Showground stimulus funding program

As part of the NSW Government’s $2.3 billion Health and Economic Stimulus Package (COVID Stimulus), $35.77 million over two years has been allocated to fund maintenance and improvement works at showgrounds around the state.

Funding will be allocated in two phases with showground managers invited by their respective local members to submit funding proposals for consideration. Phase 1 (financial year 2019–20) proposals will be prioritised to expedite delivery of economic stimulus to local economies, while delivering showground maintenance and improvement outcomes.

All unsuccessful proposals for Phase 1 will be automatically included for assessment as part of Phase 2 (financial year 2020–21).

Objectives

The objectives of the Showgrounds Stimulus Funding Program are to:

  • protect public health and safety and enhance community use and experience of showgrounds
  • maximise opportunities for economic growth relating to showgrounds
  • provide facilities that support a range showground uses
  • promote the sustainability of showgrounds across NSW
  • stimulate economic growth over short-term timeframes in local economies impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding criteria and assessment

The department will assess proposals through a robust and impartial two-stage panel assessment against the criteria defined below.

A proposal must meet the eligibility criteria to be considered for funding.

The department will score eligible proposals against the assessable criteria to give a total assessment score that will inform the priority of the funding recommendation for the proposal.

Eligibility criteria

The proposal must:

  1. be made by a showground manager
  2. involve works that will be undertaken on a showground site
  3. be for works that will maintain, improve or develop assets for use of the site for showground or ancillary purposes
  4. involve works that have not already been funded by the showground manager or any external grants program
  5. if applicable, be consistent with any approved works to be undertaken on the showground under the Crown Lands Regional Showground Revitalisation Program
  6. have all necessary planning and/or approvals for the proposed works, or have the ability to obtain these in a timely manner—in other words, you do not need to prepare new detailed studies or obtain planning development consents to progress the project[1].

Assessable criteria

Proposals will be assessed based on the level to which they meet one or more of the following criteria.

The proposal:

  1. and associated outcomes can be delivered by the showground manager
  2. is supported by commensurate details of costings including quotes, work-breakdown structure elements and building estimations
  3. works can commence in financial year 2019–20 or early FY2020–21[2]
  4. will improve safety and/or enhance community use and experience of showground assets
  5. will, to the greatest extent possible, engage local trades and suppliers
  6. will support business opportunities and promote greater financial sustainability for community facilities on the showground.

Scores for each assessable criterion are weighted to ensure that overall assessment scores reflect the ability of the proponent to successfully deliver the proposal while advancing the objectives of the stimulus funding.

A breakdown of weighting against each objective ‘category’ is as follows:

  • ability to deliver (criteria 1 and 2)—36%
  • expedited local economic stimulation (criteria 3 and 5)—36%[3]
  • improved safety, community use and experience of showgrounds, and showground financial sustainability and business opportunity promotion (criteria 4 and 6)—28%

Approval

A segregated and transparent process is in place for approval of funding recommendations made by the assessing panels against the assessable criteria and objectives of the program.

Execution and monitoring

Funding execution will be in the form of a standard departmental funding deed template in line with the approved funding allocation recommendations.

The standard departmental grants funding deed provides for delivery and aquittal of works within 12 months of funding disbursement. Phase 1 proposals are to be commenced and largely completed by 30 June 2020. Final project reports mandated by the funding deed must be furnished to the department outlining the completed activities, along with the outcomes and benefits achieved through the delivery of the funded proposal.

Successful proponents must provide quarterly project progression reports to the department outlining the status of the project works until the funded proposal is completed and a final project report submitted.

You can find more information on standard departmental funding deeds by contacting the Showgrounds Stimulus Funding Project Team.

Acquittal

Once the department has received and considered a final project report from a funding recipient, it will issue an acquittal certificate affirming that the funding has been appropriately used in line with the funding deed.

Any unspent grant funds must be returned to the department. Unspent grant funding for Phase 1 proposals will be remitted to the stimulus fund’s budget for 2020–21 for application against other unfunded proposals.

Next steps

Following receipt and assessment of showgrounds funding proposals, the project team will contact successful applicants to finalise and execute funding deeds.

We anticipate that funds will be disbursed to successful Phase 1 proposal applicants by early June 2020, while funds for successful Phase 2 proposals will be disbursed by early August 2020.

Phase 1 Funding Announcement

Successful proposals for the Phase 1 funding round have been announced by Minister Stokes and Minister Pavey.  View the full list of the Phase 1 successful applications.

Any unsuccessful project will be considered against Phase 2 funding available. Showground managers are able to furnish additional information in support of unsuccessful Phase 1 proposals, or additional Phase 2 proposals until 12 June 2020.

All Showgrounds whose proposals were deemed to be ineligible, such as those made by a third party showground user instead of the showground manager (i.e. the land owner, non-Council Crown land manager or Council Crown land manager), will be contacted directly by the department to discuss their proposal to progress it being amended and re-lodged for Phase 2, if possible.

Contacts

If you have any questions regarding the Showgrounds Stimulus Funding Program or require assistance in preparing a proposal application, contact the Showgrounds Stimulus Funding Project Team within the Crown Lands branch of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment by email at built.assets@crownland.nsw.gov.au or call 1300 886 235 (option 4).


[1] Phase 1 Proposals are intended to involve ‘shovel-ready’ proposals that can be commenced in the immediate term. Assessment of Phase 2 (FY2020/21) Proposals will afford greater consideration to longer-term delivery timeframes taking into account lead-in times to obtain any necessary approvals and finalise supporting studies.

[2] Phase 2 (FY2020/21) Proposal assessments will afford greater consideration to proposals able to commence later in FY2020/21.

[3] Phase 2 (FY2020/21) Proposal assessments will afford greater consideration to proposals able to commence later in FY2020/21.