka Stadium project, $4 million to Wodonga Council for the Library and Gallery Redevelopment project, and $3 million to Strathbogie Council for the Nagambie foreshore walk project.

See the table below for more funding information and a summary for each region.

  • Total projects: 84
  • Total funding: $60,825,995
  • Largest funding: $5,000,000 — Ballarat Council
  • Median funding: $500,000

 

 

Region Recipients Total funding Median funding Largest funded project
Barwon 8 $9,090,000 $500,000 Geelong Council: Leopold Community Hub Stage 2 Project (2017, $3,000,000)
Central Highlands 13 $9,710,000 $500,000 Ballarat Council: Eureka Stadium and Sports Infrastructure – Relocation of Ballarat Showgrounds (2018, $5,000,000)
Gippsland 6 $3,797,782 $500,000 Bass Coast Shire Council: Revitalisation of the Cowes Precinct – Delivering on the Phillip Island Vision for the Future (2017, $1,800,000)
Goulburn 7 $7,000,000 $500,000 Strathbogie Council: Nagambie foreshore walk (2021, $3,000,000)
Great South Coast 10 $8,594,378 $450,000 Southern Grampians Council: Hamilton CBD Liveability & Economic Revitalisation Project (2018, $2,702,650)
Loddon Campaspe 7 $2,417,800 $400,000 Macedon Ranges Council: Romsey Ecotherapy Park (2020, $615,000)
Mallee 8 $4,420,000 $475,000 Buloke Council: Charlton Park 2020 Multi-Purpose Facility Development (2017, $1,100,000)
Ovens Murray 13 $11,760,000 $500,000 Wodonga Council: Wodonga Library and Gallery Redevelopment project (2018, $4,000,000)
Wimmera Southern Mallee 12 $4,036,035 $385,518 Multiple projects: $500,000

Register your interest here with GrantHelper.

Investment Fast-Track Fund (IFF)

Previously known as the Accelerating Readiness Fund, the Investment Fast-Track Fund is Regional Development Victoria’s catalyst fund that seeks to fill its pipeline of investment-ready projects under the Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund. 

The IFF provides support for the acceleration and development of business cases and project planning for strategically important projects.

The fund has four key objectives:

  • ensure that high quality prospective projects that will be effective at driving regional recovery and economic diversification, are supported to a position of investment readiness and implementation
  • support acceleration and development of business cases and planning for projects of strategic importance to develop a robust pipeline of investment-ready opportunities over the medium term
  • progress development work on medium-longer term transformational projects that will fundamentally underpin long-term recovery and resilience and
  • support Aboriginal businesses to establish, grow and meet Aboriginal Victorians’ needs, priorities, and aspirations.

Opened on 27 May 2021, the $10 million fund will provide RDV $4 : $1 Other contributions up to a maximum of $500,000.

Applications that have a high level of co-contribution will be considered favourably. Funded activities must be completed by 30 June 2022.

The IFF has a focus on accelerating regional Victoria’s economic recovery and diversification.

There is a three-step process for organisations wishing to apply: first, applicants need to contact their local RDV office who will supply an Expression of Interest (EOI) form if the project is well aligned to the program. Once the completed EOI is submitted, and if the EOI is supported, applicants are then issued with a full application form.

Applications will be considered for activities from the following (Individuals are not eligible to apply under this program):

  • Local Government Authorities
  • Alpine Resorts Management Boards
  • Private sector businesses, including Aboriginal organisations and small businesses
  • Business and industry groups including:

    1. Chambers of commerce and business associations
    2. Industry peak bodies
    3. Business and industry clusters and networks

  • Incorporated not-for-profit organisations, including community groups that are a:

    1. Cooperatives or associations
    2. Social enterprise organisations

  • Utility and services providers
  • Water corporations
  • TAFE institutions and universities
  • Public/private partnerships, through an incorporated entity
  • Not-for-profit organisations operating businesses, including community groups that are an incorporated body, cooperative, association or social enterprise
  • Other organisations agreed by Regional Development Victoria.

 

Councils can also sponsor (auspice) activities on behalf of the business and industry groups, and incorporated not-for-profit organisations including:

  • Chambers of commerce and business associations
  • Industry peak bodies
  • Business and industry clusters and networks

    1. Cooperatives or associations
    2. Social enterprise organisations

 

To be eligible, the organisation must also be an incorporated legal entity, with the exception of small businesses which may only require an Australian Business Number (ABN).

Not-for-profit organisations and community groups that have an Australian Business Number (ABN) or can provide written advice from the Australian Tax Office that no withholding tax is required from the grant payment.

Note: eligible Traditional Owner/Custodians groups and Aboriginal businesses are encouraged to apply.

The following activities are eligible for funding:

  • statutory and environmental planning processes and approvals
  • business cases, which must include a project plan, a mobilisation plan or implementation plan as relevant
  • feasibility studies or master plans to investigate the technical and/or economic viability of a project, with the ability to progress to a business case within a 6-month period
  • (Note: these projects can be staged, for example feasibility studies that achieve their desired threshold to proceed can move directly into a business case)
  • economic development and industry investment strategies that will support longer term regional development and investment opportunities
  • structural cultural assessments
  • heritage assessments
  • geotechnical investigations
  • design activities, at a minimum delivering to schematic/pre-construction level and
  • early works packages to help de-risk a project (e.g. service relocations) adjustment strategies for regionally significant industry sectors.

 

The following activities are not eligible for funding:

  • infrastructure and/or commercial projects that are better suited to other streams of RJIF (Regional Infrastructure Fund, Regional Jobs Fund)
  • requests for retrospective funding, where projects have been completed or have started prior to receiving funding approval
  • ongoing operating costs or salary subsidies
  • private sector projects undertaken as a result of a government contract
  • projects where funding is normally provided by other state, Commonwealth or local government sources
  • projects requiring ongoing funding from the Victorian Government when completed
  • activities that are considered Local Government Authority core business
  • projects that are only purchasing plant and equipment and
  • purchase of land.

Register your interest here with GrantHelper.

Learn more about the Regional Jobs & Infrastructure grants

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