What is the Regional Tourism Investment Fund?
This round of the Regional Tourism Investment Fund has been designed to support new and innovative tourism infrastructure projects that will drive visitation and private investment, delivering more jobs and improving outcomes for the state’s visitor economy.
How much funding is available under this round of the Regional Tourism Investment Fund?
The program will deliver grants up to $10 million per project, with a minimum funding amount of $150,000 per project, focussing on four growth sectors identified in the Visitor Economy Recovery and Reform Plan – nature, epicurean, arts and culture, and First Peoples’ led experiences.
Co-contributions are required as part of the grant funding. The rate of co-contribution varies depending on the applicant. Applicants can find the rate that applies to their application in the program guidelines.
Who is eligible to apply for funding under the Regional Tourism Investment Fund?
Applicants must be one of the following types of entities to apply under this round of the Regional Tourism Investment Fund:
- private sector proponents (defined as an individual, privately-owned or commercial organisation that has overall control and responsibility for project that is predominantly funded through private capital)
- local and State Government entities, including Public Land Managers, Land Management Authorities and Committees of Management, Local Government Authorities, Alpine Resort Management Boards and State or Local Government owned entities
- incorporated associations
- not-for-profit organisations, including community groups that are an incorporated body, cooperative or association; or Traditional Owner Corporations, organisations and groups, and Aboriginal-owned businesses.
Eligible businesses must also:
- be an incorporated body, cooperative or association (including business associations)
- hold an Australian Business Number (ABN)
- be financially solvent.
Who is ineligible to apply for funding under this fund?
Businesses that are not eligible for funding under the Regional Tourism Investment Fund include:
- unincorporated organisations or joint ventures (unless under an auspice arrangement)
- utility and services providers
- water corporations
- Commonwealth Government owned entities.
Can Regional Tourism Boards apply for funding?
Regional Tourism Boards are not eligible to apply as applicants, as the application must be submitted by a proponent. However, Regional Tourism Boards (where relevant) are encouraged to provide support and advice to applicants, including a letter of support where appropriate.
What projects are eligible under this round of the Regional Tourism Investment Fund?
To be eligible for funding under this round of the Regional Tourism Investment Fund, a project must:
- be a new tourism infrastructure and/or significant enhancements that build on existing infrastructure, or
- be enabling infrastructure that directly and demonstrably unlocks private tourism investment.
Projects must demonstrate strategic investment or support visitation outcomes in one or more of the following Visitor Economy Recovery and Reform Plan priority experience pillars: nature, epicurean, arts and culture; and First Peoples’ led experiences, and meet the objectives of the fund, which are:
- deliver strategic tourism infrastructure projects that will increase visitation, improve quality of customer experience, and increase visitor yield and length of stay
- deliver projects that broaden Victoria’s tourism offering, and support and encourage year-round visitation and dispersal across regional Victoria
- leverage and facilitate private sector investment, including through strengthening public tourism infrastructure
- drive new jobs and improved outcomes for the State’s visitor economy.
What projects are ineligible under this round of the Regional Tourism Investment Fund?
Projects that are ineligible for funding under this round of the fund include:
- project planning for infrastructure projects such as a feasibility study, a demand study, or a business case to enable prospective applicants to investigate the technical and or economic viability of an infrastructure project (design and construct projects may be considered)
- local strategic planning including economic development strategies and plans for future growth and infrastructure needs
- projects that require ongoing funding from the Victorian Government for operation or maintenance
- retrospective funding, where projects have been completed or have started prior to receiving funding approval
- projects that are only purchasing plant and equipment
- projects that are considered core business for local government, e.g. construction of carparks and toilets (unless they are a component part supporting a broader tourism project), construction and maintenance of Visitor Information Centres, and enabling infrastructure not directly linked to unlocking private investment.
What are the key dates for this fund?
The indicative key assessment dates for this round of the Regional Tourism Investment Fund are:
- Registrations of Interest open: 11 November 2021
- Registrations of Interest close: 7 January 2022
- Applications close: 14 January 2022
- Assessment and approvals process: January to April 2022
- Successful projects announced: Mid-May 2022
- Grant Agreements finalised: By 30 June 2022
- Construction commencement: Within 9 months of executed Grant Agreement
- Final project completion: By 30 June 2024
- Acquittal report due: By 30 September 2024
What are the eligible project locations under this fund?
Projects delivered within the following locations can apply for funding through this round of the Regional Tourism Investment Fund, if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Tier 1 locations (Local Government areas)
- Greater Bendigo
- Greater Geelong
- Greater Shepparton
- Mornington Peninsula
- Yarra Ranges
Tier 2 locations (Local Government areas and Alpine Resorts)
- Bass Coast
- Baw Baw
- Central Goldfields
- Colac Otway
- East Gippsland
- Falls Creek
- Golden Plains
- Macedon Ranges
- Mount Alexander
- Mount Buller & Mount Stirling
- Mount Hotham
- Northern Grampians
- Southern Alpine (Lake Mountain & Mount Baw Baw)
- Southern Grampians
- South Gippsland
- Surf Coast
- Swan Hill
- West Wimmera
What documents are required when submitting an application for this fund?
The following mandatory documentation is required when submitting an application for this round under the Regional Tourism Investment Fund:
- project management plan (which must include risk management plan, itemised and detailed project budget, and ongoing operating model) (template is provided on the program page)
- completed Cultural Heritage Management Plan, Vegetation Assessments, Environmental Management Plans etc. as appropriate, or evidence that processes have commenced. Alternatively, evidence that these types of plans are not required
- evidence that demonstrates all relevant approvals and permits required to commence the project can be obtained within the proposed delivery timeframe (e.g. Planning Permit, Heritage Victoria Permit etc.)
- landowner consent form (template is provided on the program page) (where the applicant is not the landowner) or evidence of land ownership and tenure (where the applicant is the landowner)
- cost estimates/ quantity surveyor estimates/ quotes (not more than 12 months old)
- funding structure and evidence confirming all funding sources
- designs and drawings/ schematic project plans
- Public Liability Insurance Certificate of Currency
- evidence of appropriate registration (not-for-profit organisations, incorporated associations and Aboriginal-owned businesses)
- evidence of financial stability, including, at a minimum:
- Audited Financial Reports for the last three financial years. This should be the ‘final accounts’ with Directors’ Report and Declaration and should include Profit & Loss Statement, Balance Sheet, Cash Flows, and notes to the accounts. If accounts are not audited, unaudited accounts from an Accountant will be accepted.
- if the latest financial report is more than six months old, up-to-date Management or Interim Accounts for the current year including Profit & Loss Statement and Balance Sheet, and, in the case of public listed corporations, a half yearly financial report
- current business plan, or project proposal
- company’s financial projections for the next three financial years, including Profit & Loss and Cash Flow (template is provided on the program page).
The following additional documentation is recommended to support your application:
- business or feasibility planning documents
- asset management plan
- marketing strategy
- letters of support, including from RTBs, local councils, local business and tourism associations, Traditional Owner organisations etc.
- letters of intent from any project partners
- evidence to support claims made in response to Assessment Criteria 1 (e.g. Visitation Impact Assessments, Economic Impact Assessments).
Do projects need to be shovel ready?
Yes, projects must demonstrate the ability to commence construction within nine months of being contracted.
Is funding available for earlier stage projects?
Projects that do not meet shovel ready requirements of the Regional Tourism Investment Fund and require further development to progress towards investment ready status may be eligible to apply for the Enabling Tourism Fund. This fund will be launched in the coming months, with further information released shortly.
Are projects eligible for funding if they have already received funding in the Regional Tourism Investment Fund – Stimulus Round announced in March?
Yes, provided that the request is for a distinct component that is separate and distinct from what has already been funded (i.e., not top-up funding for cost overruns).
Are enabling infrastructure projects eligible for funding?
Yes, provided that these projects directly and demonstrably unlock private investment. Ideally, enabling infrastructure applications should directly link to a defined capital project.
Why are only four of the six priority experience pillars within the Visitor Economy Recovery and Reform Plan in scope for the fund?
The Regional Tourism Investment Fund focuses on projects that drive strategic investment or support visitation outcomes within nature, First Peoples’, epicurean and arts and culture led experiences. Design, fashion and retail, and sport and events focused projects are being targeted through other Victorian Government investments.
Projects that are focused around either of these two pillars may still be eligible for the fund, provided they can demonstrate a clear link to visitation outcomes within one of the four priority pillars.
When does the project need to be completed?
Projects funded under this round of the Regional Tourism Investment should be completed by the end of June 2024.
Will the decision maker approve a different grant amount to what I requested?
Decisions around the provisions of grants, including funding amounts, are at the discretion of the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events and therefore may differ from requested amounts when deemed appropriate within the assessment or contracting process.
Can another government grant be used as part of a co-contribution?
Funding co-contributions can be from other government sources, however this cannot be from the Victorian Government (including other departments or agencies).
Is there an opportunity to fast-track projects that are time-critical?
There may be opportunities to fast-track projects through the assessment stage if they are highly time critical and of significant strategic importance. However, this will be by exception only and will not commence until applications close.