The Local Government Infrastructure Partnership Program has been established to support councils to accelerate spending on community infrastructure projects that contribute to the future economic growth of the region, or support the Government’s Growth State agenda, or improve local infrastructure facilities for businesses and community organisations to enable them to grow in the future, or upgrade key community facilities.
Under the program, the State Government will provide grants to councils for up to 50 per cent of the cost of approved infrastructure projects. Councils will fund the remaining 50 per cent either through their own reserves or borrowings. Infrastructure projects can include other funding partners, including the Commonwealth Government and/or local businesses. The total State Government contribution to the program is up to $100 million, and is expected to result in a total program of at least $200 million in infrastructure investment.
Grant payments will be made to eligible local councils in line with key project milestones and as agreed with local councils in grant agreements.
The program is being administered by the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF). DTF will consult with the Office for Local Government (OLG) in assessing proposals.
This document provides guidance for program applications on:
- Eligibility requirements;
- The submission process and required information;
- The assessment process; and
- Key dates.
The following are eligible to apply for Local Government Infrastructure Partnership Program support:
- Any council (as constituted under the Local Government Act 1999) can apply for program support.
- Two or more councils may jointly apply for a single or related group of projects located across council boundaries, provided that the respective financing contributions of each council is agreed and documented between the applicable councils and both councils have the necessary authorities.
- Councils may submit applications for more than one project.
To be eligible for funding:
- Proposed infrastructure projects must contribute to the future economic growth of the region; or support the Government’s Growth State agenda; or improve local infrastructure facilities for businesses and community organisations to enable them to grow in the future; or upgrade key community facilities.
Eligible infrastructure projects may include construction or major renewal, replacement or upgrades to community facilities including improved road access, energy, water and storm water infrastructure, tourism facilities, arts and cultural facilities (performance spaces, museums and galleries), the construction of affordable housing that supports attracting key workers, community centres (civic centres, libraries, lifelong learning facilities), early childhood and family support facilities (child care and preschool), education facilities, health facilities (community aged care, rehabilitation, primary care, private, diagnostics and screening), or sport and recreation (indoor and outdoor spaces and facilities including gyms, swimming pools, park infrastructure and walking and cycling paths).
- Proposed infrastructure projects must not be in the council’s 2020-21 budget with the exception of projects provisioned in the 2020-21 budget but where commencement is subject to the council sourcing additional funding. The contingent nature of the project needs to be clearly identified in council’s published budget. While projects funded during 2020-21 are ineligible, further stages of a development could be eligible where the council can demonstrate that the commencement of that stage is contingent on additional funding.
- Infrastructure funded through other State Government programs eg. through Recreation and Sport grants or through grants from the Planning and Development Fund are not eligible for funding under this program. Infrastructure currently funded from Commonwealth grants are also not eligible eg. a project already funded from local government and Commonwealth funding.
- Eligible projects can include contributions from third parties eg. from a sporting/community club towards an upgrade of the facilities or Commonwealth Government funding. The State Government’s contribution would be up to 50 per cent of the balance of the funding required once the third party contribution(s) is taken into account.
- Councils must demonstrate that the project expenditure will be in addition to existing expenditure plans and there is no offsetting reduction in planned other capital expenditure in 2020-21 and 2021-22 (this excludes capital expenditure that is planned but commencement is subject to sourcing additional project funding).
- Councils must be able to commence construction within 12 months of approval of the application for funding (i.e. be shovel ready, not commence the planning/design phase).
- Councils must maximise the use of local contractors during the construction phase.
- All other things being equal, councils that have supported ratepayers during COVID-19, including through the provision of rate rebates and reductions (as distinct from temporary postponement of rates), will be given preference.
- Projects must have a GST exclusive cost of at least $1 million. This amount may comprise, for example:
- a single project/program (e.g. a library, a single road segment);
- a group of different but related projects (e.g. redevelopment of community facilities clustered in a single location);
- a group of projects of a similar nature that can be packaged as a single program (e.g. small road projects in different sites within the local government area which require major periodic renewal).
In recognition of the practical difficulties faced by small regional councils in isolated areas, consideration will be given, on a case by case basis, to applications by those councils for projects with a GST exclusive cost of less than $1 million. Without ruling out assistance for other small regional councils, it is anticipated that this concession would be available only for small regional councils with an estimated resident population of less than 3000 and total rate revenue in 2019-20 of less than $4.5 million.
While there is no maximum project size, depending on the number of applications, the Treasurer may decline a project, seek staging of a project, or offer a lower grant to ensure more councils are able to participate in the program. Meeting the eligibility requirements does not guarantee that a project will receive funding under the program.
There is no required completion date for projects in recognition that the completion date could vary depending on the nature of the project. However, preference will be given to projects that can be completed within two years. Councils will also need to demonstrate that the project’s timeline reflects an efficient and timely delivery of the project. Regard will be given to councils that propose to stage/time projects in order to access required trades.
The following types of infrastructure projects will not be eligible for program support:
- Projects that are included in a council’s 2020-21 budget with the exception of projects provisioned in the 2020-21 budget but where commencement is subject to the Council sourcing additional funding. The contingent nature of the project needs to be clearly identified in council’s published budget.
- Projects that have commenced
- Projects that are for routine asset maintenance
- Projects, or parts of projects, relating to council administrative premises. Projects that include both community facilities as well as council administrative premises will only be eligible for that part that relates to the community facilities.
- Projects which largely result in commercial profits to private parties (e.g. construction of a retail shopping centre).
Assessment and approval
The Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF), in consultation with the OLG, will assess applications against the eligibility criteria. DTF and OLG may contact applicant council’s nominated contact officers for clarification on aspects of their submissions. Applications will be expected to provide a response in writing, or a copy of any additional documentation requested to DTF/OLG within a specified number of days.
Final decisions as to which projects will be supported through the program will be made by the Treasurer.
Applicants will be notified of final decisions by 19 March 2021.
Successful applicants will be required to sign a Grant Agreement with the Treasurer stipulating obligations of the applicant and the conditions under which assistance is given.
The Treasurer is not obliged to approve any application. Depending on the number of applications, meeting the eligibility requirements does not guarantee that a project will receive funding under the program.
The Treasurer may consider or accept (at the Treasurer’s sole discretion) any application at any time including without limitation a late application or the application of a council who has failed to submit an application in accordance with these guidelines.
No approval of an application, nor any notification to a council that its application is successful, nor any invitation to negotiate will be effective to constitute a contract or to create any legitimate expectation on the part of the application unless a formal written Grant Agreement is executed by both parties.
Where a proposed project is to be implemented by two or more councils, each participating council will sign the Grant Agreement.
How to Apply
Councils are required to submit an application using the Local Government Infrastructure Partnership Program application form. All questions in the application need to be completed to ensure timely assessment.
Councils will be required to provide:
- a business case of the proposed project, including
- demonstrating how the proposed project will contribute to the future economic growth of the region; or supports the Government’s Growth State agenda; or improves local infrastructure facilities for businesses and community organisations to enable them to grow into the future; or upgrades key community facilities
- cashflow projections for the construction phase and supporting documentation
- details of project financing
- a project delivery timetable that includes provision for necessary approvals and market approach (where applicable) to demonstrate that project construction will commence within 12 months of approval of the grant
- evidence that the proposed project expenditure will be in addition to existing expenditure plans and there is no offsetting reduction in planned other capital expenditure in 2020-21 and 2021-22 (i.e. that there will be a gross increase in capital expenditure due to program support)
- information on how the project will maximise employment for South Australian residents and an undertaking to maximise the use of local contractors during the construction phase
- where two or more councils are jointly applying, documentation supporting the agreed financing contributions of each council
- information on how council supported ratepayers during COVID-19 (eg through the provision of rate rebates or reductions)
- any other supporting project documentation as requested in the online application form.
Local Government Infrastructure Partnership Program grants will be provided to successful councils by DTF.
Potential applicants should note that information received in connection with an application may be used and communicated outside the Government of South Australia for due diligence purposes and may also be provided to the Australian Government and third parties engaged by DTF to assist with the assessment and processing of the applications received, together with program monitoring, reporting and evaluation purposes.
Applications close 29 January 2021.
Subsequent grant rounds
If the first grant round closing 29 January 2021 does not result in all funding under the grant program being allocated, DTF may hold a subsequent grant round during 2021. Further details on that grant round will be provided if required in due course.
Councils can contact DTF to discuss potential projects in relation to meeting the guidelines on LGinfrastructuregrants@sa.gov.au
DTF reserves the right to amend these guidelines and application terms as required.
Applicants should be aware that DTF is subject to certain legislative and administrative accountability and transparency requirements of the Australian Government and Government of South Australia, including public disclosure in accordance with Premier and Cabinet policy.
DTF will treat all information provided by applicants sensitively. Any information contained in, or relating to, an application, including information identified by an applicant as confidential, may be disclosed by DTF:
- to its employees, advisers or third-parties in order to assess and process an application;
- within the Government of South Australian or other entities where this serves the legitimate interest of DTF;
- in response to a request by a House or Committee of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia or South Australia;
- where information is authorised or permitted by law to be disclosed; and/or
- where the information is already in the public domain.