Circular Economy Councils Fund – Round 3

Last updated: 10 March 2023
Status: Applications closing soon
Closing date: Friday 31 March 2023, 11:59 pm
Total funding available: Round 3 will provide grants between $30,000 - $500,000 for either individual Councils (including Alpine Resorts managed by Alpine Resort Victoria) or Collaborative Partnerships of Councils.

$1:$5; at least 50% of the Co-contribution must be in cash.

Available to: Alpine Resorts Victoria (ARV), Victorian Councils
Prior to 1 July 2022, this fund was named the Recycling Victoria Councils Fund.

The Circular Economy Councils Fund supports Victorian local governments (Councils) to implement projects that will focus on: reducing the volume of waste going to landfill; increasing the volume of materials reused, repaired, repurposed or recycled; boosting local circular economy activity and jobs.

For the first 2 funding rounds grants were distributed through 2 streams: Stream 1: Feasibility and Stream 2: Implementation. Round 3 is the final funding round and will not be divided into 2 funding streams. All applications will be via the one combined funding round.

This grant is funded through the government’s Circular economy policy, Recycling Victoria: a new economy.

The following are the guidelines for Round 3 applications.

1. Fund overview

1.1 Fund objectives

Projects must align with one or more of the following objectives:

  • Decrease the volume of waste going to landfill.
  • Increase the volume of material reused, repaired, repurposed or recycled.
  • Increase circular economy activity, stimulating local employment and economic growth.

Over the 4-year program, aggregating all funded projects, we expect to see:

  • 6,000 tonnes waste to landfill reduction (3,000t organic; 3,000t non-organic)
  • 20,000 tonnes increase in processing capacity (10,000t organic; 10,000t non-organic)
  • up to 40 new jobs (30 temporary; 10 permanent)
  • improved markets for recovered materials ($300,000 added value).

1.2 Funding available

Round 3 will provide grants between $30,000 - $500,000 for either individual councils (including Alpine Resorts managed by Alpine Resort Victoria) or collaborative partnerships of councils.

All applications will require evidence of project feasibility or demonstrate the worth of additional interrogation of previous feasibility work. This preceding work may have been conducted through:

  • previous rounds of the Circular Economy Councils Fund
  • other sources - an existing business case, feasibility study or evidence of a successful similar project that your proposed implementation project can replicate.


Applicants are required to make a co-contribution to all projects. This co-contribution can include up to 50% in-kind. Applicants must contribute a minimum $1 for every $5 from Sustainability Victoria (SV) towards the project.

At least 50% of the co-contribution must be in cash. For example:

  • If your grant request is $200,000, the minimum co-contribution must be $40,000 of which you must contribute at least $20,000 in cash and the remaining $20,000 can be in-kind.

2. Eligibility

2.1 Who can apply

Eligible applicants are Victorian local governments (Councils) and the Alpine Resorts Victoria Board.

A Council or the Alpine Resorts Victoria Board can apply individually or as a Lead Applicant in a Collaborative Partnership application. They can also be listed as a Project Partner in a Collaborative Partnership (see section 9: Definitions).

Lead Applicants are encouraged to establish collaborative relationships with other Councils or the Alpine Resorts Victoria Board to support project delivery and maximise the project’s impact. Lead Applicants will need to clarify the nature of their relationships with other organisations and demonstrate their commitment to the project.

Applicants must:

Sustainability Victoria manages several grants. Although you can apply for more than one grant for a project, you can only receive one grant per project. If you’ve already applied for a Sustainability Victoria grant and now find this grant is more relevant or suitable, you can withdraw your prior application by emailing us. Refer also to section 2.3 below on other specific grant funding programs.

2.2 What will be funded

Eligible project types are those that:

  • focus on implementing Council supported Reuse (Tip) Shops
  • implement eligible recommendations and/or actions contained within previously completed feasibility study or business case (attach evidence)
  • have a high level of confidence (ie robust plans and staff resources) to complete the project by 30 June 2024 (attach evidence).

Funding will support projects that:

  • facilitate local circular economy solutions
  • collaborate with other Councils/businesses/NGOs in identifying and implementing circular economy solutions
  • decrease waste materials being sent to landfill, including priority materials such as glass, organics, e-waste, plastics, tyres
  • decrease waste materials being sent to landfill, including non-priority materials such as aggregates, textiles
  • increase the volume of materials reused, repurposed, repaired or recycled with improved value locally
  • promote the circular economy within their communities and increase local employment and economic activity.

Read about the projects that were awarded funding in Rounds 1 and 2.

The following costs are eligible for funding:

  • purchase of capital items (e.g. infrastructure or equipment) essential to the project
  • consultancy costs
  • project management and staff costs directly related to the project
  • marketing, advertising, promotional costs directly related to the project
  • purchase of vehicles (e.g. front-end loaders, forklifts) where equipment is integral for the project to occur, and council demonstrates they are unable to proceed with the project without funding for the vehicle.
  • further eligible business case development, market analysis, consultancy or contract work that has been identified in a completed feasibility or business case detailing next stages of work required.
  • pre-construction (site preparation) such as site clearing, earthworks or site accessibility works directly attributable to the project
  • leasing of equipment directly attributable and deemed essential to the project.

Projects must:

  • be located in and service Victoria
  • meet regulatory or planning requirements
  • be completed by 30 June 2024.

2.3 What will not be funded

Funding will not be provided for projects that

  • are being undertaken in order to comply with regulation or a regulatory notice or order
  • have received funding or support for the same activities from other sources
  • do not meet regulatory or planning requirements
  • are waste to Energy projects
  • are requests for retrospective funding, where projects are completed or have commenced installation at the time of submitting the application or before entering into a Funding Agreement with SV.

Note: project equipment may be ordered or purchased following receipt of notification of grant approval, and prior to signing a Funding Agreement with SV to accommodate shipping and delivery time and prevent delays in completing the project at the Applicant’s own risk.

The following costs are ineligible for funding:

  • Purchases of capital items (e.g. infrastructure or equipment) not directed related to or essential for the project.
  • Lease or purchase of land.
  • Permit, licensing, approval costs.
  • Routine or cyclical maintenance works.
  • Repair of facilities damaged by vandalism, fire or other natural disasters where damage should be covered by insurance.
  • Operating costs (e.g. electricity, water and other utilities).
  • Staff costs that are not 100% attributable to the project.
  • Purchase of vehicles (e.g. front-end loaders, forklifts) that are not 100% dedicated to the project.
  • Research, development and demonstration.
  • Leasing of equipment not directly attributable and essential to the project
  • Travel, conferences and other educational activities.
  • Contingency costs/allowances.
  • Projects that focus on activities eligible to be funded by other specific programs such as the Circular Economy Program initiatives: Kerbside Reform Package (DEECI), Asbestos Disposal (SV), Household Education and Behaviour Change (SV), Detox (SV), Regional Recycling Fund (DEECI), Container Deposit Scheme (DEECI).

3. Assessment process

3.1 Assessment criteria

The assessment panel will assess the application based on merit according to the criteria below.


Weighting: 30%

Demonstrate your project will meet the outcomes of the fund:

  • What is being delivered?
  • Which waste materials are being addressed?
  • How the project meets one or more of the fund objectives (refer to 1.1 above)?
  • By delivering an eligible project (refer to 2.2 above Eligible Project Types).


Weighting: 30%

  • Demonstrate the project is commercial, feasible and capable of being delivered: project plan - key activities and timeframes.
  • Risk management plan.
  • How the success of the project will be evaluated.
  • Budget demonstrating the project is financially viable, with adequate Co-contributions from Council for staff and costs.


Weighting: 20%

Applicants (and Project Partners/ Delivery Partners where applicable) must demonstrate ability to deliver the project:

  • capability (skills and knowledge)
  • capacity (resources)
  • experience.


Weighting: 20%

Describe why the project is needed:

  • Aligns with and delivers against Fund objectives.
  • Demonstrates a need for government support.
  • Demonstrates value for money.
  • Aligns to relevant Council and state government plans.

3.2 Diversity consideration

Sustainability Victoria may overlay rankings to achieve a mix of projects that represent:

  • a geographical spread across Victorian regions
  • a spread across municipality sizes, including a mix between regional and metropolitan applicants
  • a mix of project types across the three program objectives
  • A mix of materials types being addressed.

3.3 Due diligence checks

A risk-based approach will be used to assess the Applicant’s social, economic and environmental risks in relation to the project. This assessment will include the Applicant’s Related Entities and may include Project Partners and/or Delivery Partners (see Section 9: Program definitions).

Applicants (and their Related Entities and, if applicable, their Project Partners and/or Delivery Partners) must:

  • have had no Environmental, Safety or Workplace Breaches in the last five years or, if there was a breach, SV may assess that the Applicant’s breach poses a satisfactory level of risk
  • have not been the subject of an enforceable undertaking or successful litigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman for a breach of the Fair Work Act 2009 or a fair work instrument within the last five years
  • have adequate insurance as outlined in the funding agreement, such as:
    • Public liability $20M minimum
    • Professional indemnity $5M minimum (if required)
    • WorkCover
  • have not failed to satisfactorily progress or complete previous projects funded by SV within funding program timelines and without sufficient reason; and
  • manage any conflicts of interest adequately.

Assessment of satisfactory level of risk will include but not be limited to SV’s consideration of:

  • the seriousness of any finding/s
  • whether the finding/s has been resolved to the satisfaction of the relevant enforcement agency, or the Applicant can demonstrate it is working effectively to resolve the finding
  • the efforts made by the Applicant including implementation of management systems, to ensure no further finding/s occur, and
  • whether, since the finding, the Applicant has had a satisfactory level of compliance with relevant Environmental and Safety Laws and Workplace Laws.

SV may conduct due diligence checks on the Project Partners and/or Delivery Partners involved in the delivery of the project. The Applicant must ensure that any Project Partners and/or Delivery Partners agree to cooperate with this requirement and will provide information at SV’s request.

SV reserves the right not to award funding to applicants where the due diligence risk (including that of Project Partners and Delivery Partners) is unsatisfactory or not able to be managed.

4. Funding conditions

Successful applicants approved for funding must do the following:

4.1 Before starting the project

  • Participate in an inception meeting with SV to discuss project and funding agreement.
  • Agree to realistic evidence-based and performance-based milestone payments.
  • Provide SV with insurance certificates of currency.
  • Sign SV’s funding agreement within 60 days of approval.
  • Provide a project plan.
  • If you receive funding of more than $250,000, plan for capital works signage.

4.2 During and after the project

  • Deliver the project as outlined in the application and comply with the funding agreement.
  • Contribute to regular project progress updates or meetings.
  • Notify SV immediately about any delay or change to the project.
  • Provide update reports to SV at agreed milestones with evidence of expenditure, progress and performance.
  • Provide adequate monitoring and evaluation of the project according to the funding agreement.
  • Collect and release data to SV. SV may share or report on the data.
  • Contribute to the project’s promotional activities (for example, provide SV with support by reviewing and approving written stories or participating in videos)
  • Participate in and contribute to SV activities to distribute the findings to broader stakeholders (for example, SV council networking forum, government and industry opportunities)
  • Acknowledge that SV has contributed funding in all communications related to the project.

5. Timeline

Dates may change.

There is no date for the announcement of application outcomes. We will provide applicants with updates as much as possible and when necessary.

Applications open: 15 February 2023

Applications close: 11:59 pm 31 March 2023

Information session: 28 February 2023 – Round 3 guidelines

Information session: 8 March 2023 – Reuse (Tip) Shops

Notification of outcome: July 2023

Funding agreements established: July 2023 – August 2023

Project completed by: 30 June 2024.

6. How to apply

The grant program involves a competitive, merit-based application process.

Your application

  • Allow adequate time to plan, research, gather supporting documentation and draft your application.
  • As this is a competitive grant, we cannot review drafts or provide feedback.
  • You must use SmartyGrants to submit your application, unless you have written permission from SV. Take the time to set up your SmartyGrants account.

7. Assistance available

7.1 Information sessions

We hosted short online information sessions for Round 3 Circular Economy Councils Fund grant applications.

Round 3 Grant Application Information Session

Date: Tuesday 28 February 2023

Time: 10:30 to 11:30 am

Council reuse tip shops ideas and inspiration

Join your fellow Victorian Council colleagues to hear about council reuse (tip) shops, as speakers share their recent case studies and key learnings. Connect with others doing similar work, hear about new ideas and get inspired. Speakers will be announced soon.

Date: Wednesday 8 March 2023

Time: 11 am to 12:30 pm

7.2 Information bulletin

Answers to questions we received at our information sessions and via phone and email are published on our Information bulletin.

We only publish answers to questions that are not already covered in these grant guidelines.

7.3 Contact us

We cannot review drafts or provide feedback.

Phone: +61 3 8656 6757 Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.


In the subject line, use the grant name Circular Economy Councils Fund.

8. Why the Victorian Government is providing this funding

Recycling Victoria represents the Victorian Government’s action plan to reform our waste and recycling system over the next decade. Beyond recycling, this shift will ultimately transform Victoria’s economy.

This program sits under Goal 2 of the Recycling Victoria policy – ‘Use products for more value’. Under this goal, the Victorian government has committed to reducing total waste generation by 15 percent per capita between 2020 and 2030.

Our vision for Victoria is a Circular Economy where products are made to last and waste is avoided. A Circular Economy fosters innovation and invigorates existing businesses and creates new ones, delivering more jobs and growth for local, regional, state and global economies.

9. Definitions


The listed applicant for the purposes of an individual application responsible for all details in the submission of an application. The Applicant will be responsible for the contractual obligations of the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria if successful for grant funding.

Circular Economy

A Circular Economy is where waste is minimised and products and materials are kept circulating at their greatest value for as long as possible.

Four outcomes of a Circular Economy are:

  • reducing the use of virgin or non-renewable resources
  • maintaining the highest value of materials and products
  • transforming waste into reusable materials
  • reducing the environmental impact of production and consumption.


The applicant’s required financial or in-kind contribution to the total project income.

For Round 3, the co-contribution must be at least $1 from the council applicant, for every $5 of grant applied for.

Collaborative Partnership

A relationship established between a Lead Applicant and Project Partner for the purposes of meeting common project objectives and outcomes.

Collaborative Partnerships will need to be demonstrated by a formal agreement between the partners that outlines the governance, financial and intellectual property arrangements and roles and responsibilities of each party. A formal agreement must either be in place or be finalised before commencement of the project.

Delivery Partners

Organisation/s engaged by an Applicant/Lead Applicant to assist in the delivery of the project; including but not limited to product or equipment suppliers, consultants and contractors.

Direct Jobs

Actual new full-time positions created by your business. This can include training or upskilling of employees who would otherwise be made redundant through the implementation of your project.

Diverse Employees

The Circular Economy Councils Fund seeks to improve job opportunities for marginal groups, including jobseeker roles, indigenous, CALD and other diverse roles.

Environmental, Safety or Workplace Breach

An environmental or safety breach is any past or current prosecution, reportable incident, investigation, notice, penalty, warning, regulatory intervention or enforcement action from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Victorian WorkCover Authority (WorkSafe) or Fair Work or failure to comply with any environmental, safety and workplace laws.

Environmental and Safety Laws

Environmental and Safety Laws are the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, Environment Protection Act 1970 or any other legislation, regulation order, statute, by-law, ordinance or any other legislative or regulatory measure, code, standard or requirement relating to the protection and safety of persons or property or which regulate the environment including laws relating to land use planning, pollution of air or water, soil or groundwater contamination, chemicals, waste, the use, handling, storage or transport of dangerous goods or substances, greenhouse gas emissions, carbon trading, or any other aspect of protection of the environment.

Financial Contribution

Financial Co-contributions may include:

  • any costs associated with the construction/installation of a new asset or a renewal, expansion or upgrade of existing assets
  • procurement of materials and/or products

Round 3 Implementation grants require at least 50% of the Co-contribution to be financial (ie cash), and up to 50% In Kind

Full-Time Equivalent Employees (FTE)

The hours worked by one employee on a full-time basis.

Calculating FTE

The calculation is used to convert the hours worked by several part-time employees into the hours worked by full-time employees. For example, you have three employees working the following – 40, 40 and 20 hours per week, giving you 100 hours per week in total.

Assuming full-time hours are 40 hours per week, your full-time equivalent calculation is 100 hours divided by 40 hours which equals 2.5 FTE.

Indirect Jobs

Jobs created by other businesses that come into existence due to the economic growth of your business.

In-kind Contribution

An In-kind Contribution is a contribution of a good or a service other than money.

In-kind Contributions may include, but is not limited to:

  • staff time to manage project implementation (project management and installation costs that utilise existing internal resources)
  • time spent on project activities by volunteers (not paid employees of the organisation seeking funding)
  • donated goods or services related to the project.

The following activities cannot be considered In-kind Contributions:

  • Operating expenses that are not directly associated with delivering the project.
  • Opportunity costs such as staff ‘downtime’ during the installation of equipment or implementation of activities.

Stream 3 grants allow up to 50% of the applicant’s Co-contribution to be in-kind.

Lead Applicant

The listed applicant for the purposes of a Collaborative Partnership. The Lead Applicant will be responsible for all details in the submission of an application and the contractual obligations of the funding agreement with Sustainability Victoria if successful for grant funding.

The Lead Applicant is also responsible for managing the project outcomes and deliverables of the Collaborative Partnership.

Project Partner

Organisation/s in a Collaborative Partnership with a Lead Applicant that have a critical role in the project and a formal commitment to delivering the support required to ensure the project’s success.

This role might include the provision of venues, equipment, access to land, access to community networks or digital platforms, specialist expertise, strategic partnerships, dissemination of information or promotion of events or services

The role of Project Partners will need to be demonstrated by a formal agreement between relevant parties and will outline the roles and responsibilities of each party, such as governance, financial or intellectual property arrangements. A formal agreement must either be in place or be finalised before commencement of the project.

Related Person/s

Related Person means a director, officer, employee, agent, board member or contractor of the Applicant or a Related Entity.

Workplace Laws

Workplace laws are the Fair Work Act 2009, or any other legislation, regulation order, statute, by-law, ordinance or any other legislative or regulatory measure, code, standard or requirement relating to the provision of fair, relevant and enforceable minimum terms and conditions for all persons and to prevent discrimination against employees.

Contact us

We cannot review drafts or provide feedback.

In the subject line, use the grant name Circular Economy Councils Fund.