Showground stimulus funding program

As part of the NSW Government’s $2.3 billion Health and Economic Stimulus Package (COVID Stimulus), $72.57 million has been allocated across five phases of funding to fund maintenance and improvement works at showgrounds around the state. The Showground Stimulus Funding Program has to date provided funding to 893 showground improvement projects at 189 showgrounds.

Showground managers were asked to submit funding proposals for consideration. All phases of funding for 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years has been allocated.

With many Phase 1A, 1B and 2A projects now complete, Phase 2B and 2C proposals have recently been announced. The proposals range in size and cost, benefiting many communities within the state, delivering economic stimulus, showground maintenance and improvement outcomes.

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 was established for approval of funding recommendations made by the assessing panels against the assessable criteria and objectives of the program.

Execution and monitoring

Funding execution is 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 acquittal of works within 12 months of funding disbursement.. 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 monthly 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 confirm via written communication that the funding has been appropriately used in line with the funding deed.

Any unspent grant funds unable to be redirected to further meritorious projects under the program eligibility criteria and objectives, must be returned to the department. All funding available under the program has been dispersed as of June 2021.

Next steps

All phases of funding under the Showground Stimulus Funding Program for 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years has been allocated. The program is no longer seeking funding proposals. Projects funded under Phase 2B and 2C funding rounds are anticipated to be completed by mid-2022.

Funding Announcements for Phases 1 and 2

Successful proposals for all Phases of funding, including additional funding rounds, have now been announced by Minister Stokes and Minister Pavey. Full lists of successful proposals for each round are available below:

Contacts

If you have any questions regarding the Showgrounds Stimulus Funding Program, 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.