Federal BudgetGrants and funding

Grants and funding allocations announced in the Australian Federal Budget

Vanessa Menezes
16 May 2024
8 min read

Treasurer Jim Chalmers unveiled his third Federal Budget on Tuesday evening, highlighting its key priorities, which include:

  • Easing the cost of living,

  • Expanding housing opportunities for Australians,

  • Investing in a future Made in Australia,

  • Reinforcing Medicare and the care sector, and

  • Maintaining responsible economic management to achieve another surplus and combat inflation.

Among its highlights, the Budget has allocated funding for renewable energy initiatives, developing the defence industry, combating homelessness, and improving recreational and cultural sectors. Let's delve into the details of these grants and funding allocations outlined in the budget.

Renewable energy

A generous funding package of $7.1 billion for budgeted programs to be administered by ARENA including:

  • $1.9 billion boost to ARENA’s baseline funding

  • $2 billion for round two of the Hydrogen Headstart program

  • $1.7 billion for the Future Made in Australia Innovation Fund

  • $1 billion previously announced for the Solar Sunshot program

  • $500 million for the Battery Breakthrough Initiative

Defence Industry Development Strategy

$165.7 million for the Defence Industry Development Grants Program will support businesses to increase their scale and competitiveness to deliver Sovereign Defence Industrial Priorities, including continuous naval shipbuilding and sustainment, domestic manufacture of guided weapons, explosive ordnance and munitions, and development and integration of autonomous systems.

The School Pathways Program will receive $0.6 million over three years starting from 2023–24 to extend its efforts in promoting career pathways and opportunities within the defence industry.

Defence Assistance – regional and global support

$14.0 million over two years from 2024–25 to establish a new grant program to support peacebuilding and peacekeeping activities by the United Nations and related institutions.

Homelessness funding and shelter for people in crisis

The Government has included $9.3 billion in the Budget for a new National Agreement on Social Housing and Homelessness with the states and territories. This includes a doubling of the Australian Government’s dedicated homelessness funding to $400 million a year.

Further support will be provided through the additional $1 billion for the National Housing Infrastructure Facility (NHIF), which will be targeted towards crisis and transitional housing for women and children experiencing domestic violence and youth. The NHIF provides concessional loans and grants for eligible housing enabling infrastructure and social and affordable housing.

The Safe Places program provides capital works grants to support the renovation, building or purchase of new emergency accommodation for women and children experiencing family and domestic violence. The Safe Places inclusion round grant opportunity will provide up to 720 new safe places, bringing the total number of safe places to be delivered by the program to around 1,480 across Australia. Projects are expected to commence from mid–2024

Recreation and culture

Sport and recreation expenses are estimated to increase over the period of 2024–25 to 2027–28, due to the Government’s investment in venue infrastructure for the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Government is also providing additional funding through the 2024–25 Budget measures Supporting Sports Participation and Sport Integrity Australia – funding support to continue Commonwealth sport participation and high-performance grants funding programs, provide additional funding to support preparation for and delivery of key international events, safeguard the integrity of Australian sport and invest in the upgrade and restoration of sporting infrastructure.

Supporting Sports Participation

$10.5 million over two years from 2024–25 towards the Participation Grants program to implement priority activities under the Play Well strategy and to build sector capability to support sports participation.

Improving women’s participation and safety in sport

The Government is providing $200 million over four years from 2023–24 for the Play Our Way program. This provides targeted grants for sporting infrastructure and facilities to support women and girls to engage and participate in sports and physical activity. Funding will be provided through a competitive grant opportunity.

Successful organisations will use the grants to provide safe, inclusive, quality, and sustainable sporting facilities and initiatives for women and girls. This funding will also help them to remain involved in sport and physical activity for life.

To improve the safety of sport in Australia, the Government is investing more than $36.3 million from 2023–24 to 2027–28, to tackle abuse, bullying, discrimination and sexual misconduct. This funding will allow Sports Integrity Australia to enhance their existing capabilities, and to deliver new initiatives to improve safety in sport, with a focus on women and girls.

First Nations Prison to Employment Program

The Government will provide $76.2 million over five years from 2023–24 (and $18.7 million per year ongoing) to implement a new voluntary prison to employment transition program for First Nations people aged 15 years and over who are incarcerated with a known release date or are on remand.

The program will be progressively rolled out from 1 July 2025. This new program will support the economic security of First Nations people by providing pre-release and post-release support services to assist them to reintegrate into their communities and prepare to enter or re-enter the labour market, and will:

  • Introduce and support a greater diversity of service providers, including First Nations organisations that have strong local connections and capability to deliver trauma-informed and culturally safe mentoring and assistance to First Nations people

  • Provide funding to support the National Indigenous Employment and Training Alliance to operate as a First Nations employment services peak body and help build the capacity of the Aboriginal community-controlled sector as they prepare for the new program

  • Establish a grant process to support small-scale prison-to-work projects that support job creation opportunities for First Nations participants

Supporting Veteran Owned Business Grant Program

The Government will provide $0.4 million over three years from 2024–25 to extend the Supporting Veteran Owned Business grant program through The King’s Trust Australia (formerly Prince’s Trust Australia) Enterprise Program. The program provides self-employment support to veterans and their families. The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Portfolio Administrative Matters

The Government will provide $28.0 million over five years from 2023–24 (and $2.8 million per year ongoing) to maintain and improve transparent, efficient and effective administration of the Health and Aged Care Portfolio. Funding includes $9.0 million in 2023–24 for increased operational costs for the National Health and Medical Research Council, including implementation of the Sapphire Grants Management system.

National Australia Day Council – additional resourcing

The Government will provide an additional $16.2 million over four years from 2024–25 (and $1.6 million per year ongoing) to support the operations of the National Australia Day Council, including support for the Australian of the Year recipients, and also including $10.0 million in 2024–25 to deliver community grants for Australia Day events.

Independent Community Sector

The Government will provide $2.4 million over two years from 2024–25 for the Department of Social Services to develop a community sector partnership framework, in consultation with the Community Services Advisory Group. The framework will drive administrative and cultural change across government agencies, to deliver grants that are designed to better serve the sustainability of community sector organisations and ensure better outcomes are achieved in delivering government policy. The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Department of Social Services.

This measure builds on the 2022–23 October Budget measure titled Support for Community Sector Organisations and the change in the 2023–24 Budget to update the methodology for determining wage cost indexation to provide greater ongoing financial support to grant recipients, including community sector organisations

Schools upgrade

The Australian Government is providing the states with $228.5 million as part of the Schools Upgrade Fund, supporting capital projects to keep students and school staff safe after disruptions due to COVID–19. Grants will be provided to Australian schools to help improve ventilation and air quality and make small scale improvements such as upgrading computing equipment and school facilities, as well as targeted grants for schools identified with priority needs. Community Outreach Project and the Disability and Vulnerable Member Accessibility Project will provide one-off funding through the Strong and Resilient Communities grant program.

Future Drought Fund

The revised Future Drought Fund Communities program will identify women as a priority for investment through Community Impact Grants, Small Network Grants and the Mentoring Initiative. Other FDF programs will maximise participation and leadership opportunities for women, encourage locally led co-design processes to consider the impact of gender equality on drought resilience, and link with existing programs that build personal and community resilience, such as non-clinical mental health and family violence support. This recognises that the representation and leadership of women, and promotion of gender equality are critical for building social resilience as part of the Government’s climate resilience agenda.

Should you have any questions regarding the Budget announcements, grants, or opportunities available, please contact the Findex grants specialist team or reach out to your local Findex advisor.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the thought or position of Findex.

Author: Vanessa Menezes

Vanessa heads up the Grants Advisory service from our Sydney office. Vanessa’s 16 plus years’ experience in public practice accounting including EY, start-ups, corporate and most recently her own consultancy specialising in grants and funding, adds a unique strength and perspective to the grant writing ecosystem. Vanessa has a Bachelor of Commerce and is a member of CPA Australia and ICAI. She has a varied experience in accounting, audit, tax and small business advisory. Vanessa and her team of experienced grant writers assist individuals, businesses and not-for-profits across Australia and New Zealand. The skill set within the Grants Team ensures that we understand the complex process involved in identifying, writing and submitting funding applications.