Community Development Fund

The $22 million Community Development Fund is designed to support the early implementation of the Local Development Strategy (LDS) program.

It aims to maintain the momentum for the economic transition built up through the Local Development Strategy program and continue the development of new industries and opportunities.

Allocation of the $22 million available will be through two funding streams and will be guided by the following principles:

  • each town or community with a Local Development Strategy will receive a dedicated base level of funding for project management support and other activities
  • the remainder of the funds will be allocated to particular innovation opportunities identified in Local Development Strategy business cases
  • funding will be prioritised for the initiation of economic development and diversification projects
  • communities will determine what innovation opportunities should be pursued in their community’s location, taking into account the overall program objectives.

The Community Development Fund is open until 30 June 2026.

Funding streams

The fund is being delivered as a contestable fund, where projects are assessed against merit criteria to identify those projects that can be supported.

The fund will use two funding streams.

Funds are available for project management support and to upskill community members to build business expertise and community capability.

Each town or community is eligible for up to $500,000 to fund:

  • project management support to co-ordinate and oversee the implementation of the Local Development Strategy. The purpose of the project management support is to:
    • co-ordinate the implementation of the innovation opportunities through each Innovation Working Group established through the Local Development Strategy program
    • provide secretariat support to each Innovation Working Group established through the Local Development Strategy program
    • support each Innovation Working Group to undertake the activities required to implement the innovation opportunity
    • convene community meetings
    • lead the development of a communications strategy and communications collateral for the implementation of the innovation opportunities.
    • provide secretarial support to meetings
  • activities to upskill community members to build business expertise and community capability, including:
    • the identification of workforce and business support needs
    • community workforce capability and training
    • grant-writing assistance
    • succession planning and investor/investee advice
    • leadership development
    • business development support.

Funds are available to begin the early implementation of the actions identified in business cases developed through the Local Development Strategy program.

Each town or community may be eligible for up to $2 million in funding to begin the early implementation of actions identified in business cases developed through the Local Development Strategy program for one or more innovation opportunities.

Of the $2 million:

  • $500,000 (excluding GST) is dedicated funding to begin implementing one or more innovation opportunity business cases in each eligible town or community (provided the application meets all the necessary conditions)
  • The remaining $1.5 million (excluding GST) may be available to each town or community to fund actions identified in innovation opportunity business cases through a contestable process.

The spread of grants across the eligible towns and communities will be considered to ensure a fair allocation.

Those applications that best meet the objectives of the program will be recommended for funding until the available $11 million is expended.

Eligible activities

Projects that may be funded through Funding Stream Two are those that:

  • are aligned to the outcomes of the community’s Local Development Strategy
  • are endorsed by the town or community’s community organisation that oversees the implementation of the town’s Local Development Strategy.

The types of activities include:

  • initial funding for economic development or diversification projects identified through the Local Development Strategy program, including:
    • applied research and development
    • project management support
    • feasibility studies / business cases / funding submissions
    • marketing
    • logistics and supply chain development
  • infrastructure improvements identified out of the Local Development Strategy activities, for example:
    • technology, plant and equipment, and communications
    • new or upgraded infrastructure including utility or service connections

Activities that will generally not be funded include:

  • projects primarily to meet regulatory requirements
  • requests for retrospective funding where projects have been completed or have commenced prior to receiving funding approval
  • 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.

Who is eligible?

Funding Stream One

Applications for this stream of funding will be considered from a business, community or industry group including:

  • Local Development Strategy host agency
  • a community organisation that oversees the implementation of the Local Development Strategy
  • local government authority
  • a business and industry cluster or network
  • chamber of commerce or business association.

Applications for activities to upskill community members received from organisations other than the community organisation that oversees the implementation of the Local Development Strategy will need the endorsement of that community organisation.

If the Local Development Strategy host agency or the community organisation that oversees the implementation of the Local Development Strategy does not apply for Stream 1 funding, it is expected that the community organisation will endorse any application for project management support.

Funding Stream Two

Applications for Funding Stream 2 will be considered from:

  • Private sector businesses
  • Business, community and industry groups including:
    • Local Development Strategy host agencies
    • the community organisation that oversees the implementation of the Local Development Strategy
    • local government authorities
    • business and industry clusters and networks
    • chambers of commerce and business associations
    • educational and research organisations
  • 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 that operate as a business.

How to apply

Ensure eligibility

  1. Read the application guidelines carefully to establish the proposed project’s eligibility
  2. Read the grant agreement terms and conditions for the funding offered
  3. Discuss the proposed project with a Victorian Forestry Plan Community Transition Support Officer who can provide advice on the guidelines:
    • Gippsland - Ruth Fitzclarence, Community Transition Support Officer, 0400 776 040
    • Central Highlands - Yoshi De Wilde, Community Transition Support Officer, 0499 830 051
    • North-east Victoria - Jenny Pena, Community Transition Support Officer, 0400 447 342
    • Call 1800 318 182 or email victorianforestryplan@djpr.vic.gov.au

Prepare and submit an application

Potential applicants will be provided a link to submit an application by the Victorian Forestry Plan Community Transition Support Officer.

Applicants will need to demonstrate how the project aligns with the Local Development Strategy outcomes and the eligible project activities.

Applications should clearly and succinctly describe the project by detailing:

  • the key activities to be undertaken
  • project management arrangements
  • resource requirements.

Documentation to support the project should be attached to the application such as:

  • the relevant Local Development Strategy business case
  • a feasibility study
  • a business plan
  • evidence of support of the town or community’s community organisation that oversees the implementation of the town’s Local Development Strategy.

For grants over $50,000, applicants (with the exception of exempt organisations such as Local Government Authorities and universities) will be asked to provide copies of annual reports and audited financial statements (audited profit and loss statements and balance sheets) covering the last three years with their application. This will enable the Department to assess the financial viability of the applicant and their ability to manage and complete the project.

If applicant organisations are unable to provide annual reports and audited financial statements for the last three years, they must discuss other means by which the Department can assess their financial viability and ability to manage and complete the project with a DJPR Community Transition Support Officer before submitting an application.

The Victorian Government’s Fair Jobs Code comes into effect on 1 December 2022.

The Fair Jobs Code allows the Victorian Government to use its purchasing power to promote secure employment and fair labour standards and to ensure compliance with employment, workplace and industrial laws.

Grants of $500,000 and over (excluding GST) may need to comply with the Code – for more information please visit the Buying for Victoria website.

Application guidelines

Frequently asked questions

The Community Development Fund supports the implementation of the innovation opportunities identified through the Local Development Strategy program.

The Local Development Strategy program supports eleven towns or communities that will be significantly impacted by forestry transition to undertake community-led economic diversification planning to support their economies’ transition and create jobs in new, sustainable industries.

The outputs of the Local Development Strategy program include the identification of innovation opportunities and business cases to support their implementation.

The Community Development Fund will support the early implementation of those business cases as well as project management support and actions to upskill community members through two funding streams.

Funding Stream One provides funding for project management support and the upskilling of community members.

Dedicated funding up to $500,000 will support the engagement of project management support and activities to upskill community members to build business expertise and community capability, such as:

  • community workforce training
  • grant-writing assistance
  • succession planning
  • investor/investee advice
  • leadership development
  • business development support.

Funding Stream Two supports the early implementation of the actions identified in business cases developed through the Local Development Strategy program. Each eligible town or community will have access to up to $2 million:

  • $500,000 will be dedicated funding to begin implementing one or more innovation opportunity business cases
  • The remaining $1.5 million may be available to fund actions identified in other innovation opportunity business cases.

The Community Development Fund will be available for the following towns and communities with a Local Development Strategy:

  • Benalla
  • Noojee
  • Corryong
  • Nowa Nowa
  • Heyfield
  • Orbost
  • Koondrook
  • Swifts Creek
  • Murrindindi:
    • Alexandra
    • Taggerty
    • Buxton
    • Marysville
    • Narbethong
  • Yarra Ranges:
    • Powelltown
    • Yarra Junction
    • Warburton
  • Yarram

Applications for the Community Development Fund open October 2022 and close on 30 June 2026.

Stream One funding can be applied for at any point in the Local Development Strategy process.

Stream Two funding will generally be applied for after innovation opportunities for the town or community have been identified and business cases developed – generally from the Entrepreneurial Discovery stage of the Local Development Strategy Process. At this stage of the process, there is a project manager in place and the regional context analysis completed, through which the locality’s strengths and potential innovation opportunities have been identified.

Grants of up to $500,000 are available for communities who are significantly impacted by the Victorian Forestry Plan to undertake economic diversification planning to support their local economy and transition to new, sustainable industries.

The grants are designed to assist communities that will be significantly impacted by the Victorian Forestry Plan to develop a Local Development Strategy that:

  • supports their transition away from native timber harvesting
  • leads to the creation of new jobs in sustainable industries, and
  • results in long-term economic and social benefits for each community.

The development of a local development strategy will be locally-led and undertaken in partnership with key stakeholders.

Through the Local Development Strategy program a number of potential innovation opportunities for the town or community will be identified. The Community Development Fund supports the early implementation of those opportunities.

The $36 million Victorian Forestry Plan Transition Fund will be released in 2023 and will provide grants to grow businesses and create jobs in affected communities.

Throughout the program the spread of grants across the eligible communities will be considered to ensure a fair allocation.

Each community will also be eligible for up to $1 million in dedicated funding (up to $500,000 from stream one and up to $500,000 from stream two).

Page last updated: 2 November 2022