Grants for the Northern Australia Development Program

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The Australian Government is investing $111.9 million towards the Northern Australia Development Program (NADP) in the form of grants and business advisory services to enable Northern Australia based businesses to grow, diversify, create new jobs, and strengthen business capability and resilience.

The Federal Government’s latest plan for Northern Australia, Our North, Our Future: 2021-2026 ‘Targeted Growth, outlines its whole-of-government agenda, with information about Master Plans, business grants, digital connectivity improvements, and infrastructure projects for Northern Australia. For example, the first four Master Plans currently being developed and implemented to accelerate Regions of Growth and grow the Northern Australian economy will focus on locations within the following corridors:

  • Mount Isa to Townsville (QLD),
  • Beetaloo Basin to Katherine to Darwin (NT),
  • Broome to Kununurra to Darwin (WA and NT),
  • Cairns to Gladstone (QLD)

Of particular note in the overall plan for Northern Australia for the 2021-2026 period is the broader geographical definition of what actually constitutes the region, compared to previous whitepapers: besides all of the Northern Territory, and all of Western Australia and Queensland above the Tropic of Capricorn, “Northern Australia” now also includes various other LGAs in QLD and WA roughly along the latitude north of the coastal towns of Gladstone (QLD) and Carnarvon (WA). Using this broader definition, Northern Australia encompasses 53% of Australia’s landmass but only 5.3% of the population, which goes some way to showing why the Government is encouraging development through the various business grants of the NADP.

Northern Australia Development Program (NADP) grants

There are two simultaneous NADP grant streams:

  • Business Development grants for small to medium-sized businesses (up to 199 employees), with funding of $50k–$2 million; and
  • Industry Transformation grants for medium to large businesses, with funding of $3 million–$10 million.

There is $40 million in grants available for each of the two streams. These funds can be up to 50% of eligible project expenditure, with minimum project expenditure of $100k and $6 million for the Business Development grant and Industry Transformation grant, respectively.

For both grant streams, projects must be located in or be of significant benefit to Northern Australia. For the Business Development grant, projects must involve scaling up or diversifying a small to medium business; whereas for the Industry Transformation grant, projects must be aimed at a new industry or significantly growing the value of an existing industry and contribute to transformational change in a region — hence the larger grant amounts.
Some examples of eligible activities for both grant streams include:

  • buying, constructing, installing or commissioning of plant and equipment
  • construction and/or fit out of new infrastructure
  • relevant training and skills development directly related to your project
  • feasibility studies
  • process design and engineering

Other activities may also be approved. If you receive a grant, Strengthening Northern Australian Business facilitators will be available (if recommended or required by the grant assessors) to develop and implement a business roadmap, which will include recommendations and opportunities for your business.

The execution and delivery of certain projects may be more effectively achieved as a consortium, so joint applications are encouraged. However, a lead organisation must be appointed, and only the lead organisation can submit the application form and enter into the grant agreement.

NADP grant applications can be sent throughout the year, and the assessment committee receives batched applications for consideration approximately every 3 months. The program will be receiving grant applications until 24th October 2023.

If you’re a Northern Australian business and want the best advice to keep moving onward and upward, Fullstack Advisory has the knowledge and expertise to keep you on the right path by ensuring you receive the right advice and all the grants, incentives, and rebates you’re entitled to. Reach out to us here.

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Stuart Reynolds is the founder of Fullstack Advisory, an award-winning accounting firm for businesses leading the future. He is a 3rd generation accountant who specialises in tech & online companies.

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