Connecting to Country

Program guidelines

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The Connecting to Country grant program supports projects that enable Western Australian Aboriginal people and Aboriginal-led organisations to undertake on Country activities that foster the intergenerational transfer of knowledge, preservation of culture and strengthening of communities.

The key dates calendar has opening and closing dates, activity start dates and draft review deadlines.

Please apply using the Online Grants web portal.

More information about how to apply can be found in the application manual.

Who can apply

Applications are open to Western Australian based:

  • Aboriginal individuals
  • Aboriginal groups including youth, community, men’s and women’s groups
  • Aboriginal-led organisations including art, community, cultural, language, media, health, or ranger organisations
  • organisations that work with Aboriginal people in community, including local government authorities and organisations that deliver targeted services to Aboriginal people or communities; if their applications demonstrate:
    • strong Aboriginal governance, leadership and self-determination
    • evidence of significant Aboriginal community involvement in the project including consultation, planning, decision-making and project management.

    If you are unsure about how to demonstrate Aboriginal governance and/or involvement, please contact project officers for advice.

    Objectives

    The program intends to:

    • facilitate sharing of cultural knowledge and skills between generations, such as the preservation of language, stories and dance
    • recognise Aboriginal cultural leadership within the Aboriginal community and support leadership development in young people
    • contribute to stronger community mental health and wellbeing
    • strengthen, protect and maintain traditional ways of maintaining cultural knowledge.

    To be successful, your application should align to 2 or more of these objectives.

    What can I apply for?

    The program supports a wide range of activities that enable Aboriginal people across Western Australia to maintain links between their Country, culture and communities. 

    This may include, but is not limited to:

    • cultural maintenance activities such as travel to culturally significant places to connect with traditional and contemporary knowledge
    • intergenerational activities to improve understanding of Country, ancestry and kinship connections such as heading out bush to facilitate the transfer of cultural knowledge, practices, beliefs, values and/or skills from older to younger generations
    • youth projects focused on reconnecting your people to Country, culture and identity, such as diversionary focussed projects 
    • activities that promote positive community resilience, wellbeing and mental health such as community led cultural healing projects
    • opportunities to engage with language and stories about significant places
    • projects that focus on women’s or men’s business.

    Where possible, your activity should seek to document, preserve and archive stories or cultural knowledge for access by future generations.

    This may involve including activities that digitise or transcribe oral histories, or filming or exhibiting on Country projects.

    Applicants are encouraged to provide evidence of how materials generated by their project will be appropriately managed for present and future generations to access.

    What can’t I apply for?

    • projects that are core business or part of an organisation’s regular activity or operations. For example, a ranger organisation cannot apply for funding for cultural site management
    • purchase of capital equipment, including instruments, equipment, software, computers, tablets (iPads) and/or uniforms
    • capital works such as construction or purchasing of studios, workspaces or organisation spaces
    • activities already funded by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries’ culture and the arts grant programs
    • activities relating to radio broadcasting
    • costs of manufacturing and/or producing prototypes
    • fundraising, competitions, prizes and trophies
    • the work of State Government or Commonwealth Government departments
    • activity that will be academically assessed or any school curriculum based activity
    • activities related to an individual’s membership in a national organisation
    • ongoing organisation staffing operational costs
    • digital games development activities.

    What will make my application ineligible?

    You will make your application ineligible and will not go through to assessment if you:

    • do not provide any support material
    • start the activity before the eligible start date
    • submit a late application
    • submit more than one application per funding round
    • have any key personnel with an overdue acquittal
    • are a staff member of the department (staff of portfolio organisations may apply subject to meeting the Code of Conduct and Secondary Employment Policy)
    • request funding that exceeds the funding cap of the program
    • apply for activity that is delivered as part of an educational institution’s curriculum or will be academically assessed
    • are a portfolio organisation of the department
    • are not a Western Australian group, organisation or individual. 

    How much can I apply for?

    Applicants can apply for funding up to $25,000 to support the proposed project or activity.

    This program can fund 100% of your activity costs, however, demonstrating income (cash or in-kind) will strengthen your application.

    The amount of funding sought should reflect:

    • the length and scale of the activity
    • the number of people involved
    • the range of activities occurring
    • the anticipated impact of the program for participants.
    Your funding request will be the difference between your expenditure minus your income in your application budget.

    When can I apply?

    The key dates calendar has application opening and closing dates, activity start dates and draft review deadline. 

    You are encouraged to submit your application before the submission date to ensure you have plenty of time to allow for technical or eligibility/resubmission issues.

    All times are in AWST (for Perth, Western Australia). 

    Processing of grant payments to successful applicants will not start until the grant contract is signed and returned. Depending on the activity start date, we cannot guarantee notification and/or availability of funding before the activity begins. 

    Funding rounds

    Round Open Draft review Close Projects beginning after Category
    September 2024 9:00am 3 September 2024 4:00pm 26 September 2024 4:00pm 10 October 2024 15 January 2025 Connecting to Country
    2023-24 9:00am 31 October 2023 4:00pm 18 January 2024 4:00pm 1 February 2024 1 May 2024 Connecting to Country

    How many times can I apply?

    One application can be submitted per applicant for this round of funding.

    How do I apply?

    Please apply using the Online Grants web portal and select Connecting to Country from the program options.

    More information on how to apply can be found in the application manual.

    Online applications are preferred; however, if you cannot access Online Grants, you can contact us to request a hardcopy form and discuss postal submission. 

    Before commencing an application, you can contact us to discuss your proposal and any assistance you may need with your application.

    4 components of your application

    There are 4 components of this grant application: 

    1. core application questions
    2. project outputs
    3. financial information
    4. support material. 

    Each plays a significant and distinct role in creating a whole picture about your activity. 

    Core application questions

    Your answers to the core application questions should give assessors an overview of your activity. Each question has a 1500-character limit.

    If you need more information on how to prepare your application, please read the application manual.

    You can extract a copy of your draft application in Online Grants at any stage to share with others for their feedback.

    Respond to the following questions with reference to the assessment criteria and program objectives. In these questions consider referencing support material to be submitted with this application to help the assessors make connections.

    1. What is the activity/project you are seeking funding for?

    Describe your planned activity/project. Outline your ideas, what is involved, who you will be working with and how they will contribute. Explain the cultural and community relevance or significance of the activity, both for yourself and the relevant sector of the community.

    2. Who is planning and participating in this activity/project?

    Tell us who is taking part and what is their role. Provide background information about your organisation and its purpose. Include whether there are any other partners involved, and how they are supporting the activity/project.

    3. Why do you need to undertake this activity/project and why do you need to do it now?

    Explain the significance of undertaking this activity at this time. Why is this important? Demonstrate the relevance, timeliness, cultural significance and impact of the activity in the context of your organisation, wider Western Australian community or for your business or organisation.

    4. How do you plan to undertake the activity/project?

    Describe the stages or steps in planning, development and implementing your activity. Where are you planning to go? What do you want to do?   

    Consider how you will manage the delivery of confronting or sensitive information to participants in a sensitive, culturally safe manner. Including a cultural safety or mental health and wellbeing plan in your support material, and the inclusion of counsellors as key personnel (if deemed necessary) may strengthen your application.

    Note: due to the nature of the Connecting to Country program, contract conditions require agreement to comply with the Working with Children Act 2004 and the Australia Council for the Arts’ Protocols for Working with Children in Art (PDF 116 KB) Working with Children in Art.

    5. What will be the outcome or legacy of this activity?

    What do you hope to achieve by doing this activity? What are the direct or indirect outcomes for the participants and/or community? Direct outcomes include immediate value for community or participants, whereas indirect outcomes include legacy of the activity for future generations or wider communities. How will you preserve the outcomes for future access? Will the activity be continued in some way?

    Also consider describing the methods, processes or tools you will use to measure and report your progress towards and/or achievement of the activity outcomes you have outlined in this section. How will you know whether you have achieved your proposed outcomes? 

    Project outputs

    You are required to provide relevant project outputs information for your activity. This information will be considered as part of the assessment of your application. Project outputs information will be used to provide further clarity on your activity for the assessor and will provide important data for the department for research, analysis and advocacy purposes.

    You only need to provide information for the categories and items relevant to your activity.

    If your application is successful you will be required to report against the planned targets at the contract acquittal stage.

    Please contact us if you have any questions. 

    Financial information

    The financial information in your budget helps to demonstrate that all elements of your activity have been considered, thoroughly researched and costed. A good budget also provides confidence for the department that your activity will be a sound investment for the State of Western Australia.

    You should indicate which expenditure items you want the department to support. List those items in the ‘Additional Notes’ section of the application form’s budget page.

    If you are registered for GST you should not include GST in the budget figures. All amounts should be in Australian dollars.

    Your funding request is the difference between your expenditure minus your income. To ensure this amount is calculated accurately, seek quotes for all expenditure items (whether or not you intend to include these as support material) and include all costs associated with the activity, even if they are supplied in-kind.

    Many activities will include in-kind contributions in the form of offering something for free or at a discount. More information on in-kind expenditure and income as well as an example of how to demonstrate your in-kind support follows this section.

    For each expenditure or income item you add to the budget, use the notes area alongside the item to explain how it relates to the delivery of your activity and how the cost was calculated.

    Expenditure

    Expenditure items can vary significantly from one activity to another. Any legitimate expense that is eligible can be included in the budget.

    Do not duplicate costs in the budget form. For example, if you receive a quote for equipment hire do not include an additional item for ‘camera hire’.  Simply outline 'equipment hire' as the expenditure item and add a note explaining that the cost includes camera hire.

    Eligible expenditure items

    Administration

    Expenses related to the management and administration of the activity e.g. Telephone/internet, insurance and stationery. Eligible expenditure items in this category may also include audit costs and accessibility costs (expenditure associated with making your activity accessible to participants or audiences with a disability).

    Preparation and development

    Costs related to the planning, production and delivery of the project or activity or its deliverables, including the costs of presentation and exhibition. Eligible items may include documenting fees, audio-visual costs and venue hire.

    Salaries, fees and living allowances

    Expenditure in this category should include salaries, fees and allowances for all key personnel, with separate components itemised in the budget notes. We support appropriate rates of pay for all people involved in your activity.

    All rates should be relative to level of experience.

    Please note that organisations, such as Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, predominantly provide information on minimum base rates for employees engaged on a full-time, part-time or casual basis. Rates for artists and arts workers engaged as contractors will include a loading to cover the costs of being self-employed. Full-time, part-time and casual rates do not factor in these costs and should not be used when engaging contractors.

    Travel and freight

    Costs associated with transporting people, equipment or goods. Eligible items may include fares (taxi, airplane, bus etc.), tolls, land or air freight, vehicle hire and certain camping or regional costs.

    Income

    This program can fund 100% of your activity costs. Please detail any income you are expecting from the project or activity, including in-kind contributions.

    Eligible income Items

    Earned income

    May include sales, or fees.

    Corporate sponsorship

    Any income received through sponsorship from corporate bodies or businesses. Income received through government sponsorship should be included in the relevant government income category.

    Philanthropic donations

    May include contributions from fundraising, crowdfunding, donations, gifts and bequests.

    Australia Council, other Federal Government, other State Government, local government

    All grants and sponsorship being sought from Local, State and Federal Government, the Australia Council, and other government sources must be included, whether or not this support has been confirmed. If your application is to be assessed by an assessment panel, we will attempt to confirm the status of any pending funding applications directly with the funding body prior to the panel assessment. Do not include department grant funds being requested as part of this application.

    Other income

    If you are making a cash contribution, or someone is providing cash to the activity, list this item as a ‘cash contribution’ or similar. Include any other income source that does not fit within any of the above categories and provide enough detail to identify the income source.

    In-kind expenditure and income

    Some expenses may be offered to you for free or at a discount. This might be borrowed equipment, the use of a community space, donated or discounted goods or services, such as consultation fees or volunteers (including yourself), negotiated discounted fees and allowances. Anything given to your project at no expense to you is considered in-kind.

    All in-kind expenditure must be included as a budget item under the in-kind expenditure category. The corresponding recognition of in-kind income is created automatically in your online application, and you do not need to enter any in-kind income budget items. The total in-kind expenditure must always equal the total in-kind income.

    Additional notes

    This section of the budget provides an opportunity for you to detail any additional information you feel may help to clarify items within your budget. For example, for fees and salaries you can indicate in this section how you calculated your amount.

    You should use this section to indicate which expenditure items you want the department to support.

    Taxation

    The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) considers any grant payment to be taxable income for the purposes of your annual income tax return. If you receive a grant you are encouraged to discuss your tax implications with your tax agent or the ATO.

    Registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST)

    If you are registered for GST you must show your expenditure items exclusive of the GST component. For example, you have been quoted $550 including GST for lighting hire. In your expenditure budget you would only show lighting hire of $500.

    If you are registered for GST and your activity is funded, the department payment will include a 10% GST component to cover those items on which GST is payable.

    Not registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST)

    If you are not registered for GST you must show your expenditure items inclusive of the GST component. For example, you have been quoted $550 including GST for lighting hire. In your expenditure budget you would show lighting hire of $550.

    If you are not registered for GST and your activity is funded, the department payment will include the GST component for those items on which GST is payable.

    Support material

    Support material is crucial to a successful application and is essential for assessors to fully gauge the value of your activity. It is highly recommended you pay close attention to the support material you choose to make sure it offers the best support for your application.

    In a competitive funding round support material will give the assessors a more detailed understanding of your project.

    Your choice of support material should help to demonstrate the 4 assessment criteria: quality, reach, good planning and financial responsibility, as well as how your project will meet the objectives of the program. (See How will my application be assessed).

    Support material summary

    • Text — maximum 20 A4 pages
    • Images — maximum 10
    • Audio/video — maximum 12 minutes.

    Recommended support material

    • Evidence of Aboriginal community agency and governance in project — evidence that the Aboriginal organisations and people involved in the project are guiding the direction of the project. This evidence can also show why the project is needed at this time and what it will mean for the people involved. This evidence may be in the form of videos, audio, letter or email of support from Elders, youth, families or community organisations involved.
    • Activity planning and background  provide evidence of activity planning and any relevant background information. Show the valuable skills and services of key people involved in the project. Explain relationships with partners identified in this project to show how the activity will inspire leadership and empower action towards design and delivery of activity for community. This evidence may be in the form of timelines, cultural safety and mental health plans, documentation of past projects, background to key relationships, maps of activity locations.
    • Quotes for major expenditure  including quotes can show the assessors that the information about major expenses in your budget (such as regional transport or specialised equipment) is realistic and reasonable.

    Further details regarding the support material items can be found below.

    Please note:

    • The support material formats and limits are requested to ensure equality between applications in competitive programs.
    • If you exceed the support material limits, the assessors will only watch, listen or read up to the specified limit.
    • Files and links in ineligible formats will be deactivated and not viewed by the assessor.
    • Formats that will not be viewed include: .pages, .zip, .excel, MP3s (or similar) and .eml (however screenshots of emails converted to PDF are okay).
    • Links to support material using file sharing services such as Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive will not be viewed.
    • Weblinks to text and image information online will not be viewed.
    • Where possible, please only upload one document or file per support material type.
    • Items of support material cannot exceed 5 MB file size.
    • As an Online Grants portal user, you must upload your support materials with your online application.

    Types of accepted support material you may provide:

    Text

    Maximum 20 A4 pages of text, in PDF or Word format. Preferably in one single document. (maximum file size 5 MB. All text must be legible at 100%). Note: weblinks are not accepted.

    Examples of material
    • applicant CVs, biographies or profiles for key creative or artistic personnel
    • participant confirmation*
    • quotes for major expenditure items/confirmation of fees*
    • letters of peer/industry support (external to your activity)
    • reviews, media reports or articles on your previous work
    • evidence of confirmed events, activities or appointments*
    • confirmation of consultation and/or support from the target community/participants, such as Aboriginal communities or young people
    • evidence of significant Aboriginal involvement, participation and decision making (where required)
    • marketing, promotional or activity plan/s
    • synopsis of proposed text/script
    • curatorial statement
    • director’s notes
    • invitations to present, perform, exhibit or showcase*
    • extracts of literary manuscripts, play scripts or other writing samples
    • publishing samples
    • product catalogue
    • safety and contingency plan (for example COVID-19 contingency plan).

    *Can include multiple screenshots of emails and quotes. We suggest taking a screenshot of the essential information and pasting up to 4 per A4 page so they are still legible when viewed at 100%.

    Images

    Maximum 10 images in one PDF or Word document or up to 10 image files (maximum file size 5 MB with one line of text caption permitted for each image). Note: weblinks are not accepted.

    Examples of material 

    Examples of previous work or activities.

    Audio and video

    Maximum 4 links to audio and video content not exceeding 12 minutes combined listening or viewing time.

    Audio and/or video files must be uploaded to file streaming sites like Vimeo, YouTube, Bandcamp or SoundCloud that do not require a log-in to access. Do not use Spotify.

    You can find instructions on how to use these sites at the following links:

    Examples of material
    • examples of previous work or activities
    • interviews, recordings, or presentations that support your activity
    • a recorded explanation of your proposed project
    • testimonials of support for the project.

    Draft review

    Applicants to Connecting to Country can request a draft review when the application is complete. Check the key dates calendar for the draft review deadline.

    You are strongly encouraged to make the request for a draft review well before the deadline to give staff enough time to provide feedback as well as time for you to update your application on receipt of the review.

    Contact onlinegrantsupportca@dlgsc.wa.gov.au if you require assistance requesting a draft review in Online Grants.

    How will my application be assessed?

    Applications will be assessed by a panel of Aboriginal people and industry experts with backgrounds in the arts, culture, heritage and community development. 

    All applications are assessed against the program’s objectives and the following 4 criteria: 

    1. quality
    2. reach
    3. good planning
    4. financial responsibility.

    Each has a subset of dimensions and weightings which can be found below.

    More information about the dimensions and definitions, which have been developed by artists and creatives representing their sector, can be found in the application manual.

    You are not expected to address all dimensions and definitions, only those most relevant to your application. 

    Your activity must meet at least one of the objectives of the program to be successful. Assessors will consider your application against the relevant dimensions and allocate a weighted score for each of the four criteria.

    Final approval of successful applications depends on available budget and approval by the Minister or delegated authority.

    Quality

    Dimensions of quality

    Relevance, timeliness, importance, cultural authenticity, originality, innovation, cultural knowledge, community designed, self-determination.

    Weighting 30%

    Definition

    Quality may be demonstrated by, but not limited to: examples of previous projects, community and cultural support, timeliness of the work and a strong history in your area of activity. It may also be demonstrated through the knowledge, skills and expertise of the people involved in the activity, the alignment of those skills and knowledge to deliver the project, how critical the project is for cultural knowledge preservation or transfer, or community wellbeing impact.

    Reach

    Dimensions of reach

    Intergenerational impact, community and cultural impact, collaboration, preservation and documentation, legacy of project, access to community and future generations.

    Weighting 30%

    Definition

    Reach is demonstrated by the ability of the project to facilitate intergenerational transmission of culture and knowledge to young people, support the development of youth leadership skills and promote cultural leadership and capacity building.

    It also refers to the legacy of the project; how significant cultural or historical information is recorded, archived or preserved for access by current and future generations.

    Good planning

    Dimensions of good planning

    Realistic, achievable, considered, demonstrated research and/or consultation, evaluation.

    Weighting 20%

    Definition

    Good planning refers to the level of consideration which has been given to practically undertaking the activity. Good planning can be demonstrated by, but not limited to; carefully considered preparation, confirmation of key personnel, a realistic timeline and achievable outcomes, documented research and/or consultation and a process of evaluation

    Financial responsibility

    Dimensions of financial responsibility

    Value, comprehensive budget.

    Weighting 20%

    Definition

    Financial responsibility refers to the sound management of the budget. Financial responsibility can be demonstrated by but is not limited to; efficient use of resources, reasonable expenses, an accurate and comprehensive budget and that other sources of income have been considered and included where appropriate.

    Acquittal report

    If you’re successful you will be required to fill in an acquittal report when your activity has finished. An acquittal report details your activity and how you spent the grant. The acquittal report will be available for you to access in Online Grants once a copy of your signed funding agreement has been received.

    Your acquittal report must be submitted within 90 days of the activity completion date as specified in the funding agreement.

    You will need to attach relevant documents, images and videos that substantiate the delivery of the activity and that may demonstrate the impact and outcomes achieved.

    The report will also include your activity budget and you will be required to enter all the actual figures against each budget item and add any additional items not in the original budget. Variations between budget and actual figures are acceptable; however, you must provide an explanation for large variations in the Notes for that item. As you enter actual figures, the activity profit/loss will be automatically updated and displayed at the top of the financial information page.

    The funding acquittal report also includes the option to provide feedback to help us to continually review and improve the service we provide.

    Assistance for applicants

    More information on how to apply can be found in the application manual.

    Project officers are available via telephone and email to answer queries about applications and suitability of activities to specific programs.

    If you need extra assistance due to disability, language barriers or any other factor that may disadvantage you in completing your application, please contact us.

    The advice provided by project officers does not guarantee the success of your application.

    Due to the high number of applications received, each funding round is highly competitive.

    All applications are considered on their own merits and against the assessment criteria and program objectives.

    Contact us

    Online Grants portal technical support

    For assistance using Online Grants or to report any related technical issues, contact the Online Grants Support Team: onlinegrantsupportca@dlgsc.wa.gov.au

    Project officers

    For enquiries relating to this funding program, including advice or assistance with your application, contact a project officer:
    Telephone 61 8 6552 7400
    Toll Free (Country WA callers only) 1800 634 541
    Email grantsprogramsca@dlgsc.wa.gov.au

    Assistance for people with disability

    The department is committed to supporting applicants with disability. Information can be provided in alternative formats (large print, electronic or Braille) upon request.

    If you require special assistance in preparing your application, please call 61 8 6552 7400 or toll free for regional WA callers on 1800 634 541.

    Family, friends, mentors and/or carers can attend meetings with you.

    If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, contact us through one of the following:

    Interpreting assistance

    For interpreting assistance in languages other than English, telephone the Translation and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50 and ask for a connection to 6552 7400 or 1800 634 541.

    Regional applicants

    Toll Free (Country WA callers only): 1800 634 541.

    Email the project officers: grantsprogramsca@dlgsc.wa.gov.au

    Page reviewed 31 October 2023