The last round of NSRF has been announced with a great number of happy beneficiaries of the $126.5 million across 67 infrastructure projects. Funding allocated in NSRF Round 3 though fell short of the $293m allocated under NSRF Round 2 and the $212m under NSRF Round 1. The competition for the funding pool has increased as has the quality of submissions, highlighting the need for a robust, evidence based business case.
In reviewing previous rounds the Commonwealth has acknowledged more attention should be paid to regional Australia and this is reflected in the new ‘Building Better Regions Fund’ (BBRF). This new program supports infrastructure and community initiatives in areas outside of major cities and will assess projects under three categories depending on the size so smaller grant applications will not be competing with larger ones.
Guidelines for the BBRF have not yet been released, however, it is expected:
· The funds will be hotly contested · Project scrutiny will remain high
· Co-investments will be viewed favorably
· A quantitative economic and financial evidence is needed
· Clarity around how the preferred solution best meets the identified need will be critical.
Evidence of support will also be needed from all key stakeholders and partners, noting that drawing together a strong application takes months not weeks.
The importance of telling a good story about the project, providing coherent and accurate documentation together with a strong business case that meets the guideline requirements is not lost on AEC or our clients. At the conclusion of NSRF our clients have succeeded in attracting $65M of the $631.5M or over 10% of the available funding. The quality of projects and submissions to NSRF has continued to increase and under the last funding round AEC authored business cases secured 23% of allocated funding. Over the last 2-3 years AEC have successfully supported the provision of robust well-reasoned business cases delivering over $175 million in funding for our clients.
What these successful clients have in common has been:
· an early commitment to preparation that enabled the development of an application with a focus on the need for the proposal across the whole of their community
· demonstrated support across all key stakeholders
· well-documented design and approvals in place
· part of an agreed long term strategic direction
· a business case that clearly articulates the benefits, costs and financials of the project.
For those interested in the BBRF don’t wait for the guidelines; the time to build your evidence base and business case around your areas of need is now. If you have any questions about how to best present a project for future funding please do not hesitate to contact Mark Piorkowski on 0487 923 235 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can help.