This information bulletin offers guidance on the application process for the Circular Economy Organics Sector Transformation Fund.
Correction in grant guidelines - Section 2.4 What will not be funded
Date updated: 26 October 2021
There has been a minor correction in the guidelines for section 2.4 What will not be funded.
We will be providing retrospective funding to projects that have a confirmed investment decision made on or later than 15 April 2021.
We held an information session on 4 November 2021 to present an overview of the program.
[Opening visual of slide with text saying ‘Please wait, your webinar will begin shortly’]
[The visuals during this webinar are of each speaker presenting in turn via video with reference to a PowerPoint presentation being played on screen]
Welcome everybody. Just to let you know we’ll be starting in a couple of minutes.
[Slide with text saying ‘Recycling Victoria’, ‘Organics Sector Transformation Fund’, ‘Information Session’, ‘Anna Calley’, ‘4 November 2021’, ‘Sustainability Victoria’]
Good morning everybody and welcome. Thank you for joining today’s information session for the Recycling Victoria Organics Sector Transformation Fund. For those of you I haven’t met before my name is Anna Calley and I’m the team lead for the Organics Market Development Team at Sustainability Victoria and I’ll be your host today.
Together with my colleague Andrew Dougall we are leading the design and delivery of this funding program. Also online with me today is Shannon Smyth, the Manager of the Markets Acceleration Team and Mitchell Watson, our Market Development Officer here at SV.
I’d like to begin today’s session with an acknowledgment of country. I honour and acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands where we each sit today. I am here on unceded Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung country and I pay my deep respects to Elders past and present. I also extend my respect and acknowledgment to the traditional custodians of the lands from which you are joining us today. I acknowledge that we all live and work on the lands of the world’s oldest and most sustainable culture. I acknowledge the deep connection to earth of First Nations people and their invaluable contributions to understanding our climate and the environment.
I’d like to now provide you with a quick overview of the session today and introduce my fellow presenters. First up we will have Paul Murfitt who is the Director of Industry and Infrastructure at Sustainability Victoria. Paul will be presenting an overview of the Recycling Victoria policy and the key commitments that sit under this funding program. We also have Peter Olah, the National Executive for AORA joining us today to provide an overview of the Australian Government’s Food Waste for Healthy Soil Fund. I will be presenting an overview of the RV Organics Sector Transformation Fund covering the key eligibility criteria, the assessment and application process and important dates. Following this David Hunter, the Manager of SV’s Infrastructure Investment Team will provide an outline of the investment services and application support offered by SV.
We ask that you hold your questions until the end of the session as we’re likely to answer a lot of your questions throughout the presentation. Once I’ve finished providing an overview of the fund we’ll open up the Chat box functions for questions which can be found at the top right hand side of your screen marked Q&A. In responding to your questions please note that we’ll only respond to question that relate directly to the application process or fund guidelines and eligibility. Project specific questions should be emailed to our Grants Enquiries team. And finally today’s session will be recorded and made available on our website.
And now I’ll hand over to Paul Murfitt, Director of Infrastructure Investment at Sustainability Victoria to provide an overview of the RV policy. Thanks Paul.
[Slide with text saying ‘Overview of Recycling Victoria: a new economy policy’, ‘Paul Murfitt’, ‘Recycling Victoria’, ‘A new economy’]
Thanks Anna. Good morning all and thanks for attending this morning. It looks like we’ve got a good turnout. And I hope you find the session instructive and helpful as you consider application to the RV Organics Sector Transformation Fund. My job here today is to give you a bit of an overview of the policy context for the fund that we’re presenting today as we join with the Commonwealth in opening up this funding stream for Victoria.
The next slide just gives us a bit of a high level sense of the Recycling Victoria policy. Now the Recycling Victoria policy really is the state’s circular economy policy. It’s a ten year action plan that’s seeking to deliver a cleaner and greener Victoria focusing on reducing waste and pollution, focusing on better recycling, more jobs and a stronger economy. The policy sets out these 3 headline aims being to transform our recycling sector, generate jobs and create a new economy based on the circular economy and really drive investment and innovation to reduce waste.
In our area we’re focused on providing insights and incentives to deliver on the clean economy and understandably investment is key to our success in driving the circular economy particularly with regard to resource recovery. We need to keep material circulating in the economy at their highest value without them ending up in landfill. So key to this is upgrading or building new processing infrastructure and our RV policy as we call it focuses on 7 priority materials across plastics, paper, cardboard, glass, organics, tyres and e-waste. In addressing these waste streams and implementing the incentives that we’ve designed such as this program we’re looking to be able to create more than 5,000 new jobs in Victoria but also to create high quality recycled products for use in major infrastructure projects, in manufacturing and in this case in agriculture.
SV’s got a significant role in providing these incentives and leveraging the necessary private investment to improve our resource recovery infrastructure and increase efficiency and productivity. And importantly we’re here to support and partner with investors who are pursuing the same sorts of goals as us through infrastructure. As you’ll hear a little bit more later in the session today we can assist and work with investors, help you navigate through the roles of local, state and Commonwealth governments and agencies and through the program application process.
The figure that’s on your screen at the moment really encapsulates the heart of the Recycling Victoria policy and underpins the goals that we have in the policy. The current critical issues we have in dealing with climate change and materials waste is created by the sort of take, make and waste linear thinking that’s really underpinning much of what we do in the economy at the moment. In seeking to transition that linear approach to a more circular approach we’ve got 4 goals that the policy is underpinned by including the first goal there design to last, repair and recycle. And goal 2 looks more at the use of products and creating more value from those products. We want to be recycling more resources and at the same time reducing harm from waste and pollution. So this circular representation demonstrates how we’re trying to join those goals together to increase the value of product in our economy.
While we’re focused at the moment on materials in this session or products such as organics we’re also through the circular economy looking to transition to 100% renewal energy resources as well to underpin and drive that circularity.
Importantly and I’ll go into just a couple of the programs that underpin this particular fund but our model is really trying to support not just more processing capacity but also innovation and greater productivity with the sorts of resources that we create through projects. Sorry. I’ll just go on to the next slide which is a snapshot of the goals and the targets that are driving the Recycling Victoria program. So we’re looking to divert 80% of waste from landfill by 2030, cutting the total waste generated per capita by 15% by the same date. Importantly for this program we’re looking to halve the volume of organic material going to landfill between 2020 and 2030 and as you’d be aware that’s the associated rollout of the food and organic waste recycling services also timed for 2030. So it is a decade long plan and there’s a significant focus on organics right throughout the plan.
So if I turn now to the next slide which looks at the 2 programs under the Recycling Victoria suite of programs. There’s over 20 programs in Recycling Victoria. SV delivers on the bulk of those. The first one’s the Markets Acceleration Program which is contributing to this fund.
The Markets Acceleration Program. I guess the key point to make here while it’s a $30 million package all up it’s targeted at delivering a number of outcomes across the value chain and the economy more broadly. It has got that focus on innovation. We also need to increase the confidence of use of recycled products and materials. So there’s programs designed to do that. Regulatory barriers are a focus and also getting more certainty to the sector in particular to be able to support that innovation.
I did want to point out that we do partner in delivering these programs with both the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and also EPA. We work collaboratively across the portfolio to try to get these outcomes secure. The next slide talks a bit about the roles of those various partners that we have in delivering the Markets Acceleration Program.
So here at SV we’re focusing on the delivery and research to underpin new product development and commercialisation so very much a program based focus. EPA understandably are focused on the regulatory environment and the barriers that may exist in the current system for the reuse of recycled materials and they’ll continually operate to build the policy environment around the delivery of RV. So it’s important and I’m sure it’s important to you as well that it’s not only the programs that get rolled out but that they’re supported by an appropriate regulatory environment and also has clear policy guidance from Vic Gov. And so we do work closely with our partners to that end.
In terms of the next slide we’re looking at it gives a bit more detail about the program inclusions in the Markets Acceleration Program. And as I said they’re focused around not just capacity in terms of processing but the whole value chain and looking to underpin a strong circular economy and in this case with regard to organics. Although a lot of the attention and drive for much of our activity under RV is driven by the current export bans that are rolling out over the next couple of years and have done to date. The Victorian policy is very clear about the priority of organics in Victoria as one of our key focus areas under the Markets Acceleration Program.
The second program I’ll quickly talk to is the Infrastructure Investment Development Package. So this is another program being delivered by Sustainability Victoria under Recycling Victoria. The next slide talks about its objectives but importantly I guess it’s about a $77 million investment focused on infrastructure and really supporting that increased capacity that we need to make better use of our current waste streams. We’re really focused in the Infrastructure Development Package on increasing the local capacity to reprocess the materials and when you bring together the Industry and Infrastructure Development Packages focused on processing and the Market Acceleration Packages focused on the broader value chain of products I think we’ve got a good basis here for achieving circularity. So we’re really keen to see this particular program address not just processing capacity but the quality of the product and the markets associated through other measures that we’re rolling out under the RV program.
The next slide does give you a bit more of an overview of the IIDP or the Industry and Infrastructure Development Package. It has a focus on hazardous waste, has a focus on those priority materials and also waste to energy. Importantly though we have joined with the Commonwealth on a number of funding streams to do with those export ban materials but now through this program also partnering with the Commonwealth on providing support for organics.
All right. So they’re the 2 key programs from the Recycling Victoria policy that are underpinning the offering that we’re putting out there at the moment. So I hope that provides you some context for the program we’re talking about today. Increasing the circularity of organics in our economy is a key priority for the Victorian Government. Really looking forward to working with you to achieve this outcome and hope you find the rest of the session helpful. So thanks for your attention and I’ll hand back to Anna. Thanks.
Wonderful. Thanks for that insightful overview Paul. It’s really great to have that broad policy context explained. I’ll now hand over to Peter Olah the National Executive of AORA to present on the Australian Government’s Food Waste for Healthy Soils. Welcome Peter.
Thank you Anna and thank you all for the opportunity to present. I hope you can all hear me.
[Slide with text saying ‘Recycling Victoria Organics Sector Transformation Fund’, ‘Information Session’, ‘Peter Olah’, ‘National Executive Officer, AORA’, ‘4 November 2021’]
Cool. Okay. I’m going to talk to you a little about the opportunity that exists, where the gap exists and how that’s reflected in the objectives of the Federal Government. And I do that because it’s important to bear in mind that when you go ahead and bid for this funding you are having to meet objectives that are roughly aligned but are not exactly the same at different levels of Government. And to maximise your chances of success you need to keep that in mind and try to address all of those to come up with a bid that’s a winner. Next slide please.
If I could just give you the context. If you have a look – and these figures are now 2 years old so I’ll give you just that rider before we get into this and they come from our industry economic contribution report. Just so you’re aware we are about to commence work on our next biennial version of this which will be released to AORA members early next year. So if you’re not a member join up so you can get the more up to date figures early in 2022. But if you have a look the national average recycling rate for organics as of 18-19 was just over 50%. Victoria in fact is the closest to the national average of all the states at just on 50%. But that’s a bit odd because Victoria is actually a relatively atypical state in the national context. There’s a much greater spread of different sizes of business from major global players down to small family companies and everything in between which actually gives Victoria and Victorian businesses an advantage in terms of scope and scale. Next slide please.
If you have a look at what’s on the table at 80% these are the economic gains that could be made if Victoria were to up its recycling rate for organics to 80%. So it’s pretty significant. And bear in mind this is additional to what’s already been contributed economically. And as you can see $44 million in wages, $247 million in the sales and near on $90 million in industry direct value add. Next slide.
And in environmental terms it’s close enough to half a million extra tonnes of greenhouse gases saved that is on the table if 80% target is hit in Victoria. Next slide.
This is probably the most important slide of all because this addresses the gap that both Victorian Government and the Federal Government are trying to help overcome. If you have a look at the line along the top, 70%, 80%, 90% and 95%, they’re the potential recycling rates nationally and in each state for organics. And what you’re seeing is the current capacity of the industry and what it shows is that Victoria has capacity of the industry to get to 70% but is a fair way from getting to 80%. What that says is that there’s a demand for significant new capacity to get to that 80% target. And given the 80% target is a 9 year target now coming down to 8 fairly soon that gap is a significant one that will need to be closed pretty urgently. And this fund is designed to address that gap. Next slide.
So that’s the big question. How do we get to that 80% by 2030? Next slide. And the immediate answer, the short to medium term answer is for Victoria the Recycling Victoria Organics Sector Transformation Fund together with the Federal Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund. Let me tell you about the Federal objectives which you will need to keep in mind in order to be successful. So $67 million. The target is clear. 80% by 2030. And it will achieve the sort of national figures around economic contribution and greenhouse contribution that I mentioned earlier. It’s a one for one for one fund. So it’s over $170 million of new investments should be unlocked. For those of you have experience with a previous Recycling Modernisation Fund which was for a number of different recycling streams especially those that were subject to export bans it’s a structurally similar funding model but for organics only. Next slide.
So as I said it’s one for one for one. So $57 million will go into the infrastructure part of the funding. It will be in 2 rounds. And this is important. Round one which is what we’re talking about here at the Federal level will close in December this year. And there are only 2 states confirmed involved at this stage, Victoria and New South Wales. As far as the other states go we know that Queensland won’t be involved. They’re targeting involvement in round 2 next year. It is potentially on the table for one or 2 of the small states to still join but it’s obviously becoming less and less likely as we get close to that December deadline. So the value here is you have the 2 big states involved and potentially no competitors from anywhere else in Australia for this first round only.
There’s another $10 million which is about the product itself and I need to stress that they use the terminology in a number of places for use on agricultural soils. Bear that in mind. The ag soil thing is a key driver of this for the Federal Government. And that will include education programs, product development and marketing, work on the Australian standards and on the Government procurement guidelines. Next slide.
From the Federal point of view there are a number of must haves and it’s in the Federal guidelines. There’s a ridiculous long address that you can get it at. It’s easier to search for Food Waste for Healthy Soils Guidelines. If you are considering bidding I strongly urge you to read those guidelines. And you’ll see in the approval process why you need to do that. But whatever you do bear in mind that these are the 5 must haves in terms of the Federal Government. Okay? So if you can’t tick these 5 whatever happens at the state level you’re unlikely to get an okay at the Federal level. So it needs to build processing capacity or improve product quality. So one or the other. If it does both fantastic. And it can be either a new or an existing facility.
It's got to be able to stand on its own legs economically. So if you can’t show a business case that this is a viable business you won’t get funded by the Federal Government. You need the support of your state Minister. So obviously you can’t go straight to the feds. You need to go through the state application process first. You can request – and this is interesting. They use a term up to one third of a project cost so I guess in theory you could request less for Commonwealth funding. I don’t know why you would. And whilst Victoria has its own sunset date in terms of when the thing must be operational the feds also have one which is a bit different which is that the facility must be commissioned and operational by June 2025. Next slide.
These are the 3 key outcomes that the Federal Government is looking for and I would argue that you must address one or more of these very explicitly in your proposal. If you don’t have it in your bid I think you’re going to struggle to get through the Federal stage of the approval process. So number one. Infrastructure. So it’s got to be infrastructure and it’s got to support diversion of organic waste from landfill.
It's got to increase the quantity and improve the quality. Now bear in mind that’s their terminology. So they’re looking for both, quantity and quality improvements and the safety and consistency. And the rider again especially for use in the ag industry. Now contextually only about a quarter of our industry’s product go to ag at the moment. So anything that you can do that addresses high quality product going to the ag industry really hits that target for the Federal Government so keep that in mind. And the third key Federal outcome is market development, so creating a stronger market demand. And they use the term high value and that’s deliberate. The Federal Government wants to drive the product away from a base commodity and up the value chain so that more and more of the product is specialised higher margin, higher value product. Now put that together with ag industry and you’ve got some pretty clear directions that the feds are looking towards.
Next slide please. So here’s the assessment process and here’s why you need to keep the Federal objectives in mind. So your application’s going to the Victorian Government in your case and the state Minister will assess those applications and forward those recommendations to a national panel with industry expertise. Now AORA has nominated a number of people to that panel. So the people making that assessment will have industry expertise and knowledge but will not be actively involved in the industry so as to avoid conflicts. And that national panel will make project funding recommendations to the Federal Minister for the Environment and the Federal Minister makes the final choice. So bear that in mind. You’ve got to come up with something that the Federal Minister and her staff will look at and comfortably say it meets their objectives.
You can pass the first 3 stages. If you don’t get a tick at that 4th you won’t get funded. So you are dealing with not competing but not entirely aligned objectives and you need to address all of them to be successful. Next slide.
So the timings. These are the Federal timings and as you can see it’s very tight and it’s very tight because the Federal announcement back in late September early October had a very tight timeframe which is the week before Christmas. The Victorian Government has given itself less than a month after the Victorian deadline to assess, prioritise and forward its preferred bids to the Federal Government. So the Victorian Government’s doing its part by giving you as much time as possible although it may not seem like it but the tightness of deadlines is driven by that initial deadline from the Federal Government of the 17th of December. Next slide.
That’s it from me. I strongly urge you to consider the gap that’s identified in our data to get to 80% and use some of that data to strengthen your bid. And I strongly urge you to consider the Federal objectives and address them alongside the Victorian objectives to maximise your chances of success. Happy to be contacted if you need any of our data or information to support your bid and best of luck to all of you. Thanks Anna.
[Closing visual of slide with text saying ‘Contact Information’, ‘Peter Olah’, ‘National Executive Officer’, ‘0458 404 898’, ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’, ‘www.aora.org.au’]
Wonderful. Thanks Peter for sharing your insights into the opportunities available and for providing some great insights into the funding that’s available from the Australian Government.
I’ll now provide a bit of an overview of SV’s RV Organics Sector Transformation Fund looking at the fund’s eligibility criteria, our assessment process, application process and some of the key dates. Following this we’ll open the floor up to questions.
So the Recycling Victoria Organics Sector Transformation Fund is a $10.2 million program that supports the diversion of organic waste from landfill, reduces contamination and improves the quality of recovered organic material. It’s now open to organic processing businesses and will focus on investment to build new or enhanced existing organic processing capacity and improve capability to remove contamination to produce a higher quality product.
The Victorian recycling organics sector is experiencing rapid growth as Peter spoke to before. Through the kerbside reforms and improved recovery of commercial and industrial waste there’s an increasing supply of organic waste and a need to use this waste productively. On top of this we know contamination is one of the biggest market barriers and understand that managing contamination risk is critical if markets are to be maintained and are able to absorb the recovery of organic waste expected to arise.
This funding along with the Australian Government’s presents the organics industry with an opportunity to explore more sophisticated infrastructure, to increase processing capacity and enhance decontamination capability in order to produce a high quality recycled organic product that meet end market demands.
Sustainability Victoria will be offering grants starting from $50,000. There will be no upper limit on the funding amounts requested. And whilst there’s no funding cap per project it’s important to note that Sustainability Victoria may offer partial funding for recommended projects.
And now as Peter mentioned through this fund applicants will also be considered for additional support from the Australian Government’s Food Waste for Healthy Soil Fund. So in applying for our RV Organics Sector Transformation Fund you’ll also be applying for the Commonwealth funding. There will be no additional application form required.
So who will be funded?
For the purposes of this grant program the term ‘organics’ or ‘organic’ refers to organic waste diverted from landfill. To apply for this grant you will either need to be producing or intend to produce a recycled organic product that is made from organic waste that would otherwise go to landfill and is safe to use on agricultural soil or show that you are value adding to a recycled organic product that is made from organic waste diverted from landfill to improve product quality and market demand. For the purposes of this program organic value adding refers to adding nutrients and other agronomic products to compost to create a tailored product. Some examples of this are combining manure or manure compost with garden organics or food compost to produce a blended product, adding lime or gypsum to other agronomic products to compost to produce a blended product tailored for individual farmers’ needs, and another example is removing contamination.
Eligible organisations must be able to confirm that their proposed project diverts organic waste that would otherwise go to landfill and produces products that can safely be used on soil. Eligible organisations include organic processing businesses such as commercial composting facilities both in vessel and open windrow and anaerobic digesters.
The grant is also open to local government and water corporations. It’s important to note for facilities processing biosolids, proposed projects must be able to demonstrate that they are also processing organic waste that has been diverted from landfill.
Applicants can also establish collaborative relationships with other organisations as required to support project delivery and maximise the project’s impact. Applications will need to clarify the nature of its relationship with other organisations and demonstrate commitments to the project.
On top of the eligibility requirements I’ve just spoken to the applicant must also have an existing facility located in Victoria or intend to build a facility in Victoria, have a current ABN with an operating history of a minimum 2 years, be registered for GST and not be insolvent and not have any owner or director who is an undischarged bankrupt.
So what will be funded?
This program will fund projects that build new or enhances existing organic processing infrastructure to either increase capacity or improve product quality through the installation of decontamination, infrastructure or the procurement of technical equipment such as product testing. Some examples of projects that may be funded include a new FOGO recycling facility with funding for construction of a building, purchase of sorting equipment, decontamination equipment, construction of yards to allow for composting, bagging equipment and storage space. Another example is upgrades to an existing facility to incorporate new contamination identification and removal. Another example would be new equipment purchases and installation including building modifications at an existing gardens organic recycling facility to accommodate food organics. And finally, equipment purchases and installation at existing anaerobic digestion facilities to integrate the creation of recycled organic products from digestate.
So in order to be eligible processing systems or facilities must recover at least 2,000 tonnes of organic waste per annum and we note that this is an additional eligibility requirement on top of what has been set in the Commonwealth funding.
Facilities must also produce products that can be safely used on soil. As Peter mentioned this is one of the key priorities of the Commonwealth funding that products are safe to use on agricultural soil. So it’s really important that any products produced meet this requirement.
Eligible projects must have commenced on or after the 15th of April 2021 and must be commissioned and operational by the 30th of March 2024. This is an important point to note as it’s SV’s usual practice to only support projects that have not commenced funding prior to signing a funding agreement with SV. However for this program we will be allowing projects that have commenced on or after the 15th of April to align with the Commonwealth funding program. For projects that have commenced prior to signing a funding agreement, those that can demonstrate how this funding will further enhance their project, that is expediate delivery or further increase the processing capacity of the facility will be favoured in the assessment process.
It's also important to note that if the applicant chooses to commence their project prior to a decision on their application they do so at their own risk. Sustainability Victoria will not be responsible for any expenditure incurred on a project if it’s not supported under the fund. And finally projects need to be economically viable over their operational life.
So project costs. In this funding we’ll look to fund project costs that are directly related to the project. These include capital costs such as infrastructure equipment, materials, new or existing staff costs that are demonstrated to be directly related to the project and project management costs.
So now we’ll look at what won’t be funded and who won’t be funded. Ineligible organisations are NGOs, research institutions including universities and community gardens.
What won’t be funded?
So projects that relate to the following waste management processes will not be funded. These include facilities that process mixed waste such as mixed waste outlook facilities and mechanical biological treatment facilities, infrastructure to facilitate the collection and redistribution of edible food waste to food waste charities, food waste disposal such as insinkerators and macerators, food dehydrators or similar onsite rapid food waste processing equipment, vehicles, waste collection services and transport, kitchen caddies, bags or bin liners and bins. And we’ll note that these waste management processes are consistent with what won’t be funded in the Commonwealth program.
Furthermore projects are ineligible for funding if they focus on materials other than organic waste diverted from landfill, do not meet the eligibility criteria of SV’s fund, relate to organic recycling systems processing less than 2,000 tonnes of organic waste per annum, are being undertaken in order to comply with regulation or a regulatory notice, do not meet regulatory or planning requirements, are subject to current industrial relations investigations or prosecution, have commenced construction of infrastructure before the 15th of April 2021, seek funding for research demonstration and development, do not clearly demonstrate a need for Government support and will not be commissioned and operational by the 30th of March 2024.
It's important to note as Peter mentioned our operational date is a bit earlier than that of the Commonwealth as that aligns with our Recycling Victoria policy funding. So for our program projects must be commissioned by the 30th of March 2024.
Please see our guidelines for further information on the eligibility criteria for projects and more detailed descriptions on any of the funding costs that we will and will not be funding.
So the Australian Government Food Waste for Healthy Soil Fund. Peter did a great job providing an overview on this fund so I won’t go into it in too much detail other than to say that the Recycling Victoria Organics Sector Transformation Fund has been designed to leverage Australian Government funding under the $57 million that’s been made available to states and territories. So in applying for our RV Organics Sector Transformation Fund you’ll also be applying for the Australian Government program.
A few additional points to note. Sustainability Victoria will be responsible for assessing applications and identifying suitable Victorian based projects to be considered for Commonwealth funding. Sustainability Victoria will complete the Australian Government application form on behalf of the applicant based on the information provided. Commonwealth funding must be at least matched by the applicant and Sustainability Victoria on a minimum one to one to one basis. Sustainability Victoria will be responsible for the provision of Commonwealth funds to industry partners.
Commonwealth funding will be contingent on projects gaining necessary regulatory and planning approvals required to proceed with construction. The same applies for Sustainability Victoria funding. And as Peter mentioned there’s 2 application intakes under the fund. To ensure Victorian applicants have the best chance of securing Commonwealth funding we’re targeting the first intake which closes on the 17th of December. A decision on these applications is expected from the Australian Government in March 2022. And finally a signed letter by an authorised representative of your organisation confirming the project is supported and the contribution made by the applicant will be required by the Australian Government. Sustainability Victoria will be in touch after the application process has closed and selected applicants have been chosen to seek these letters of support.
So co-contributions. As I mentioned Sustainability Victoria and the Australian Government funding must be at least matched by the applicant on a minimum one to one to one basis. In our application form on SmartyGrants the form will prepopulate the Australian Government contribution based on the amount requested from Sustainability Victoria.
Now if an application is deemed meritorious by Sustainability Victoria but not awarded Australian Government funding there may be an opportunity for Sustainability Victoria to consider funding this project on a minimum one to one ratio.
Co-contributions made by the applicant must be financial. That is cash. In-kind contributions cannot be included in your co-contribution. Other Government funding sources cannot be included in your co-contributions however it is permitted as a separate contribution to your project. Other Government funding must be disclosed in the application form.
So the assessment criteria.
The application assessment criteria is broken down into 4 key sections. What, who, why and how. It’s important to note that we’ve tried to align our assessment criteria and application form with the Commonwealth’s fund to streamline the process as much as possible. So under what you will be asked to demonstrate how the project meets the key objectives of the fund, demonstrate that the project is viable and investment ready with regards to the technology, equipment, funding sourcing, output capacity, landfill diversion and end markets. Under who we’re really wanting to see that your project team has the required skills and resources to deliver the project. If for example your organisation has experience delivering similar infrastructure projects we’d be looking for details on what these projects are and what were the project outcomes.
Under the how criteria applications will be assessed on how well the applicant has demonstrated viability to successfully deliver the project including financial viability demonstrated through a financial assessment and cost benefit analysis.
Under the why projects will be assessed on why the project is needed, why financial assistance is needed and what benefits the projects will provide and how it aligns to the priorities of the Government. Any statements should be supported by evidence where possible.
In terms of the need for Government financial assistance we recognise that there’s a conflict here in terms of the project needing to be viable and also demonstrating the need for financial assistance. The key here is to explain the potential outcomes with and without Government support. For example the impacts on capacity or delivery timing if financial assistance is provided.
The application assessment criteria is further detailed in the guidelines and I suggest downloading the application form from SmartyGrants so you can see the specific questions you need to answer under each criteria.
It’s also important to note that in addition to the scoring done to rank projects based on the assessment criteria the assessment panel may also overlay diversity considerations such as geographical spread across the state and project types.
So the assessment process.
I’d like to now go over a few key points regarding our assessment process. The first one is if your application does not meet the eligibility criteria it will not be accepted.
We will conduct due diligence checks, that is EPA, WorkSafe and financial on eligible applicants only. During these checks SV will look at any compliance issues, financial viability of the applicant, adequate insurances and any conflicts of interest and delivery history with Sustainability Victoria.
The financial viability checks require applicants to provide financial information to a contracted third party to undertake a financial risk assessment. This is a mandatory requirement regardless of the size and operating history of your business. This information is commercial in confidence and will not be shared with any other parties. The results of these checks informs part of the risk based assessment of the project. Given the tight timeframes in which we have to assess applications and submit to the Australian Government it’s extremely important that when engaged to provide this information it’s done quickly and as a matter of priority as we cannot begin our assessment without this information.
Eligible applicants will be assessed by the assessment panel against the merit criteria. If we have any clarification questions for applicants these will be noted and will trigger a clarification period. We will not be able to ask you for any new information. We can only seek clarification on information already provided. So please make sure your application is whole and complete. Any clarification questions will be emailed to you via SmartyGrants and you’ll have 2 business days to respond to any queries. This period is likely to commence in the week beginning on the 2nd of December.
Recommended projects will then be submitted by SV to the Australian Government for consideration in the Food Waste for Healthy Soil Fund. As I mentioned earlier we’ve designed our application form and assessment criteria in line with the requirements of the Australian Government to streamline the process as much as possible. And just reiterating the point that it will be SV who will complete and submit the application on behalf of the industry partner to the Australian Government.
Successful announcement by Sustainability Victoria will likely take place in May/June of 2022.
So how do I apply?
First things first is you need to check your eligibility to apply and that your project meets the assessment criteria. If you have any questions on eligibility please send an email to our Grants Enquiries team.
Next it’s really important to read and understand the terms and conditions, the terms of participation and the funding agreements. It’s important to note here that there will be little opportunity to revise the Ts and Cs as this is a state and federal agreement. Again if you have any questions or concerns relating to the Ts and Cs or funding agreement I encourage you to contact our Grants Enquiries team.
The next step is to register or logon to SmartyGrants to start your application. Applications must be completed and submitted by SmartyGrants by 11:59pm on Thursday the 18th of November. Incomplete or late applications cannot be accepted. The system will freeze your account at 11:59pm sharp. On submission you’ll receive an electronic reply from SmartyGrants. And again just want to reiterate if you need any support throughout this process please contact our Grants Enquiries team. Their email address and phone number is up on the screen now and it’s also available in our guidelines and on our website.
So key dates.
Again the key date to be aware of here is that the fund closes on Thursday the 18th of November. We know that these timelines for applications are incredibly tight in what is an extremely busy period for you after what has been an extremely stressful year. We’re doing everything we can to try and not only streamline the process but support you through the application process. I’m going to now hand over to David Hunter who’s the manager of our Infrastructure Investment Team who will talk through some of the personalised application support their team will be offering applicants.
Over to you David.
Thanks Anna. And hello to everybody that’s joined us today. Primarily this is a good opportunity for me to be able to introduce myself and I’m sure that I’ll be engaging with probably the majority of you over the next few weeks particularly given the very tight timeframes that we’re going to be working towards.
So unlike Anna and her team with the Grant Enquiries my team which is Sustainability Victoria’s Infrastructure Investment Team is there to support you with developing the arguments and the application itself.
The sort of information that we’re going to be able to assist you with is really looking at strengthening the argument that you have. The areas that Anna touched on previously around project scope, benefits, objective alignment, the financial, risk, location and plant and technology are all areas that we’re able to provide you with support. So the sort of support that we’ll provide is if you’re looking for guidance we’re happy to review your application and work with you. But we would suggest that you would do as much as possible on the application before reaching out to us.
Not just myself but also my colleagues unfortunately who aren’t with us today, Kieran O’Connor and Izo Lourival, will be available. And Anna I note that I don’t think we have our contact details here but if we’re able to share that with all attendees that would be great. We’ll also be able to connect you with the EPA and other regulatory bodies as required as part of the application process. So a pleasure to meet you all and I’m sure I’ll get to know you all over the next few weeks. Anna.
Thanks David. I really appreciate your support on this and I’m sure all the applicants will as well. So now I’ll just go over a few other key tips to keep in mind when you’re writing the application form. Ask questions and engage with our Grants Enquiries team or our Infrastructure Investment Services support early. Submit only when you’re certain that everything is done and complete.
The word limit will be enforced so it’s important that you watch the word count in the answer box and ensure you do not go over the assigned word limit. When the word limit is reached the count will turn to red. It’s important to note this as you will not be able to progress to the next page if you have exceeded the word limit. This enforced word limit might come as a surprise to some people because this is not something that we’ve previously enforced so just wanted to make sure that everyone’s aware of that now.
Only include necessary information and don’t duplicate information throughout the form. One of the key reasons that applications don’t score highly is because evidence is not provided to back up their claims. Make sure you demonstrate your project with evidence. The top tip is to write clearly and simply. Make sure any figures you use are consistent throughout the answers. Remember CASH when formulating your response. That is be clear and consistent, be as accurate as possible, be succinct at all times and be honest. And finally complete insurance and related entity details ahead of time as mamy leave this to the end and run out of time. If you don’t have these details yet provide an explanation in the relevant section of the application form.
So I’d like to now address some frequently asked questions and we’ll also be opening up the Q&A function which can be found on the top right hand side of your screen marked ‘Q&A’. So if you do have a question that has not been addressed during the presentation we invite you to put your questions into the Chat now. The questions will be moderated by Andrew and you may receive a direct written response or your question may be shared and answered by one of our presenters. Any questions we can’t answer today will be responded to in writing and will appear in the bulletin on our Funds web page. In responding to your questions again please note that we’ll only respond to questions that relate directly to the application process or fund guidelines and eligibility. Please direct any project specific questions to our Grants Enquiries team the details of which can be found in our guidelines and website.
So some of the frequently asked questions we’ve had are:
Q: The application window is tight. Is there any scope for extensions?
Unfortunately no as we’re working to the timeline set by the Australian Government. Applications will close at 11:59pm sharp on Thursday the 18th of November. As I said earlier we do understand that these timelines are incredibly tight in what’s your busy operating season so if you are interested in applying and need support completing your application form we strongly encourage you to reach out to David Hunter’s team the details of which can be found in our guidelines and on our website.
So the second question we’ve been asked quite a bit is:
Q: How will the $10 million from the Australian Government’s Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund be allocated?
So as Peter spoke to before the Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund is a $67 million initiative. $57 million of that has been allocated to states for investment and infrastructure to improve organic product quality or increase processing capacity. The remaining $10 million will be delivered by the Australian Government via a separate program that will work to ensure the quality, consistency and safety of recycled organic products for use on agricultural soils. This funding has not been allocated to states and territories for distribution. For more information on how this will be spent please contact the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment or refer to the Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund web page.
Q: Why has a 2,000 tonnes per annum limit been set on infrastructure?
Our program at Sustainability Victoria is focusing on state significant projects and infrastructure that will target and leverage impact in line with larger policy goals. Sustainability Victoria has other programs available that look to fund smaller scale and also community led projects. If any of these are of interest to you we encourage you to visit our SV Grant web page.
And finally the 4th question is:
Q: Will there be another round of funding targeting the second intake of the Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund?
At this stage there’s no committed allocation of funding for round 2. This will likely depend on the outcomes and the funding that is available after round one. If round one is fully subscribed it’s possible that we’ll not have funding left over for a second round. Given this we really encourage those that are interested to apply for this round of funding.
I’ll now hand over to Andrew to share some of the questions that have been asked in the Q&A box. I’ll also note that if we are unable to answer a question live today we’ll take that question on notice and respond following the event via the online information bulletin.
Thank you Anna. We have a few questions there. I’ve answered one of them and that’s about the Information Session, whether the slides will be available. So a video of the session that’s been sub-titled will be available on our Grants page as soon as possible, probably within a week. The second question that I’ll ask and it’s probably a question for Peter Olah, it says:
Q: Thanks team. Great presentation. Can you please provide some clarity on the $10 million education and knowledge fund? What is the criteria? What are the timeframes?
Peter are you able to answer that?
The short answer is I don’t know and I don’t know. The criteria are broader. They’re not about infrastructure. They are about system and process improvement, market development and things like that. So it is more about the context in which the industry operates rather than individual facilities. But there isn’t a formal process that I’m aware of. So I suspect that the Federal Government will be receiving a lot of market led proposals aimed at some of that $10 million.
The other aspect I should say is that it’s also not governed by the one for one for one funding model. So in theory a project that meets some of those Federal requirements could be fully funded from that $10 million.
Okay. Thanks Peter. There’s another question here from Anonymous and it says:
Q: Can you please explain the definition of economically viable? Would an economically viable project with funding but not without the funding be eligible?
Shannon or Anna you might like to answer that.
Thanks Andrew. That might be one that we would need to receive a written request on I would suggest. So David may be able to allude to a little bit more in relation to financial viability of projects. The query there in relation to the funding obviously in some cases – I was muted there. Apologies.
I think that that question we would have to take on a case by case basis and be happy to work with individual applicants to assist them with their financial viability. But if there could be more clarity in relation to the question that would also assist.
Okay. There’s quite a few questions here so I’m working through them as best I can. There’s a question here.
Q: Could you please provide some clarification on what mechanical biological treatment is referring to?
So I’ll answer and then the second part of the question is:
Q: Is in-vessel aerobic fermentation process eligible for this application?
So the second part of that question we’ll answer in writing. It’s more of a project related question. However mechanical biological treatment, the acronym for that is MVT. It refers to the composting of mixed organic waste that’s mixed with other municipal waste and it produces a product that can be heavily contaminated. We don’t have any systems like that in Victoria.
I’ve just got a lot going on around me here.
Okay. I’ll publish that one.
Q: Which Victorian Minister needs to provide written support? What if the Minister can’t respond before the application to request of support?
And that might be a question for you Shannon again. I’ll re-read the question.
Q: Which Victorian Minister needs to provide the written support? What if the Minister can’t respond before the application to the request of support?
So I think the question is what if the Minister can’t provide the written support?
Yeah. It’s a good question and one that as part of our rating process for successful projects we’d be seeking the Minister for Environment, Lily D’Ambrosio will be writing and providing that letter of support. Essentially it will be a summary of the projects that we’re recommending on behalf of the Victorian Government that she would sign off on and provide that letter to the Department of Ag, Water and Environment. Those timelines have been discussed with the Minister’s office and we’ll work through that briefing and ensuring that that letter is submitted by the December 17th deadline.
Okay. Thank you Shannon.
There’s another question here that I’ve just published.
Q: Is there scope to apply for a smaller project in round one then apply for an expanded version of the project in round 2?
That’s quite a good question. Anna are you able to answer that question?
Anna just messaged me and said she’s having trouble hearing us. Perhaps Shannon you could answer that question.
I wouldn’t see there being an issue of applying with a smaller one. And again I guess the key aspect in that is predicated on whether there would be a round 2. I think important to acknowledge that although the Department have flagged 2 rounds we are obviously targeting round one. We have an allocation of funding that’s available now to the value of $10 million as flagged in the funding package announcement. If that funding is fully subscribed we may not have additional funding made available for round 2 so my advice would be to pursue the largest sort of scale application you can for the round one intake if possible. Again flagging there may be potential future funding opportunities but there’s nothing sort of committed to at this stage in relation to round 2 and that will likely be a decision predicated on the response that we have to round one Andrew.
Okay. Thanks Shannon. There’s a question here about the 2,000 tonne limit which is quite a good question. I’ll just publish that.
I’ll publish that. Just bear with me.
Q: For the 2,000 tonne limit can you confirm if this is in relation to inputs or outputs?
I can answer that. It’s related to inputs, the amount of tonnage you process.
There’s some project related ones there I can’t answer but we will answer in writing.
It’s the same question. There’s a question asked 3 times. I’ll publish that. It’s one we might have to take on notice.
Sorry Andrew. Can you repeat that? I’m actually having a bit of technical issues and so finding it hard to hear.
That’s okay Anna. Shannon and I have been able to answer some. But there’s a question here which we probably have to take on notice. It’s a very good question.
Q: At what stage date does our company board need to state their conceptual versus practical commencement of organics recycling project? I’m concerned about SV’s criteria for the date of investment decision and how, eg letter of support from the board. Thanks kindly. From Helen.
Would you like me to re-read that one?
Okay. I can’t hear anybody.
Is anybody there? Any of my other colleagues still there?
Still here but can’t help on that question.
I think we’ll have to take that one on notice and provide a written response.
Yep. Okay. Thank you David.
So I think everyone can hear me and David can hear me.
That’s a project related question. So just reminding everybody that any project related questions we’ll answer in writing.
Okay. There’s a question here from Anonymous.
Q: Does this need to be large enough for EPA approval to apply?
Anna would you like to answer that question? I think to re-paraphrase the question the question would be do you have to be large enough to be an EPA licenced facility to apply?
I’m not sure if Anna can hear us but the criteria states that there’s a minimum 2,000 tonnes required. I think whether or not that triggers an EPA registration that is not central to the application at all as long as the tonnage requirement is met.
Okay. Thank you David. Look I’m just looking at all of the other questions there, quite possibly project related questions. Yes. Here’s one. Someone picked up the typo. Key dates say applications open 23rd of November. They actually opened 23rd of October. So thank you for picking up that typo.
I’ll just go through the published ones here.
Okay. I think the majority of the questions are either project related or ones we’ll have to take on notice. And rest assured they’ll be published on our Grants page as soon as possible and you can see them there. Anna unless we have any other questions that we can answer now we might draw it to a close.
Perfect. Just in time as I got my internet working again. Apologies everybody for that and thank you to my team for answering those questions.
Anna I was just saying that the majority of the questions that are left are either project related or ones we’d probably have to consider and take on notice and answer them on the Grants page.
Perfect. That’s fine. And we’ll make sure that we do have responses to everybody. And those that are related to eligibility criteria we’ll make publicly available on our information bulletin and those that are project specific responses will be received through our Grants Enquiries team.
So thank you everybody for attending today’s information session and for all your excellent questions and for the presenters who joined us today. As I said questions that we have taken on notice will be covered in our information bulletin and this link will be shared with all of those that have registered today.
Final reminder that applications are due on Thursday the 18th of November at midnight. Information on our Investment and Application Support and our Grants Enquiries are up on the screen right now so if you do need any support in your application or have questions around your project’s eligibility we really encourage you to reach out to these teams.
And finally the session was recorded and we’ll make this recording available. And we look forward to receiving your applications. And that’s it from us today. So I hope everyone has a great day and good luck writing your applications.
Thanks Anna. Thanks everyone.
[Closing visual of slide with text saying ‘Sustainability Victoria’, ‘Thank you’, ‘General grant enquiries’, ‘Grants Support Representative’, ‘1300 363 744’, ‘email@example.com’, ‘Investment & application support:’, ‘Infrastructure Investment Services’, ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’]
[End of Transcript]
How will the $10 million from the Australian Government Food Waste for Healthy Soils be allocated?
The Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund is a $67 million dollar initiative that aims to support the diversion of household and commercial organic waste from landfill to soils. Of this, $57 million has been allocated to the states and territories for investments that improve recycled organics product quality and increase processing capacity.
The remaining $10 million dollars will be delivered by the Australian Government via a separate program that will support work to ensure the quality, consistency and safety of recycled organics products for use on agricultural soils. This funding has not been allocated to the states and territories for distribution. For more information on how this program will be delivered please contact the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment or refer to the Food Waste for Healthy Soil Fund.
At what stage / date does our Company Board need to state their conceptual versus practical commencement of organics recycling project?
Sustainability Victoria will consider projects that have commenced on or after 15 April 2021. For projects that have commenced prior to signing a funding agreement, those that can demonstrate how this funding will further enhance their project, that is expediate delivery or further increase the processing capacity of the facility will be favoured in the assessment process.
If the applicant chooses to commence their project prior to a decision on their application, they do so at their own risk. Sustainability Victoria will not be responsible for any expenditure incurred on a project if it’s not supported under the fund.
Do you need to be large enough to be an EPA licenced facility to apply?
To be eligible for funding facilities must process 2,000 tonnes per annum (or more) of organic waste. Whether an application triggers an EPA registration is not central to the application, however all projects must meet regulatory or planning requirements.
Is in-vessel aerobic fermentation process eligible for this application?
Yes, in-vessel aerobic fermentation processes will be eligible for funding under the Recycling Victoria Organics Sector Transformation Fund.
Why is there a limit on capacity to process greater than 2000 tonnes per annum?
This program is focusing of state significant projects and infrastructure that will target and leverage impact in line with the larger Recycling Victoria Policy goals.
Sustainability Victoria has other programs available that look to fund smaller-scale and community-led projects. If these are of interest to you, we encourage you to view our grants.
Is the 2000 tonnes per annum processing capacity additional to existing processing capacity or does the facility just need to be able to process a minimum 2000 tonnes per annum?
The 2,000 tonnes per annum processing minimum does not need to be additional to the facilities existing processing capacity. If a project is seeking funding for product quality improvements only, no additional processing capacity increases are required so long as the exiting processing capacity of the facility is 2,000 tonnes per annum or greater.
Does the 2,000 tonnes per annum processing limit apply to the facilities inputs or outputs?
The 2000 tonnes per annum requirement relates to inputs and refers to the tonnes of organic waste processed at your facility each year.
Do feedstocks need to be secured at the 2,000 tonnes per annum volume prior to applying?
No, feedstock streams do not need to be secured before applying for the funding program however applications must clearly demonstrate where these feedstocks will be coming from, and how they will be secured (for example, contract or MOU). Projects that demonstrate secured feedstocks will be considered lower risk in the assessment process.
If a project is seeking funding to depackage and sort organic supermarket waste to then supply to composting & Anaerobic Digestion facilities, is that eligible?
No, projects that relate to the depackaging or sorting of organic waste are not eligible for funding under the Recycling Victoria Organics Sector Transformation Fund.
For the project input, will organic waste diverted from landfill mixed with other types of organics (for example, cow manure or fishery waste) be considered?
Yes, feedstocks that are mixed with other waste will be considered. However, projects that have organics diverted from landfill as the primary feedstock are more aligned with the intent of the fund.
If we're keen to invest in a facility style project, can the company's contribution be on plant and equipment that won't be funded specifically (for example, food dehydrators or waste collection services)?
As per the guidelines projects that relate to food dehydrators and waste collections services will not be eligible for funding under the Recycling Victoria Organics Sector Transformation Fund or the Australian government’s Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund.
The guidelines state that funding will not be provided for projects to comply with regulation. Can you please define what this means?
The funding will not support projects with the primary intention to enable an organisation to be compliant with regulations or laws. The project should address the objectives of the fund.
What does mechanical biological treatment refer to?
Mechanical biological treatment (MBT) refers to the composting of mixed organic waste and it produces a product that can be heavily contaminated.
Mixed waste organic outputs (MWOO) and mechanical biological treatment facilities are not eligible for funding under the Recycling Victoria Organics Sector Transformation fund or the Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund as they are not consistent with governments’ commitments to standardise kerbside source-separated Food Organics and Garden Organics systems. Facilities supported under these funds must process source-separated organics.
Please explain the definition on "economically viable”. Will an "economical viable" project with funding but not without funding be eligible?
A project is economically viable if the economic benefits of the project exceed its economic costs, when analysed for society as a whole. The economic costs of the project are not the same as its financial costs—externalities and environmental impacts should be considered.
The main method for assessment of economic viability of a project is a Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA). Costs and benefits are expressed as far as possible in monetary terms so that they can be compared on an equal level. A project is assessed as economically viable if the project benefits exceed the project costs. The revenue a project will generate is usually a lower-bound estimate of its economic benefits; however, benefits can be much higher than revenues.
A project that is economically viable with funding but not without funding will be eligible for funding.
What is meant by commercial viability?
Commercial viability is different to that of Economic Viability and can be defined as follows: Commercially viable means profitable, either without subsidies or with reliable, long-term subsidies.
Assessing Commercial viability involves financial analysis—that is, building a project financial model and checking project cash flows, returns, and financial robustness. Where revenue exceeds costs and yield sufficient returns to remunerate capital, the project will generally be commercially attractive provided risks are reasonable. Where revenues are not at this level, government can use the financial model to assess the need for financial contribution to the project and to ensure the project will remain viable once contributions have been factored in.
Which Victorian Minister needs to provide the written support for the Australian Government Food Waste for Healthy Soil Fund?
The Minister for Environment Lily D'Ambrosio will be providing a letter of written support to the Australian Government recommending the selected Victorian projects for the Food Waste for Healthy Soil Fund. Sustainability Victoria will be responsible for liaising with the Minsters Office on behalf of Industry Applicants.
Does industry apply to Sustainability Victoria via SmartyGrants and then if successful, Sustainability Victoria will apply to Australia Government’s Food Waste for Healthy Soil fund?
Yes, that is correct. The application process is as follows:
Is there scope to apply for a smaller project in round 1, then apply for an expanded version of the project in round 2?
There is technically no issue in applying for a small project under round 1 (so long as it processes 2,000 tonnes per annum or more).
However, at this stage there is no committed allocation of funding for round 2. This will likely depend on the outcomes and the funding that is available after round 1. If round 1 is fully subscribed, there may be no additional funding for round 2.
Please provide details for the Australian Government Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund?
Visit the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment for more information about Australian Government Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund.