Grants Program 2021-22

Colac Otway Shire’s Grants Program provides an opportunity for a wide range of organisations and businesses to share in funding for a variety of projects and events within the Colac Otway Shire. 

A total pool of $311,500 is available for the 2021-22 Grants Program.

Sixty-five community groups, event organisers and businesses across Colac Otway Shire will share in $243,217 through grants awarded at the Council meeting on 24 June 2021.  For details of the grant recipients, view 'Successful Applications 2021-2022'. 

The remaining funds $68,283 will be available for Round 2 applications until the funds have been exhausted or 30 April 2022.

Contact the Grants Officer to discuss your proposal and for details on how to apply.


Colac Otway Shire Grants Program 2021-2022 offered five funding categories:

Category 1 Community Grants Program

Funding available

$2,001 - $10,000

A matching contribution of cash or in-kind on a $1 for $1 basis is required.

Who can apply

Community organisations, Progress Associations, Sports club, Service Clubs

Refer to Guidelines Pages 4 and 14


Category 2 Community Events & Support

Funding available

Established events

$5,000 maximum

Start-up or one-off events

$2,000 maximum

COPACC hire assistance on standard venue hire

50% of standard room hire costs, up to $5,000 max.

Refer to guidelines for specific details


A matching contribution of cash or in-kind on a $1 for $1 basis is required.

Who can apply

A community group or commercial Event Organiser who will hold the event in the Colac Otway Shire.

Groups and associations affiliated with schools can apply for eligible events that provide a broad community benefit. 

Schools may apply for COPACC Hire Assistance. Schools are not eligible to apply for any other funding category.


Category 2a Major 'Community Organised' Events

Funding Available

Up to $10,000

A matching contribution of cash or in-kind on a $1 for $1 basis is required

Who can apply

Community groups who organise an event of regional significance.  

Commercial event organisers are not eligible to apply for this Category.

Specific criteria apply to this Category. 

Applicants must discuss the event with the Grants Officer to ensure it meets the eligibility criteria prior to applying, and to save you time from applying for the wrong category. 


Category 3 Small Grants

Funding Available

$200 - $2,000

A matching contribution of cash or in-kind on a $1 for $1 basis is required

Equipment purchases require $1 for $1 matching cash contribution. Use of the equipment is not considered as in-kind.   

In-kind contributions should be calculated from activities that directly contribute to the delivery of the project. 

 Who can apply

 Community organisations, Progress Associations, Sports Clubs and Service Clubs

Refer to Guidelines Pages 4 and 17


Category 4 Building Facade Improvement Program

Funding Available

Up to $3,000

A matching contribution of cash or in-kind on a $1 for $1 basis is required.

Who can apply

Businesses that have street frontage and are located in the commercial retail area of towns within the Colac Otway Shire.


Category 5 Small Business Environmental Sustainability Program

Funding Available

Up to $5,000

A matching contribution of cash or in-kind on a $1 for $1 basis is required

Who can apply

 Small businesses located in the Colac Otway Shire, with an annual aggregated turnover of less than $10 million.



All applications required a matching contribution of cash or in-kind on a $1 for $1 basis.

Applicants may submit one application per funding round.  

Further information

Contact the Grants Officer if you have any queries: 

Phone     5232 9400


Guidelines 2021-22

The guidelines(PDF, 376KB) will provide details of the funding categories, eligibility, types of activities which may or may not be funded, how to apply, assessment criteria and conditions.

It is recommended that you read the Guidelines prior to starting your application.

Some changes to the 2021 - 22 guidelines have been made from previous years, and a summary of the of the changes is provided in the table below.





Remove from - Category 1 Community Grants

Add to - Category 3 Small Grants

Workshops, training or programs for volunteer members’ 

Provide clarification that applications of this nature should be to Category 3.




Add to - Category 1 Community Grants

Add to - Category 3 Small Grants

Consumable items (eg: sports balls, uniforms) that do not provide long term asset improvements cannot be funded as membership fees should provide for consumable items.

An application for consumables may be considered if a club is under severe financial hardship, requesting one-off funding.

The grants program objective is to support long term infrastructure improvements and equipment purchases. 

Addition to provide clarification on eligible expenditure.


Add to - Category 2 Community Events & Support

Workshops, training or programs for the general public.

Provide clarification on suitable Category for these types of activities.



Add to - Category 2 Community Events & Support

Increase assessment score weighting of events that include environmental waste initiatives to address waste reduction.

Prioritise event applications that address environmental waste initiatives or run waste free events.



Add to - Category 3 Small Grants

Minimum grant $200 up to maximum $2,000.

Specify a minimum grant amount.




Add to - Category 3 Small Grants

Equipment purchases will require a $1 for $1 matching cash contribution.

Use of the equipment is not considered as In-kind.

Eligible In-kind contribution may be considered where the equipment purchase is part of a program or an element of a larger project. 

Provide clarification re cash contribution required for equipment purchases.





In-kind contribution should be calculated from activities that directly contribute to the delivery of the project or event.

Activities undertaken prior to the project or event are not eligible.

Ineligible for In-kind contribution:

  • Research, planning and application writing (undertaken prior to the commencement of the project/event).
  • Official opening.
  • Fundraising activities for a project or event. These should be completed prior to the application.
  • Applicant’s core operational maintenance (eg: Reserve or Public Hall grounds maintenance).


    Eligible for in-kind will include:

  • Project administration (Cat 1 & 3)
  • Project management (Cat 1 & 3)
  • Event Management (Cat 2 & 2a) non-commercial event organisers.
  • General maintenance directly related to the project (eg: replacement of roof, painting, floor resurfacing, repair roof to enable solar installation).

The In-kind value must reflect the actual volunteer hours contributed to the project, and calculated with the provisional hourly rates in the Guidelines. 

Provide clarification of eligible in-kind.


Applicant organisation must be located within the Colac Otway Shire. An exception applies to Category 2 Commercial Event Organisers

Clarify Eligibility




Canvassing or lobbying of Councillors, Council employees or members of the Assessment Panel is strictly prohibited.

Colac Otway Shire reserves the right to reject any application that does not meet the eligibility criteria.

Elected members (Councillors) and employees (staff):

  • Are not permitted to apply to the Colac Otway Shire Grants Program.
  • Any Council officer that assists with an application must be declared in the application, noting guidance and advice for grant applicants is available through the Grants Officer.
  • Must not be named in an application for the grant other than in the declaration.
  • Must not initial or sign an application form or funding contract for the grant programs.
  • Must declare any conflict of interest with a grant application, and must remove themselves from any role in the assessment and approval process.
  • Must not profit in any way from the grant programs or the activities that they are funding.


Clarification on eligibility and conflict of interest


Improved guidelines to reduce audit risk to Colac Otway Shire.



Applicants are strongly encouraged to use local trades and suppliers located within the Colac Otway Shire.

Prioritise applications that use local trades and suppliers.

The assessment scores will reflect the use of local suppliers.



A regionally significant event would attract a minimum of 3,000 – 5,000 attendees, with the aim to increase visitation from outside of the local area in off peak periods.

Provide clarification for eligibility for Category 2A Major ‘Community Organised’ Events. 


What will not be funded?

Monetary prizes

Add to items that will not be funded.




Add - Category 5 Small Business Environmental Sustainability Program

Projects which receive subsidies from other agencies or the State or Federal Government will not be funded eg: Solar panels and batteries.



Addition of new Category 5

Add to Category 5 ‘What will not be funded’.


Community groups and clubs will continue to be eligible to apply under Category 1.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions

If you can’t find the information you need in either the program guidelines or on this page, please contact the Grants Officer from 8:30am to 5:00pm weekdays or email 

1. Can I submit more than one application?

 No. Only one application per organisation, per round should be submitted and will be considered. You may however partner on more than one application.  

If your organisation is incorporated, you may also be an Auspice for an unincorporated organisation, thereby enabling them to apply.

2. Can an unincorporated organisation apply for funding?

If your organisation is not incorporated or another form of legal entity, you must arrange for a legally constituted organisation to manage the grant funds.  The Auspice organisation must provide a letter of consent which must be included with your application.

The Auspice organisation may also submit an application in their own organisation’s name, for their own project.

3. Can I apply for funding for a project that has already started?

No. Applications that seek funding for projects which have already started will not be considered.

4. Do we need to contribute funding to the project?

You are required to make a cash or in-kind contribution to your project, on a dollar for dollar basis.  This helps to show that your project is a high priority for your organisation and to demonstrate value for money for Council by increasing the amount of funding available to your project. 

5. I haven’t used an online application before. What help is available for me?

The Council uses an online application system to accept grant applications. When you click the ‘Apply now’ link on the Colac Otway Shire Grants Program page on our website, you will be directed to a page where you will need to register to use the SmartyGrants system. (the Apply Now link will be active at 9.00am on 9 March 2021)

If you experience any technical difficulties while writing, saving or submitting your application, please contact SmartyGrants Support by phone 03 9320 6888 or email 

6. When do applications open and close? 

Applications open at 9.00am on 9 March 2021 and will close at 5.00pm on Friday 9 April 2021, via the SmartyGrants system. Applications will not be accepted before or after this timeframe.

Council will not accept applications that are emailed directly.  Applications must be submitted through the SmartyGrants system.

7. Will there be an information session to explain the program?

An online webinar information session will be held on Thursday 11 March 2021 at 5.30 – 6.30pm.

 Topics to be covered include: 

  • Overview of the Colac Otway Shire Grants Program
  • How to write a quality application
  • How to record your budget
  • Questions and answers

The information session will be held on MS Teams.  You must register to receive the link. Contact the Grants Officer on email or (03) 5232 9400

If you are unable to attend, information from the session will be made available on the Council’s  website as soon as possible after the session. 

Individual assistance is available with the Grants officer by phone, email or by appointment (subject to Covid19 restrictions).

8. When will we find out if our application is successful? 

We will let applicants know the outcome of their application within three months of the Colac Otway Shire Grants Program closing date, however this will depend on the approval of the Council’s budget at the June 2021 Ordinary Council Meeting.  You should consider this timeframe when developing your project plan.

9. Will we be given feedback if our application is unsuccessful? 

Yes. If your application is not successful, we will send you an email to notify you of the outcome and to provide contact details if you wish to seek feedback.

10. Where can we go to get advice on our application? 

To ensure a fair and equitable approach for all applicants, the Council is not able to discuss the detail of your application but may be able to provide information on whether your project idea is eligible for funding.

Information to assist you to prepare a high-quality application is available in our useful tips for grant writing and by addressing the criteria outlined in the Guidelines.

If you have any general questions after reading the guidelines, contact the Grants Officer on (03) 5232 9400 from 8:30am to 5:00pm weekdays or email


TIPS for writing a quality application

Useful tips for Grant Writing

  • Read the Guidelines, including the eligibility and funding conditions.  These may change from previous years.  This will assist in the quality of your application and ensure the project meets the assessment criteria.
  • Grant funding is competitive.  When writing the application, think about why your project stands out and why your project should be chosen above others.  Provide evidence and/or a compelling reason for your club/organisation to receive the funding requested.
  • Make sure all questions are answered, including all budget requirements.  The guidelines stipulate that the applicant must contribute on a matching $1 for $1 basis.  This may be cash or in-kind (if eligible).  Refer to the budget example or contact the Grants officer if you need assistance.
  • Keep it simple and clear and include all the necessary requested information.
  • The Guidelines and application form provides hints for the questions.  Use these prompts to develop your responses.


     Use your time wisely

    Applications close 5.00 pm sharp on 9 April 2021.

  • Read the guidelines closely first and check your project will be eligible.

  • Read the application form and list all the extra evidence you need to provide to support your application. Request any evidence you don’t have straight away.
  • Use the information you have to start drafting your application and then refine it when you have the additional evidence you need.
  • Use the selection criteria in the guidelines to help you prioritise information and where you spend your time.
  • Don’t waste your time preparing more than one application.
  • Aim to have your application submitted by lunch time, in case you experience technical difficulties.


    Check your application

    •       Get someone else to read your application so they can identify any information that isn’t clear or to spot any inconsistencies (eg budget, timing or deliverables).

    •       Make sure deliverables are clear and objectives are specific and achievable.

    •       Check you have attached all evidence to support your application.

    •       Delete any unnecessary or repeated information.

    •       Review your application.  Once your application is submitted, it cannot be altered or amended.

    •       Aim to have your application submitted by lunch time on the closing date or earlier. 

    •   After you submit the application, keep a pdf copy for your Club/Organisation’s reference.  The application will    be available to you in Smartygrants through your User log in.

     Where can I get help?

Visit our website 

Phone: (03) 5232 9400


For technical issues when applying online, email : or phone (03) 9320 6888


TIPS for recording the budget

Tips for completing the budget

  • The total project income must equal the total project expenditure.
  • The budget needs to include all income (including the grant you are requesting, the financial contributions from your own organisation and any other sources of income) and must include all the main costs (expenditure items) related to the project.
  • Clearly show what costs will be paid from the grant if your application is successful
  • Identify whether any financial contributions are confirmed or unconfirmed. If funding from another source is not confirmed, this will be considered when we assess the viability of your project.
  • Be accurate in your costings – you cannot ask for additional funds later because the project was not accurately costed at the start.
  • Is a permit required?  Include the permit and related fees in the expenses.
  • If you cannot provide quotes, tell us how you have estimated or calculated the cost of something. Quotes are the preferred method of evidence for the related costs.
  • Only include income or expenditure items relevant to the project. If the cost is not directly associated with your project, it should not be in the project budget.


How to record your budget (an example is provided below)


List and provide details of all the expense items. 

Mark the expenses with ‘X’ to identify those that the grant funds will be spent on.

If any In-kind is contributed to the project, record the Total In-kind value in the Expenditure column.  Then, in the table below the budget, show how you calculated the in-kind value.  Hints are provided in the application form.

The total project costs will be auto-calculated in the application form.


If your project has an inkind contribution, copy the in-kind value from the Expenditure column and record it under the Income column.  The in-kind value must be the same in both the Income and Expenditure columns.

Calculate the grant request amount by dividing the Total expenditure costs by 2.  Check this does not exceed the maximum grant allowed (or you may need to contribute a higher amount).

Then subtract the in-kind value to calculate your cash contribution. (Note: your cash contribution may include other sources of income which should be listed separately).

You must provide a matching dollar for dollar contribution which may include cash from your organisation (as well as other sources of income eg: confirmed or unconfirmed grants, ticket sales)  and/or in-kind contributions.

If your project does not have an inkind contribution, simply divide the total expenditure costs by 2.

EXAMPLE of how to record your budget in the table


Expense item

(clearly describe the cost item)

$ Amount

Mark X for items the grant funds will be spent on

Timber – hardware store



Carpenter – Hammer Pty Ltd



Painter – ABC Painting









In-Kind (details in the In-kind table)



Total Expenditure $3,100


Income (provide a clear description of the source of income)

$ Amount


Grant amount requested



Cash contribution - your organisation



Cash Contribution - other









In-Kind (details in the In-kind table)



Total Income $3,100

 Total Income $3,100   less Total Expenditure $3,100 = $0

 In-kind calculations

Volunteer labour

Hourly rate

Value $

4 volunteers x 4 hours each





Fact Sheet -Tips for Writing an Application - Grants Program(DOCX, 336KB)

Fact Sheet - Tips for Completing the Budget - Grants Program(DOCX, 15KB)

Example Funding Agreement(PDF, 60KB)

Information Session presentation slides(PPTX, 328KB)

Smartygrants Help Guide for Applicants   

Smartygrants Applicants FAQs