This Information bulletin provides information and project guidance related to the Circular Economy Councils Fund.
On this page
We note the funding agreement hyperlinks on the website and guidelines were incorrect and this was amended on 8 February 2021. There is a Short Form Funding Agreement for funding requests of $50,000 and under, and a General Funding Agreement for funding requests of above $50,000. Please ensure you have reviewed and accepted the relevant terms and conditions for your project before submitting your application.
We held information sessions to present an overview of the fund and application criteria.
This video shows three speakers presenting at the Recycling Victoria Councils Fund Information Session on 9 February 2021.
The presenter is Candyce Presland, Manager, Households Team.
The speakers are:
[Opening visual of slide with text saying ‘Recycling Victoria Councils Fund’, ‘Information Session’, ‘Candyce Presland, Manager Households’, ‘9 February 2021’, ‘Sustainability Victoria’]
[The visuals during this webinar are of a PowerPoint Presentation being played on screen, with speakers appearing via video to the side of the screen]
Okay, everybody. We are going to begin today’s information session. So thank you for joining us this morning to hear about the Recycling Victoria Councils Fund. My name is Candyce Presland, and I’m the Manager of the Households team at Sustainability Victoria. Just by way of background, I’ve worked on various programs at SV for over a decade now, mostly in the waste and resource recovery space, and prior to SV, I delivered community outreach programs in a not-for-profit organisation and contributed to community services within a Victorian local government. I’m extremely committed to tackling climate change and helping people like yourselves to embrace a circular economy. So welcome. Really great to have you here.
I’d also like to introduce the team who’s also here today. So we’ve got the RV Councils Fund team, Grace Rodgerson, who is the Program Officer, and you will hear from Grace shortly. And we’ve got: Linda Duffy, our Program Lead; Nadia Boyce, our Communications Partner. And we’re also joined today by the RV Communities Fund team, which includes Alice Young-Drew and Andrea Pape, our Program Lead. And apologies for my phone going off.
Just to let you know we are recording today’s session, which will be published on SV’s website and sent to attendees after the session. You can ask questions via the ‘My Questions’ chat box which is to the right of your screen, and we encourage you to do so. To the left of the chat box under ‘Featured’ we will publish questions and answers to those questions for all to see, however there will also be a dedicated question-and-answer component in the latter part of today’s session. Just to let you know, as there may be up to 200 people signing in today, we may not be able to get to all of your questions, however we will endeavour to answer them via the Information Bulletin on the SV website. I’d also take this opportunity to let you know that those are updated regularly, so it’s well worth keeping an eye on those Information Bulletins as well, just to get the best and most up to date information.
So I wanted to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the lands on which we are meeting today, the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung peoples, and to pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and the Elders of the nations upon which you are all tuning in from today. I acknowledge that we live and work on the lands of the most sustainable culture in the world, and that the unique knowledge systems of Aboriginal people and their contributions to our understanding of climate change and our environment are being slowly belatedly recognised. At SV we are working towards Indigenous inclusion in our program design and our workplace more generally, and we welcome your support and guidance as we go on this journey.
So just an outline of today’s agenda. So we’ll talk to you – for those of you who may not be so familiar – what is a circular economy, the Recycling Victoria Policy. We’ll give you a very high-level overview of that. We’ll talk through the waste hierarchy. Then I will pass over to Grace who will give you an overview of the fund itself, and what we’re looking for, and requirements. And then we’ll have open question time at the end of the session. So we’ll have roughly about 30 minutes for that, so quite a bit of time to take some of your questions and provide you with some answers.
So, in terms of, what is a circular economy? No doubt there are many of you here today who are all too familiar with waste creation as being a linear process. So a product is created. As consumers, we buy it, we use it, and when we’re done with it, we put it in the bin where it ultimately ends up in landfill. In terms of a really good definition that I came across for a ‘circular economy’, I’ve got one from Zero Waste Scotland, which I think is a really apt one. So, “a circular economy is part of the solution to our global climate emergency. It’s one in which products, services and systems are designed to maximise their value and minimise waste. A circular economy is all-encompassing to life and business, where everything has value and nothing is wasted. In simple terms, it can be explained as make, use, re-make, as opposed to make, use and dispose of.”
Now I’m pretty sure I don’t need to tell anyone in this room that this is a big and complex issue, and there is no quick and easy fix. And no doubt that’s why we’re all here today. At present, Australians have one of the largest material footprints in the world at 35 tonnes per person. That’s 10 tonnes or 40% higher than the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and Chile. And so we definitely still have some work to do here. We know Victorians are dedicated recyclers, however we know that we must also enable them to avoid creating waste and to ensure that we get more value from our precious and finite resources. Our end-goal is to reduce the environmental impacts of production and consumption, to enable economic growth through the productive use of resources, to avoid waste through good design, and to recover materials so they can continue to be used again and again in the future.
So in terms of the Recycling Victoria policy, over the next decade, Recycling Victoria, our $380 million circular economy policy and action plan, will fundamentally overhaul the way we avoid, minimise, reduce, re-use and recycle in Victoria. It will transform Victoria’s recycling sector, generate jobs, create a new economy, drive investment and innovation to reduce waste. The policy aims to reduce waste generation by 15% per capita, and reduce organic waste to landfill by 50% by 2030.
In terms of the goals of Recycling Victoria, there are four key areas here: designing to last, repair and recycle; using products to create more value; recycling more resources; and reducing harm from waste. At SV, we know that councils will play an absolutely critical role in leading this change, and are well-placed to identify and develop local circular economies for communities to share, repair, loan and buy second hand goods. As such, the Victorian Government will fund councils and communities to reduce waste over the next decade, starting with a $14.6 million investment over the next four years. Through this funding, you can ensure that your communities choose waste-free products, re-use materials, and maintain and repair the goods that we have. If you’d like to know more about Recycling Victoria, there is a link to the policy shown at the bottom of the slide, and I encourage you to go and read up further when you’ve got the time.
In terms of the waste hierarchy, it’s really important, because it shows us the most impactful ways to transition away from a linear economy. At the top we have ‘avoid’, because avoiding creating waste in the first place will have a much greater impact than any other intervention. As we go down the hierarchy, we do have other interventions, such as the re-use of materials, repair and recycling. And those are still important, but I guess what we want to note here is that this funding really is to tackle waste at the top end of the hierarchy, so, looking at avoidance and minimisation measures as opposed to end-of-life disposal.
So before I pass over to Grace, it’s important to flag that in a circular economy, products ideally maintain the same or greater value. As an example, a project that recycles glass bottles back into glass bottles has more circularity than a project that crushes glass bottles to use in asphalt. So thank you for your time, and I’m now going to pass over to Grace Rodgerson, who’s going to give you an overview of the funding. So, thank you, Grace. Over to you.
Hi everyone. My name is Grace. I’m the Project Officer for the Recycling Victoria Councils Fund. I’m really excited to be here today and to see what happens with this program over the next couple of years. It’s really exciting.
The RV Councils Fund is a four-year program that is designed to assist Victorian councils and alpine resort management boards to implement projects which help them to transition towards a circular economy. Up to $500,000 in funding is available, and there is a matched co-contribution.
Each project must achieve one or more of the following outcomes. Decrease volume of material going to landfill, increase volume of material re-used, repaired, repurposed or recycled, and increase circular economy activity, with associated jobs and economic growth.
There are two streams of funding available. Feasibility grants allow for councils to undertake a study on a proposed circular economy initiative. It is assumed that councils that apply for a feasibility grant this year will use that study to inform an application for an implementation grant in later rounds. So we do expect to receive more feasibility applications this year.
There will be some of you in the audience here who have projects that are shovel ready, they’re ready to go, you’ve got the business case, and for those applicants there is a Stream 2 Implementation grant.
We strongly encourage councils to partner up and collaborate to maximise the scale and impact of their project. So as you can see on the screen, the more councils you partner with, the more funding is available.
Both streams require a 1:1 co-contribution.
For Feasibility, this co-contribution can be up to 100% in-kind. For Implementation grants, there is a 20% in-kind allowance, and applicants must contribute a minimum 80% financial contribution. Now we are aware of other funding opportunities in recycling at the moment, so we have allowed for some other funding to be able to make up the financial co-contribution. If you take a look at the table up on the slide here, by way of example, a project that totals $250,000 in value can request funding of up to $125,000. Your in-kind allowance would be $25,000, and your financial contribution would be $100,000. If you did have other funding opportunities, you could contribute $50,000 in cash and $50,000 from the other funding source. These funding sources must be not related to the Recycling Victoria policy.
In terms of what can be funded, for Feasibility, this is pretty straightforward. It’s research development and demonstration, business case development, feasibility studies, consultancy or contract work. For Implementation it’s a bit broader. So we will fund capital purchases, infrastructure and equipment that’s integral to the project, pre-construction works etcetera. We’ve also added in – if you see the bullet point about other innovative projects. We are aware that we don’t have all the answers to achieving a circular economy, and we’re hoping that there are going to be projects that come through that are identified through feasibility studies that we haven’t thought of that are new. So we did want to allow for scope in the Implementation grants if there’s something we haven’t thought of, that it can be funded.
In terms of what won’t be funded, we won’t be funding waste-to-energy projects. There’s a couple of other things up on the slide here. We also will not fund projects that are already funded under Recycling Victoria, such as kerbside transition projects. I did want to point out that there’s no overlap between the two streams. So for Feasibility applications, we’ll not accept funding requests for activities that don’t relate to research, and for Implementation applications, we will not accept applications that do research development and demonstration.
So in terms of the assessment criteria, we’ll be looking at what the project is trying to achieve, what problem it’s solving, how it aligns to the objectives. We also want to know the capability of the organisation applying, have they done something similar before, do they have the resources to make it a successful project. We’ll also be looking at whether the project demonstrates a need for government support, whether it demonstrates value for money, and we’re also looking at the project plan, the risk management, etcetera. The other criteria is our diversity criteria. So when we have all the projects being assessed, we will be looking at whether there’s a good geographical spread across Victoria, whether there is a good spread across larger councils and smaller councils, regional and metro, and whether there are a mix of projects across the three outcomes. So that would be projects that divert waste from landfill, projects that repair, re-use, recycle, and projects that increase jobs in a circular economy.
So how to apply. Well you’ll need to have a look at our website, which is shown on the screen there. Up on the website we’ve got guidelines, we’ve got Information Bulletin. We’ve also got the Terms and Conditions, and I did have a little disclaimer to add there. We have had a bit of an error on our web page up until yesterday. So if you are applying for more than $50,000 in funding, can you please take a look at the website again to make sure you have the accurate information. You should speak to your WRRG about your application. Your waste and resource recovery group can help you. They can review your application. So I’d definitely reach out to them. You can email any questions to our Grants Enquiries mailbox, which is shown up on the screen there. And to apply, if you go to our website and click on ‘Apply Now’, it will take you through to our SmartyGrants portal. So this is like an online form where you can start your application, you can save it and come back to it later. And we’re really looking forward to receiving those applications.
In terms of key dates, this round closes on the 19th of March this year, and we’re hoping to get all projects in contract by the 31st of July this year. And that’s all from me. I’ll hand over to Candyce for question time. Thanks everyone.
Thank you, Grace. So we are now handing over to you to ask questions. I just wanted to remind everybody that if you do want to ask a question, there is an icon to the top right of your screen, which is a box with a question mark in it. If you click on that, that is how you can send through questions. So the questions come to us, and then we can filter those and then make sure we have an answer, an appropriate answer, and then send them back out again.
So the way we’re going to run this session is: I’ll outline the question that’s been asked, and then I’m going to hand over to my amazing, awesome, very well-versed team to answer those questions. So please, if you do have any questions, there’s no such thing as a silly question, so if there’s something you want to know, please put it out there. and as I said, we may not get to all questions today, however we will answer those and they will be included in our update on the website. So just a reminder.
Okay. So, first question.
Question: If an application is unsuccessful for funding in year one, can we resubmit our application in future rounds?
So, Grace or Linda, happy for either of you to come back and answer this one for the group.
Sure. So, I can jump in there, Candyce. Certainly people can apply again in a subsequent year, as long as the organisation and any project people that are applying for meet the eligibility requirements. There’s also going to be opportunity to get feedback on that first application if it’s not successful, to improve that for the future application.
Thank you for that, Linda. So I’m now going to move on to our second question, and that is:
Question: We have more than one project we’d like funding for. Can we submit more than one grant application?
So, I’m going to hand over to Linda and Grace again to answer that question. Linda or Grace?
Hi, everyone. I can answer that one. So yes, you can apply multiple times, however you are limited to two applications per lead applicant. So if you are partnering up with other councils and they’re the lead applicant, you can partner on other additional applications. You can apply for funding for more than one project, as long as your projects align with the eligibility criteria. And you also need to ensure that you can meet the co-contribution requirements for both projects, or each project. Thanks, Candyce.
Thanks very much, Grace. So on to the next question. So this question is:
Question: What does kerbside transition mean?
And I might hand over to Linda to answer that one.
Sure. So many of you will know that DELWP has been working with individual councils on transition plans for kerbside reform. So that includes for some going to a four-bin system or whatever it might be, and there’s funding attached to that work with DELWP. So that’s outlined in the RV policy as well.
Thanks for that, Linda. So on to the next question.
Question: Can councils apply for more than one Feasibility grant?
So handing over to either Linda or Grace to answer this question. Thanks.
Thanks, Candyce. That’s actually quite similar to the last question we had. So yes, you can apply for more than one Feasibility grant. You are limited to two applications per lead applicant, as I described before. Thanks, Candyce.
Thank you. Thanks for that, Grace. Okay. So the next question from the group.
Question: Are there any priority materials for this grant?
Over to you, Linda and Grace.
I can answer that one as well. No. There aren’t any priority materials. The RV policy does outline some priority materials, such as glass, paper, etcetera. However we really want councils to look at what the problem is in their municipality. It might not be one of those priority materials. And if you can demonstrate that it is a problem that needs solving, we’re open to all materials, as long as you’re diverting from landfill, you’re re-using, repairing, recycling and aligning with the grant objectives. Thanks, Candyce.
Thanks, Grace. Okay. So the next question we have is from Kat from Boroondara Council.
Question: Do we need a feasibility study before applying for Stream 2?
Okay. So I can jump in for that one. If you’ve got a Stream 2 implementation project that’s ready to go, so you’ve already met the criteria that demonstrates that you’ve either done a viability case or a business study or some sort of analysis, or there’s a similar project for example in a similar size council that’s been done elsewhere and you can replicate that, you wouldn’t need to do the feasibility study first. You could go straight to applying for implementation under Stream 2, and make sure that you just tick off and provide that information in your application.
Thank you for that, Linda. So the next question I have is:
Question: Can a council apply for a value less than $80,000 for implementation?
I’ll go for that one, Candyce. What we’re trying to do is to get the maximum impact for grants as possible. So at this point, the $80,000 is our lower limit on an individual grant. And I guess what we’d be looking for is partnering up with other groups or other councils so that we make sure we get maximum impact. So if you’ve got a top idea that you really want to progress, we’d be really encouraging you to find some bodies to partner with on that project.
Thanks, Linda. So next question.
Question: Hi. Can we apply for multiple funding? If we already have funding from one grant, can we still apply or be eligible for the RV Councils Fund?
Grace, I feel like you could probably answer that one.
Yeah. So you can apply for funding from different parts of the Recycling Victoria policy, but you cannot apply for funding for the same project. So if for example you’re purchasing a big piece of equipment and that’s your project, you couldn’t use funding from two sources to pay for that equipment. So it would need to be a different stage of the project or a different project altogether in order to be eligible for two different funding sources.
We are tracking who’s applying for what, so if we do receive two applications in different grants at SV for the same project, we will be looking at that as well and making sure we’re not giving out funding for the same project twice. Thanks, Candyce.
Thanks again, Grace. Okay. So the next question we have here is from Helen, and this is an interesting one.
Question: Who can review the application? A WRRG? Can we create a strawman for the project and get feedback from SV on it?
Okay. I think, Linda, I’m going to hand over to you to answer this one.
Yeah. Thanks, Candyce. So for this funding program, the role of the WRRG is to work with proponents, so potential applicants, to make sure that the projects align with the strategic planning, any local, regionalised, state-wide planning. So that’s the role of the WRRG. In terms of probity, no. We can’t give feedback from SV on individual project ideas. We’ve got to make sure that everybody has an even playing field. So I think the answer is yes. You’ve answered it yourself. That’s the role of the WRRG for this funding round. Thanks, Candyce.
Thanks, Linda. So next question we have here is:
Question: If you get lots of good applications in round one, is there a chance that other funding rounds won’t occur?
Grace or Linda, I will hand over to you to answer this.
Okay. So I’ll answer that one. There’s allocated funding over the four years of the program. So basically the answer is there will continue to be subsequent funding rounds. So we’re not going to oversubscribe in year one and not have future projects. So definitely the future funding rounds will occur each year. That’s our commitment. Thanks, Candyce.
So next question we have is:
Question: Is it possible to ask for funding for activities to get councils prepared, so capability pre‑initiatives to the circular initiatives discovery? Most are quite behind the maturity level, and before they come up with initiatives, they need some capability uplifting.
That’s an interesting one. I’m going to hand to the team, and if we need to, we can always take questions on notice. So over to the team for this one.
Thanks, Candyce. Perhaps between Grace and I – I do feel like it’s one we might have to take on notice, depending what’s meant by capability uplifting, and whether there’s a project in that. So I would suspect working with your WRRGs, and maybe the WRRGs working with one another, coming up with a project that’s actually got a broader reach, and identifying who those councils are that actually need some help to step up. Because definitely that’s the intent of the program. We don’t want councils to be left behind. So that’s the intention of the program, is to bring everybody on the circular economy journey, and this is our transition to get to a circular economy over the ten years.
So I guess in the first instance I’d be encouraging working with the WRRGs, and then beyond that we can do a bit more thinking about what you might be meaning by that capability uplifting. Anything else from you Grace on that one?
Yeah. Probably also add you can have a look at what problem materials you have in your municipality. Perhaps you’ve got mattresses piling up at your landfill or something like that. And you can use the feasibility grant to go ‘What can we do with these? How do we fix this problem?’ And that’s when, if you don’t have the internal capability, you can hire a consultant with the funding. So yeah, the feasibility pathway is intentional for this issue, to make sure that councils can actually look at the feasibility and study and research the proposed solution.
Thanks. Thanks, Linda and Grace.
Okay. So next question we have is from Helen.
Question: For the Implementation grant, what do you mean by evidence that the project is ready to implement? Can you be more specific?
I’m happy to take that one. So yeah, we’re really looking for feasibility studies, business case, if you’ve done some research into how to fix a problem. But also you can replicate other areas. So if there’s been something happening in another council that you think ‘We could do that quite easily,’ that’s enough evidence for us to say that could work in your council. So yeah, if it’s something that’s been done before and you have evidence that it works, that evidence could be in any form. I mean obviously the formal part would be if you have a business case, a feasibility study, but if you’re also going to link us to ‘This is where it’s worked before and this is their report on how it happened,’ it’s just whatever will give us the confidence that the project is likely to succeed. Thanks, Candyce.
And Helen, it’s Candyce here. Just to add to that, at the end of the day, these are merit-based and competitive grants. So I guess whatever evidence you do have, and the more evidence that you’ve got to really support your application, the more likely it is to be successful as well.
So next question.
Question: Can you apply for both streams at the same time for two different projects?
Presume yes. Sorry. I think that was for me. Handing over to the team there.
I can pick that one up, Candyce. So yes. So the intent of the two funding streams, the Feasibility is your short turnaround six month grant. So that is to flesh out what Candyce is just talking about in response to Helen, to flesh out if something is feasible or not. You could at the same time have a different project that’s ready to implement. So you could be good to go in round one applying for projects in both streams. But yeah, as Candyce has said, it’s a merit-based process, competitive assessment, and we’re really looking for partnering and collaboration, and as much impact as possible from those projects. Thanks Candyce.
Thanks, Linda. So the next question we have is:
Question: Can one council apply for funding to fund more than one project?
Over to you, team.
I believe we’ve already answered that one, Candyce.
Yeah. I think we have. And I guess just to clarify, probably go back to the program guidelines where councils can – as I just described, you might be ready to do an application for a feasibility, for an implementation. Councils can also be a project partner in another larger application. So yeah, the bottom answer there is yes. Thanks, Candyce.
Thank you. So Helen has a question here, which is a good one.
Question: Our project requires digital enablement and costs associated with this to make it happen. Can we include digital infrastructure and not just physical?
So I’ll hand over to the team, however we can always take this one on notice.
I guess look, that’s going to come back to merits of the project as well. But at this point in time, I think we might have to get back to you. I think anything that’s sort of around infrastructure that’s integral to the project and specific just to that project, that will certainly be considered. If we’ve got a better answer and we get back in the Information Bulletin with that question, we’ll give some more info there. Thanks, Candyce. Grace, did you have anything else to add on that one? Awesome. Thanks.
Okay. And apologies if we’ve had a similar question so far.
Question: Is it possible to apply for both forms of funding? For example, we have a project shovel ready, and we also have one that we would like to develop a business case for.
Sure. So I think we’ve addressed that one. That’s definitely yes. Two different projects in the funding streams at two different stages is fine. Thanks, Candyce.
Okay. So next question is from Alice from Stonnington.
Question: In terms of your requirement that there be no overlap between the Feasibility and Implementation streams, where would you consider a trial implementation to sit if more than one model was being tested?
So, I’m just going to repeat this, Linda and Grace.
Question: In terms of your requirement that there is no overlap between the Feasibility and Implementation streams, where would you consider a trial implementation to sit if more than one model was being tested?
Okay. I’ll have a shot at this one as it stands. I guess what we’re thinking about is in terms of feasibility study, being able to flesh out the most reasonable trial. So I guess for me it sort of fits with the feasibility study fleshes out the options, and an implementation project then seeks to implement those options. But we might have to go to taking that one on notice and getting a bit more information for you I think.
Thanks for that, Linda. So next question is from Agnes.
Question: Hi SV.
Question: Understand that requests for retrospective funding won’t be funded. However, we have a shovel ready project in this financial year, 2020/21. We want to understand what does it mean by projects are completed or have commenced prior to signing a Funding Agreement with SV? Our project won’t complete by 30th of June, but we’d like to commence ASAP. Are we eligible?
I’m able to answer that one. So the part about retrospective funding is really about whether the funding that you’ve applied for is going to be used in the future. So say for example you’ve already purchased say some recycling infrastructure and then you apply for funding, you cannot apply for funding to pay for it retrospectively. So the activities and the purchases that you’re applying for funding for can’t have already happened. So you can technically start a project, so long as the activities that you’re asking for funding for are after the signing of the contract. So that’s answering that part of the question.
In terms of what you’ve said about the 30th of June, if you’re applying for funding for something that has already started, I would assume the funding you’re applying for would need to be given prior to the 30th of June, and that’s not really working with our timeframes at the moment. So I’m going to assume that that’s not lining up with the program timeframes. But feel free to get in touch, and we can talk about it a bit more with a bit more detail. Thanks, Candyce.
Yeah. And I’ll just pop in there. Just a reminder that the way to get in touch is with the grants enquiry email address. So just to ensure that we’re good for probity and everyone’s got equal access to all the same information and answers, we really need any more questions to come through on the grants enquiry email line. Thanks.
Thanks, Grace and Linda, for that one. Okay. So we had a question/comment.
Question: You mentioned that feedback can be or is the responsibility of the WRRG. What does WRRG stand for?
So that’s a really great question, because we can’t assume everybody in the room necessarily knows that. So I’m going to actually post a link to the SV website should you want more information. We will do that. However just to let you know, Waste and Resource Recovery Groups. There are seven of these in Victoria. They are Victorian State Government statutory authorities established under the Environment Protection Act 1970, and they actually succeeded the former Regional Waste Management Groups. We will post some more information in there so you can understand that one better. But that was a really great question. We can’t always assume. So thank you for that.
And if I could just add to that one, Candyce. In our guidelines on the website, we’ve got a link to the seven WRRGs and contact people there. Thanks.
Thanks for that, Linda.
Okay. Next question from Jocelyn Hart.
Question: Is establishing a resource recovery centre a suitable project?
Linda, I might have to leave this one with you. I’m not sure.
Bear with us I guess, because I guess we’re just thinking in terms of the waste hierarchy and the intent of the program. I guess we’ll always kind of fall back to if your application fits the eligibility criteria, no reason why not. So I guess I’d also have in mind what other funding sources there are around. And yeah, we can also provide some more information and probably a better answer in our Information Bulletin. I guess I’ll leave it at that at the moment. Thanks, Candyce.
Thank you. I’ve got a question from Kat again from Boroondara Council.
Question: Will you fund bin lid standardisation, so the changing of bin lids?
Thanks, Kat. As I mentioned in my presentation, we will not be funding anything related to the kerbside transition if it’s already funded under the Recycling Victoria policy. So I would assume that bin lids wouldn’t be eligible for funding under our program, because it will be funded under the kerbside transition. I don’t know if anyone else has anything to add to that. Thanks.
I think that covers it, Grace. Yes. Yep. Thanks, Kat, for the question.
Thanks, Grace. Okay. So next question.
Question: Can you give examples of operating costs that are not eligible under the grant?
Yeah. So operating costs would just mean electricity bills, internet bills, that sort of thing. Stuff that you’re using in your project, but it’s general costs that the business would already be paying for. So you can’t claim just those kind of standard items. If you have a look at our guidelines, we’ve got a bit more of a list of those sorts of things. Thanks, Candyce.
And if I can just add to that one. One of the classic ones is existing staff. So operating costs for additional staff that are integral to the project and 100% of their time is specific to the project, that’s an operating cost that would be funded. But if it’s to fund an existing staff member to do a role that’s already happening, that wouldn’t be funded. Thanks.
Okay. Next question.
Question: Can we apply for a grant to purchase the glass crushing machine to convert glass to sand?
Okay. I guess I’ll have a shot at this one. Again, I guess it’s where that fits in terms of waste hierarchy and what value we’re going to be getting from glass becoming another type of resource, and yeah, where that fits in terms of eligibility. I don’t see why not, but I would be saying in terms of a merit-based competitive assessment, thinking about how good the project is and what that piece of equipment does in terms of being integral to the project to actually transition to a circular economy eventually. Thanks, Candyce.
Question: If I apply for an Innovation Fund grant and also apply for Councils Fund, can I get funding for both for the same project?
They requested additional clarification.
I can take that one. So it’s similar to the responses we’ve given before. You can apply for funding under different funding opportunities at SV, but you cannot receive funding for the same project twice. So if you did want to apply for the Innovation Fund and the Councils Fund, the project that you’re proposing would need to be either a different stage of the project or different activities, different equipment or whatever the project is. You can’t get funding from two sources for the one activity or cost. Thanks, Candyce.
We had a question here which is an interesting one, and look, I think this is one we’d need to take on notice to see whether we can answer this or whether we can find some information to assist this person.
Question: As an older person, where can I get assistance for my application?
So I’m not sure if the team can answer this one, and happy to take this one on notice.
I’ll have a shot at that one, Candyce. I think in the first instance, probably the Waste Resource Recovery Group. So we can put some more information together for that and potentially respond directly to get that on the website. But yeah, I think we’ll have a shot at getting some more ways, potentially hard copy information or whatever out to that particular person.
Okay. So this is similar to a previous question, however given it’s been asked again, I’m going to read it out anyway and ask the team to answer it again. So this is Kristy Green. Thanks for your question Kristy.
Question: Can you use the Feasibility to run a pilot, or would that be viewed as Implementation?
Yeah. Research development and demonstration is eligible for the Feasibility round. So I would say yes, you can use the Feasibility funding to run a pilot. So if the outcome of the Feasibility is that you find out how you can successfully run an Implementation project, then that’s brilliant. So yeah, definitely. Thanks Candyce.
Great answer there Grace. Thanks for that. So the next one, this is a really good one as well.
Question: Can the grant be used to increase a council employee’s hours from part-time to full-time?
Yeah. So I can take that one. Yes, definitely. The increase in the hours has to be specific to the project. So 100% of that increased staff time has to be specific to the project, but certainly that’s something that would be funded, be eligible. Thanks, Candyce.
Okay. So the next question.
Question: Can I get grant funding, for example for a truck or equipment used for more than one purpose?
I’m happy to answer that one. So, yes and no. You can apply for funding for vehicles or equipment that’s integral to the project. So for example, if you have a glass crusher or a recycling mobile trailer and you need a vehicle to pull that trailer, that would be considered integral to the project, because the project wouldn’t happen without it. But if you’re just purchasing a vehicle that’s maybe only relevant to the project some of the time and not, it would really be a matter of how integral the vehicle is to the project.
And I’ll just add to that one. So certainly something like the actual mobile trailer itself would be eligible, and the bit about the mobility, to get it between say neighbouring councils or a council site, it’s about it being specific to the project, yep, for sure.
Thanks for that, Grace and Linda. So the next question is:
Question: Can council partner with a community group to deliver a project?
Absolutely. Yeah. We would love to see councils partnering up with community groups, with other businesses on their application. But as we have shown you with the funding, you can get more funding if you partner with other councils. So you could partner with two councils and a community group or three councils and a business. You can really partner with anyone, but the funding levels change depending on the amount of councils you partner with. I’ll just clarify that. Thanks, Candyce.
Okay. So this is another great question.
Question: How do I calculate the value of my staff time for the purposes of quantifying my co‑contribution?
Okay. So I can take that one. So, in the program guidelines, we’ve set out the definitions for full-time equivalent employees, and example budget table to help people do those calculations. So yeah, refer back to the program guidelines for that one. Thanks.
Thank you. Thanks, Linda. So next question we have is:
Question: Who specifically assesses the funding applications?
So, I’m going to answer that one. For probity reasons we can’t tell you who within SV would specifically assess the grants, but what we can tell you is there’s a thorough, robust probity process put in place for those who do assess the grants. So we will have an assessment panel set up, and we also have an expert panel that that group can refer to should they need to. So I’d probably leave it at that, but if we need to provide any further information on that one, we will do that.
Question: Would you cover a feasibility study for a pay-as-you-throw scheme?
I’m not familiar with what a pay-as-you-throw scheme is, so I’m not able to answer that one.
No, nor am I. But if it’s something about litter prevention, then I think we’ve spelled out what is and isn’t eligible there. I guess we can take that one and provide some more information in our Info Bulletin.
Yeah. To me it looks almost like a ‘user pays’-type scheme, but if it’s pay-as-you-throw, that sort of indicates to me it’s more at the disposal end of the hierarchy. But yeah, we might have to take that one on notice I think.
Next question. So Kat from Boroondara.
Question: We have a repair cafe that is only open one day every 2 months. Would this be eligible to turn into a 5-day-a-week venue with a dedicated staff member working in partnership with the volunteers and group?
Great question, Kat. I’m going to hand over to the team for this one.
Yeah. I think that’s definitely eligible. We’re really interested in getting this re-use, repair economy going in communities in Victoria, so to me that sounds great. Linda, I’m not sure whether you agree?
Yeah. I think on the face of it, that’s what we’d be looking for in terms of the overarching intent of the program. Yeah. So at this point in time I would be saying yes. We’ll make sure we clarify it for you Kat, but it’s a great question, and it’s certainly where we want to be heading. So my instinct is yes, that would be eligible.
Thank you. Thanks team for that answer. And look, we’re actually going to take that as the final question, given it was such a great question, Kat. And to get you all out of here on time, we will wrap up today’s session. I’d like to thank everyone again for taking the time out to come along today. We really do encourage you all to go away and consider whether you have projects that you think could be eligible under this funding stream, or whether you think there’s opportunities to do some feasibility work and build a business case for future funding. So yeah, please do go away. I encourage you again to go to SV’s website, read up the Info Bulletin on the website. Keep checking that regularly and often, just because we will continue to update that.
And I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the team for all the effort they’ve put in, not just designing up the grants, but also for running today’s session. And we hope that we’ve answered your questions sufficiently. And have a good rest of your day. Thanks, everyone.
[Closing visual of slide with text saying ‘Thank you’, ‘It’s up to all of us to help shape the State of the Future’, ‘f @SustainVic’, ‘t @SustainVic’, ‘in Sustainability Victoria’, ‘Sustainability Victoria’, ‘Victoria State Government’]
[End of Transcript]
This page will be updated regularly, based on questions we receive and those raised at the information sessions.
My organisation is an Alpine Resort Management Board, how are we expected to fit within the project timeframes when we have a limited operating season?
For the current funding round, the Fund will accommodate the specific circumstances of the alpine season for successful Alpine Resort Management Board applications. Please note, we aim to notify the successful applicants in June this year, so it may be too late to begin a project this calendar year.
My municipality has a small population, and we are dealing with smaller quantities of waste. Are we likely to get funding to improve our waste outcomes if we're competing with larger councils?
We encourage every council and alpine resort management board to apply for funding. Every application will be assessed on its merits. The Stream 1 Feasibility grant is designed for applicants who may not have had the opportunity to undertake pre-work to determine the viability of an idea. The merit assessment includes considerations of the diversity of applications, including geographical spread, municipality size and project type. Collaborative partnerships between councils or alpine resort management boards in either Stream 1 Feasibility or Stream 2 Implementation may assist in increasing the impact of a project.
If we are contracting a third party or consultant to undertake the feasibility study, how does the in-kind contribution work?
You can claim in-kind expenses as 100% of your co-contribution for Stream 1 Feasibility projects. In-kind could include activities related to project delivery such as council staff time, staff meetings, room hire, or communications and engagement activity. If the in-kind contribution cannot match the grant funding request, then you would need to contribute cash to make up the difference so a 1:1 split is achieved.
Can Sustainability Victoria review or provide feedback on my proposed project before I submit my application?
No, this being a competitive process, we are unable to review drafts or provide feedback on the potential merit of a project. We encourage applicants to consider and address how the project meets the eligibility and merit criteria, as outlined in the program guidelines.
Applicants are encouraged to contact their respective Regional Waste and Resource Recovery Groups (WRRG) to discuss their proposal and ensure it aligns with their regional WRRG plan. WRRGs can support Councils and Alpine Resort Management Boards with their application but cannot recommend projects for funding.See WRRG contact details.
Can we use this funding to add a circular economy element to an existing project?
Yes, the funding may be used to add a circular economy element to an existing project. However, the funding must not be allocated towards activities that have already commenced or are completed.
Which waste materials should we focus on for the grant?
Priority materials in the Victorian Government’s Recycling Victoria policy are glass, paper/cardboard, organics, textiles, e-waste, plastics and tyres. However, the Recycling Victoria Councils Fund is designed to provide tailored solutions to a council area’s unique circumstances, so other non-priority materials may be considered for funding.
Do project partners have to be in the same regional area for collaborative partnership applications?
Collaborative partnership applications can be made up of any groups of councils or alpine resort management board from across the state. For example, neighbouring councils or alpine resort management boards could purchase infrastructure that is shared between them. Or, if a metropolitan council requires a lot of space for their project, they could partner with a regional council to undertake the project in the regional council area.
Is a waste education project eligible?
A community education and engagement proposal may be eligible, provided the project can accurately demonstrate its impact on avoiding material becoming waste or materials reused, repaired, repurposed or recycled. This would mean being able to refer to baseline measurements before and after the project (using tonnes or cubic metres) to prove and measure its impact. Education and engagement proposals are encouraged to incorporate evidence-based, best practice approaches.
Is a project addressing littering and illegal dumping eligible?
No. The focus of the program is on waste avoidance and the repair, reuse, repurpose and recycling of materials so they do not enter the waste stream or end up as litter.
Can funding cover the cost of leasing land or premises for the purposes of my project? No. Please see 'What will be funded' and 'What will not be funded' in the guidelines.
What happens if a Stream 1 Feasibility project identifies a solution that is not eligible for a Stream 2 implementation grant?
Options identified by a feasibility study will not necessarily be funded by an implementation grant. The implementation project will still need to meet the eligibility requirements, purpose and objectives of the Fund.
What does it mean by “the project must not have commenced or been completed prior to signing the funding agreement”?
This criterion ensures that the funding is not allocated towards activities that have already taken place or where a purchase has already been made. The “project” from the perspective of the Fund is all the activities and purchases proposed in the application and budget table. There may be additional project activities or elements that do not form part of the application, and these elements or activities may begin prior to signing the funding agreement.
For Stream 2: Implementation, what do you mean by “evidence” the project is ready to implement? Do we need to undertake a feasibility study?
Applicants for the implementation stream must demonstrate the project is commercial, feasible and capable of being delivered. Evidence that the project is ready to implement might include a business case, feasibility study or demonstration of a similar successful project which can be replicated.
Where would a trial or pilot project fit between the two streams?
Applicants can apply to undertake pilot projects as part of the Stream 1 Feasibility grants, if the purpose of the pilot is to test the feasibility of a project that could be implemented in future. The pilot project would also need to address the eligibility criteria and be targeted towards the program objectives.
Can this funding be used to build storage facilities at an intermediary site before the material is taken to the processor?
This type of project may be eligible for funding, provided it is an element of a larger circular economy project. A project which has a sole focus on storing waste materials is ineligible for funding as it does not align with the program objectives.
Can this program fund digital infrastructure, not just physical?
Yes, the program will fund digital infrastructure that is integral to the project.
Is a feasibility study for a ‘pay as you throw’ scheme eligible for funding?
This project may be eligible for funding under the feasibility stream. Please review and ensure the project aligns with the eligibility criteria in the program guidelines.
If our project is focused on procurement, design or logistics to help a material stream become circular or close the loop, but is not directly related to recycling, would this still be eligible?
Yes, this project may be eligible for funding, provided it demonstrates a measurable impact towards one or more of the program objectives (tonnes diverted from landfill, tonnes reused/repaired/recycled, jobs created etc).
Is purchasing a glass crushing machine to convert glass to sand eligible for funding?
Yes, capital purchases (such as equipment) that are integral to the project are eligible for funding.
Is establishing or expanding a Resource Recovery Centre eligible for funding?
Yes, this type of project is eligible for funding under stream 2 implementation, as it aligns with the program objectives.
Is the application form available in PDF?
Yes. Please visit the SmartyGrants webpage.
You will find a link under the title page ‘Download preview form.’ You can access the application form, without creating a SmartyGrants account. All applications must be submitted via SmartyGrants.
Can an external organisation submit on behalf of a council or alpine resort management board?
No, applications must be submitted by either a local government authority or an alpine resort management board.
How many projects can one council partner on?
There is a limit of two applications per lead applicant (individual or leading a collaborative partnership) per funding round. Councils can also be a project partner on additional applications where they are not the lead applicant.
Can council and alpine resort management boards apply for a feasibility grant and then two successive implementation grants?
Yes, it is possible to apply for two subsequent implementation grants for the same project if there is sufficient justification for doing so, including the expansion of benefits of the project. This would mean you could apply for a feasibility grant in round one of the program, an implementation grant in round two and a second implementation grant in round four.
Can councils and alpine resort management boards be awarded a feasibility grant and an implementation grant in the one grant round?
You could receive two grants in the one grant round, however these must be for different projects. If the feasibility grant is to form the basis of the implementation project, the implementation application would need to be submitted in later rounds, once the feasibility study has been completed. Each implementation grant application requires evidence of the feasibility of the proposed project.
When will funding applications be assessed?
Applications will be assessed against the weighted/merit criteria. The time between receipt, assessment and decision will be subject to a variety of factors including the number and quality of applications received. Applicants will be updated about the status of their application as soon as possible.
When will I know the outcome of my application?
Sustainability Victoria will provide applicants with updates about the progress of their applications as much as possible but is unable to provide a definite approval or announcement date. We thank you for your cooperation and understanding on this and will endeavour to advise you if we experience any unforeseen delays.
Can we apply for other Sustainability Victoria grants for the same project?
Each funding program offered by Sustainability Victoria has different objectives, eligibility requirements and assessment criteria. All applications should be tailored to the specific funding program.
If your project fits the criteria and meets the objectives for more than one program, you may apply for more than one funding opportunity with Sustainability Victoria. If your applications are successful, you will only be awarded funding from one program.
Is there a standard hourly rate for calculating in-kind contributions?
Sustainability Victoria does not provide any standard hourly rate figure to calculate in-kind contributions. Applicants can find a definition of in-kind including examples in Section 9 of the program guidelines. Widely accepted and reasonable assumptions must be applied.
Can I apply for an implementation grant of less than $80,000?
No, the minimum grant ask for implementation projects is $80,000. We encourage applicants with smaller scale projects to consider partnering with other councils to maximise the scale and impact of their projects.
Will late submissions be considered?In order to be fair to all applicants, late applications will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Requests for approval for a late application can only be considered if you make an application in writing prior to the grant closing date as stated under late applications in our Terms of Participation in Grant Programs. Examples of exceptional circumstances are outlined in the document.Please note, it can take some time to upload the relevant documentation to support applications in SmartyGrants. For this reason, we recommend that you submit your application well ahead of the 3:00 pm deadline.