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Urban Rivers and Catchments Program 2023

Urban Rivers and Catchments Program 2023

  • Applications are open until: 13 February 2024
  • Grant: The program will financially support small to medium projects with a funding range of $150,000 to $2 million. Additionally, it will allocate grants from $2 million to $10 million for large-scale projects, aiming to conserve native and threatened species while enhancing the ecological health of urban waterways.

The Urban Rivers and Catchments Program aims to restore the health of urban, outer urban/peri-urban, and regional centre waterways, benefiting native flora, fauna, and local communities. Aligned with the government's Nature Positive agenda, this program will help ensure that Australia meets international obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity and other relevant environmental treaties.

Key Requirements

The program’s objective is to improve the ecological health of waterways in urban, outer urban/peri-urban, and regional centres.

The anticipated outcomes of the program include:

  • restoration and/or enhancement of riparian areas, stream banks, or aquatic habitats, with a focus on benefiting native species, including those classified as threatened or areas of aquatic significance
  • enhancement of water quality, landscape water retention, and waterway connectivity, with the aim of benefiting native aquatic species, including threatened aquatic species, or areas of aquatic significance
  • improvement of urban green and blue spaces, encompassing enhanced community access to nature, improved water quality for public health benefits, and increased shading to mitigate urban heat-related impacts attributable to climate change. 

This program provides financial support for projects through two distinct funding streams:

Stream 1: Small to Medium-Specific

Grants ranging from $150,000 to $2 million cater to projects across one or more defined sites. This stream primarily targets small to medium-sized community-based initiatives, such as local waterway habitat improvement, habitat connectivity, and water quality enhancement. Successful applicants can receive funding for up to 100% of eligible expenditures.

Stream 2: Large-Specific

Grants ranging from $2 million to $10 million, with a total project value of at least $4 million, focus on large-scale projects. Examples include re-naturalising concrete channels to create living streams and stormwater filtration through artificial wetlands to enhance water quality. Successful applicants under this stream can secure funding for up to 50% of eligible expenditures.

What is eligible for funding?

Ensure the completion of your project by 28 February 2028.

Your eligible project must:

  • be located in Australia
  • aim to address the objectives and outcomes of the grant opportunity program
  • Stream 1 – have eligible expenditure ranging from $150,000 to $2 million
  • Stream 2 – exhibit a minimum of $4 million in eligible expenditure, accompanied by a matching cash contribution
  • focus on enhancing the ecological health of a waterway in an urban, peri-urban/outer urban, or regional centre in Australia
  • fall within the boundary of a Significant Urban Area as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, or extend up to 500 metres immediately adjacent to the boundary
  • reside in a location deemed eligible
  • strive to yield benefits and outcomes for native plants and animals indigenous to the project site. Alternatively, provide benefits and outcomes for an EPBC-listed threatened species, an EPBC-listed Threatened Ecological Community, or contribute to the ecological character of a wetland of international significance, specifically a Ramsar site
  • Stream 1 – allocate a minimum of 75% of the grant funding to eligible on-ground project activities
  • Stream 2 – Allocate a minimum of 85% of the grant funding to eligible on-ground activities.

The intended project site and the corresponding activities are required to take place within an eligible boundary area. Your project may include one or multiple sites.

The criteria for your project site are as follows:

  • fall within the boundary of a Significant Urban Area, as per the definition provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, or extend up to 500 metres immediately adjacent to this boundary
  • be situated within, immediately adjacent to, or associated with a waterway, encompassing estuaries, rivers, creeks, ephemeral waterways, billabongs, wetlands, chains of ponds, or drainage channels.

Significant Urban Areas comprise urban, outer-urban/peri-urban, and regional centres.

For expenditure to be eligible, it must:

  • constitute a direct cost to the project
  • be incurred by you for necessary project audit activities
  • occur between the project start and end date.

This grant funding can be utilised for the following purposes:

  • labour expenditure, on-costs, and administrative overheads
  • purchase of materials and supplies
  • staff training that directly contributes to the achievement of project outcomes
  • purchase, lease, or hire of equipment
  • planning, environmental, and regulatory approval costs
  • contractor costs, including earthmoving and landscaping
  • project or tender planning, design, and feasibility costs
  • domestic travel to and from the location.

What companies are eligible for funding?

To qualify for eligibility, you must meet the following criteria:

  • have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • be located in Australia
  • be a not-for-profit organisation.

In addition, your entity must fall into one of the categories outlined below for both Stream 1 and Stream 2:

  • not-for-profit company incorporated in Australia
  • not-for-profit company limited by guarantee
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth)
  • incorporated trustee representing a trust
  • Regional Delivery Partner organisation, excluding Australian state/territory government agencies, statutory authorities, or Government-owned corporations generating revenue from waterway management levies, such as developer, drainage, stormwater, or waterway levies
  • incorporated association
  • co-operative
  • registered charity or incorporated not-for-profit organisation
  • publicly funded research organisation (PFRO)
  • Australian local government agency or body
  • Australian state/territory government agency, statutory authority, or Government-owned corporation not deriving revenue from waterway management levies, including developer, drainage, stormwater, or waterway levies.

For Stream 2 exclusively, eligibility may also include:

  • Australian state/territory government, including any department
  • Australian state/territory government agency, statutory authority, or Government-owned corporation deriving revenue from waterway management levies, including developer, drainage, stormwater, or waterway levies.

It’s important to note that joint applications are acceptable, provided there is a lead organisation spearheading the project and meeting the eligibility criteria.

Is this grant competitive or entitlement based?

Competitive. Your application will be assessed among other applications by a judging panel.

How can I increase my chances of winning this grant?

By engaging an accredited government grants consultant, such as Avant Group.

Competitive grants often require significant business case development and project analysis to support the application, this may include detailed presentations supporting the project’s merit, projected sales, cost-benefit analysis and more.

As part of your engagement with Avant Group, your account manager will assess the required documents and will provide the following as needed to support your grant submission.

Grant application writeup including a detailed presentation illustrating how the grant funding will contribute to your project, how the funding will contribute to the project’s budget, a project milestone plan, delivery timeline, impact on employment if applicable and a breakdown of the management and leadership team for the project

  • Industry analysis presentation
  • Competitor Analysis Presentation
  • Marketing and Sales Analysis Presentation
  • 3-5 year Cashflow Forecast
  • 3-5 year Balance Sheet Forecast
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis of Grant Funding
  • End-to-end grant application including information collating, analysis and application writing
  • CAPEX (Capital Expenditure) cost-benefit analysis
  • Stakeholder relations and Risk Mitigation Plans
  • Any other relevant forecasting that will support your application

How can I get help with my application? Or know if I’m likely to win funding?

Avant Group offers a no-obligation assessment of your eligibility for funding and will assess your likelihood of a successful grant application.