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Regional Job Creation Fund

Please read the Regional Job Creation Fund Program Guidelines for information on the program.

When an applicant is invited to submit a detailed application (in stage 2 of the application process), they will be paired with a local Business Development Manager from the Department of Regional NSW, who can provide guidance with the application process.

Applicants are strongly advised to consult with their Business Development Manager when developing applications.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is an engine industry?

An industry driving growth in a regional economy. Typically, engine industries produce goods or services traded outside of their specific region.

  • What is an emerging engine industry?

An industry that is not a significant driver of growth but has employment rates increasing faster than surrounding industries in the region and/or has high potential to drive future growth.

  • What is an enabling industry?

An industry providing specialised inputs to engine industries, for example vocational education, specialised maintenance, and repair and utilities.

  • Where can I find a description of an engine, emerging engine or enabling industry in my project location?

Engine and enabling industries, and emerging sectors, are listed in the relevant Regional Economic Development Strategy.

  • What are Regional Economic Development Strategies?

They are the economic development strategy for a region and usually incorporate more than one local council area. They have been developed by the NSW Government together with local councils. They can be found here and simultaneously viewed with the Local Government Area listing.

  • Which Regional Economic Development Strategy applies to my proposed project area?

The Regional Economic Development Strategies align with a Local Government Area (LGA). View the LGA listing here.

  • How do I demonstrate my business has the skills and capacity to deliver the project?

Applicants should provide information on any previous capital works or similar scale projects the business has undertaken, or any relevant experience in growing the business. Tell us about the experience and skills of key staff, contractors or consultants delivering the project.

  • How can I demonstrate my business is financially viable and is likely to remain so?

When invited to submit a full application (Stage 2 of the assessment process), a business will be asked to provide three years of financial statements and to complete a datasheet showing financial details for the project. This information will be considered in the assessment.

  • If I haven’t operated my business for three years, can I still apply?

A business can still apply if it has operated for less than three years but the applicant will need to provide evidence of financial viability and a justification why three years of financial statements cannot be provided. Strong experience of key staff involved in the project and evidence of alignment with the overall objective of the program and other criteria will also need to be provided.

There is a significant risk an application will not be approved if the evidence provided to the Department of Regional NSW is not strong.

  • I have started my project; can I still apply for funding?

No. Under the Program Guidelines an applicant must show the business investment would not take place in regional NSW without NSW Government assistance.

  • Our project intends to introduce new technology to Australia. Will there be additional approvals required?

The grant does not override normal development and regulatory approval processes. When considering project and job creation milestones in your application, approval timelines must be considered.

Please consult your allocated Business Development Manager who can provide introductions to other government agencies.

  • What can be used as an in-kind co-contribution?

The Program Guidelines require a 50 per cent cash co-contribution. In-kind co-contributions will only be considered in extenuating circumstances. Extenuating circumstances will be considered on a case by case basis.

There is a significant risk an application will not be approved if there is not a 50 per cent cash co-contribution.

Please consult your allocated Business Development Manager about consideration of non-cash contributions to the project and your business circumstances.

  • Can I claim apprentices and trainees (other supported employees) as part of the new job mix?

Yes. When invited to submit a full application, applicants will be provided with compulsory documentation including a datasheet. This requires the identification of the types of jobs being created including apprentices and trainees.

Where the wage costs of apprentices and trainees are being supported by other Government funding, this should be noted in the application. In this case, only part of the employee cost may be counted in the grant cost per job calculation as outputs and outcomes already funded from other programs are not eligible for funding.

  • If I have received other NSW Government assistance towards this project, can I apply for this fund?

No – not for direct funding of the same project.

There are other programs available to support businesses to deliver projects already funded by the NSW Government, for example training or regional relocation grants. Please talk to your allocated Regional NSW Business Development Manager about these opportunities.

  • If I have received Australian Government assistance towards this project, can I apply for this fund?

Projects already receiving other funding for the same outputs and outcomes are not eligible. However, applications can be made for project outputs and outcomes not covered by existing government grant agreements.

  • When will the grant payments be made to my business?

There will be performance-based milestone payments defined in a funding deed. Typically, there will be a share of the grant paid up front with subsequent payments based on project and/or employment creation milestones.

All grant payments will be made by June 2022.

  • What happens if I can’t complete the requirements of the program?

Performance-based milestone payments will not be made to the business.

Failure to deliver employment outcomes up to three years from signing the funding deed will mean grant payments already received will need to be returned in part or whole.

Webinar - Frequently asked questions

Applicant Eligibility
  • Does an applicant need to be an existing entity operating for a certain period?

There is no set time period and the applicant can be a newly created entity. Evidence of financial viability will need to be provided at the Detailed Application stage of the assessment process, in the form of financial statements (trading, profit and loss statements and balance sheets) for three continuous years starting from the latest available year, or other evidence of financial viability if statements are not available, for example a signed statement from an external accountant.

  • For small businesses to meet the minimum five job criteria, is a consortium application possible?

Applicants can submit a joint application for a single project, but a lead applicant will need to be nominated. If the application is successful, the lead applicant will enter into the funding deed and be ultimately responsible for the project.

  • Are local government organisations eligible to apply?

No, local government organisations are ineligible.

  • Are not for profit organisations eligible to apply for funding?

Yes, if they otherwise meet the eligible applicant requirements included in the Program Guidelines.

  • Can statutory authority organisations apply?

No, statutory authority organisations are ineligible.

  • Are there any limits on the revenues or size of the applicant company?

No, businesses in engine, enabling and emerging engine industries of any size or revenue amount are eligible to apply. Please refer to the relevant Regional Economic Development Strategy to identify the eligible industries for your region.

  • Are international businesses eligible to apply?

Yes, however international businesses will need to have an Australian Business Number, be registered for Goods and Services Tax, have at least A$20 million in public liability insurance and be an eligible entity type to enter into a funding deed if they are successful.

  • Is an ASX listed company eligible?

Yes, if it is one of the entity types listed in the Program Guidelines and meets other eligibility requirements.

  • Is one business able to make two applications for two separate projects?

Yes, however as grant funds are limited, companies are encouraged to prioritise their applications.

  • Can religious organisations apply?

Yes, if they otherwise meet the eligible applicant requirements included in the Program Guidelines.

  • Can sole traders apply?

Yes, if they otherwise meet the eligible applicant requirements included in the Program Guidelines.

Job Creation
  • How does the Regional Job Creation Fund assist businesses that are having difficulty filling vacant positions?

The NSW Government’s Regional Skills Relocation Grants may be of assistance to businesses in eligible industries seeking to relocate employees from a metropolitan area to regional NSW.

  • What is the comparison date for demonstrating FTE growth, is it the date of the application?

The growth in FTE employees will be calculated from the date the grant funding is awarded. While projects must be completed and grant funds spent by June 2022, successful applicants will have up to three years from the date the funding deed is signed to achieve the agreed employment outcomes.

  • How are job creation numbers calculated? Are direct and indirect jobs included?

The project must create at least five (5) new, direct FTE jobs. The forecast increase in jobs delivered by the project must be achieved within three years of signing the grant funding deed. The increase in FTE positions will be measured against the number of FTE positions employed by the applicant at the time the grant funding is awarded and the information contained in the application.

  • Is seasonal employment considered?

Seasonal employees are eligible to be counted towards new jobs created. The duration of their employment must be converted to FTE and the requirement for the project to create at least five new FTE positions will apply.

  • Do the jobs have to be created and in place for a certain amount of time prior to the end of the project (e.g. June 2022)?

Projects must be complete and grant funds spent no later than June 2022. Employment outcomes may be achieved over a three-year period from signing the funding deed but must be in place for at least six continuous months before the thee-year period ends; recognising the jobs may not be realised immediately on completion of the project.

  • How is the $20,000 job funding calculated, is it on the total project cost or grant amount?

$20,000 per new job created through the project is the maximum grant amount that may be requested. Applicants are encouraged to consider what is needed for their project and all aspects of the program eligibility and assessment criteria to determine the amount of grant funding and co-contribution in their application. The applicant and other non-NSW Government cash co-contributions to the project must be at least 50 per cent of the total project cost.

  • Do construction jobs for new infrastructure projects count?

Jobs created during the project construction period do not count towards the new FTE positions, but they do count in the economic analysis so should be noted in the application.

  • Do jobs need to be full time ongoing or are part time jobs included in the assessment?

Part time jobs are eligible but need to be converted to FTE, and the requirement of at least five FTE positions will apply.

  • Do the employees have to reside in the same region?

The jobs must be created in regional NSW.

  • Do casuals count as workers?

The objective of the program is to support projects creating new, ongoing jobs in regional NSW. To be counted towards the minimum five FTE job creation requirement in the Program Guidelines, the jobs need to be in place for six months before the final report under the funding deed is due.

  • Can the $10,000 Regional Skills Relocation Grant also be used for the new positions created by a project?

Yes, new positions may be eligible to receive the Regional Skills Relocation Grant (RSRG) if they meet all the eligibility requirements of the scheme. Note that there is a limited funding pool for RSRG.

  • Are jobs created by other businesses counted in the assessment?

No. The five new FTE jobs created must be directly employed by the applicant (or joint applicants).

  • Is the $20,000 cap per FTE job created or per employee?

The cap is for each FTE job created.

  • How long do the new positions created need to last for?

The objective of the program is to support projects creating new, ongoing jobs in regional NSW. Successful applicants will be required to complete the project and spend grant funds by June 2022 at the latest. Employment outcomes may be achieved over a three-year period from signing the funding deed but must be in place for at least six continuous months before the thee-year period ends. Reporting obligations will conclude three-years from when the funding deed is signed.

  • If the project is based in regional NSW, can you employ people across Australia?

The new jobs created must be based in regional NSW.

Project Eligibility
  • Are projects in the independent brewing sector eligible?

Where a project relates to the independent brewing sector, projects must address program criteria, including alignment with the relevant Regional Economic Development Strategy and the impact on NSW competitors. To be considered strategically aligned, applicants must demonstrate how the project:

    • Implements innovation in products, production or business processes;
    • Increases export sales or expansion into export markets; and
    • Is not primarily intended to achieve tourism outcomes.
  • Are projects in the meat processing sector eligible?

Where a project relates to the meat processing sector, projects must address program criteria, including alignment with the relevant Regional Economic Development Strategy and the impact on NSW competitors. To be considered strategically aligned, applicants must demonstrate how the project:

    • Implements innovation in value adding, products or production processes;
    • Increases export sales or expansion into export markets; and/or
    • Creates efficiencies in the supply chain, benefitting multiple businesses in the sector.
  • Are projects in the agricultural sector eligible?

Where a project relates to the agricultural sector, projects must address program criteria, including alignment with the relevant Regional Economic Development Strategy and the impact on NSW competitors. To be considered strategically aligned, applicants must demonstrate how the project:

    • Implements innovation in value adding, products or production processes;
    • Increases export sales or expansion into export markets; and/or
    • Creates efficiencies in the supply chain, benefitting multiple businesses in the sector.
  • Are projects in the viticulture sector eligible?

Where a project relates to the viticulture sector, projects must address program criteria, including alignment with the relevant Regional Economic Development Strategy and the impact on NSW competitors. To be considered strategically aligned, applicants must demonstrate how the project:

    • Implements innovation in value adding, products or production processes;
    • Increases export sales or expansion into export markets; and/or
    • Creates efficiencies in the supply chain, benefitting multiple businesses in the sector.

Projects which are exclusively to increase bottling capacity will not generally be considered to be aligned with the above.

For viticulture projects primarily targeting tourism outcomes, to be strategically aligned applicants must demonstrate the project addresses an identifiable gap in tourism infrastructure in the region, and that it will lead to increased inter-state and international overnight tourism.

  • Is an accommodation-based expansion project for a major tourism attraction an eligible project?

Accommodation projects will generally not meet the competitive neutrality requirement but may be considered where the proposal is unique to the existing market. Applicants are encouraged to consult a NSW Government Business Development Manager before submitting an application - phone 1300 679 673 or email regionalnsw.business@regional.nsw.gov.au

  • Can the grant be used for equipment after the equipment has already been purchased?

No, grants cannot be for equipment that has already been purchased.

  • Are Agri tourism - farm camping experiences eligible projects?

Accommodation projects will generally not meet the competitive neutrality requirement of the program guidelines.

  • Is an aircraft maintenance business an eligible applicant/industry?

Prospective applicants should refer to the Regional Economic Development Strategy for their area to determine the engine and enabling industries in a region; or consult with a NSW Government Business Development Manager before applying – phone 1300 679 673 or email regionalnsw.business@regional.nsw.gov.au. View the Regional Economic Development Strategies.

  • Are grants available for land development, education or health projects?

Eligible projects must align with existing NSW Government strategies such as the Regional Economic Development Strategies for small regions. Generally residential housing construction, education and health projects will be excluded as they are population serving industries.

  • Are companies relocating from metro to regional eligible?

Yes, relocating operations to regional NSW is eligible.

  • Is the Blue Mountains an eligible location? What does Sydney metro cover, as an ineligible area?

No, the Blue Mountains is considered part of the Greater Sydney area, as are the Wollondilly and Hawkesbury Local Government Areas.

  • Is Albion Park an eligible location?

Yes, Albion Park is eligible as it is in the Shellharbour Local Government Area.

  • If your office is in a metro location or interstate, yet the net benefits will be realised in a regional NSW area, are you eligible to apply?

Yes, if the jobs created are in a regional NSW area.

  • If the funding is being used for infrastructure, are there any restrictions on the ownership model of the future infrastructure?

No. Successful applicants will be required to commit to delivering the project scope and additional jobs as detailed in the funding deed. Depending on the structure, additional commitments, such as guarantees, may be required.

  • If a project is already underway but at very early stage which may take up to 7 ‐ 10 years to build, is it excluded?

Applicants are required to demonstrate the project would not occur in regional NSW at all or in the same timeframe without government investment. If funding will allow a stage to be brought forward from year five to year one, it may be eligible.

  • Does the project have to be in line with what a region wants to develop?

The project must align with the relevant Regional Economic Development Strategy and/or other relevant NSW Government policies or strategies, such as the 20-Year Economic Vision for Regional NSW.

  • Can you please explain the difference between an 'engine' industry and an 'enabling' industry? Also, can you please give some detail on types/breadth of enabling industries?

Engine and enabling industries are defined in the Regional Economic Development Strategies which have been developed for Functional Economic Regions throughout NSW. View the Regional Economic Development Strategies.

  • Accommodation is specifically excluded in the Program Guidelines but tourism is specifically included. Does that mean it must be a tourism attraction as opposed to tourism accommodation?

Accommodation projects will generally not meet the requirement for competitive neutrality. Other tourism related infrastructure may be eligible if strategic alignment can be demonstrated.

  • Some customised manufacturing equipment takes three to six months to build. If a deposit is paid to commence an equipment order, can that equipment purchase still be included as eligible expenditure?

Projects should not have commenced prior to an offer of grant funding being made. Applicants will have until June 2022 to expend grant funds.

  • Does the support only relate to new projects as opposed to early stage planned projects?

Applicants are required to demonstrate the project would not occur in regional NSW at all or in the same timeframe without government investment.

  • Do disability projects qualify?

Projects forecasting to create new positions targeting employment of people with a disability are eligible if other eligibility criteria are also met.

  • Is refurbishment of facilities an eligible project?

Refurbishment projects are eligible if the applicant can demonstrate that at least five new FTE positions will be created (not including construction period jobs), and other eligibility criteria are met.

  • Please provide further information about the Special Activation Precincts

Further information about Special Activation Precincts is available at nsw.gov.au/snowy-hydro-legacy-fund/special-activation-precincts

  • Are improving manufacturing processes and/or training for higher skilled jobs on new technologies eligible projects?

Investment in new technology or improving manufacturing processes are eligible projects if they will create at least five new FTE jobs. Training employees to use new machinery or technology is an eligible cost if it is directly related to the project and if the expenditure is incurred within the program period (i.e. by June 2022 at the latest) and is not supported by other NSW or Australian Government Funding (e.g. Smart and Skilled).

Co-contribution
  • Are grants only available if a company can match the amount granted?

The applicant and other non-NSW Government cash co-contributions to the project must be at least 50 per cent of the total project cost. Cash co-contributions of less than 50 per cent or that include in-kind contributions may be considered in extenuating circumstances.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to discuss their project with a Department of Regional NSW Business Development Manager before applying – phone 1300 679 673 or email regionalnsw.business@regional.nsw.gov.au

  • Can the 50 per cent co‐contribution from the applicant include staff wages to deliver the project?

Generally ongoing staff wages and salaries are not an eligible project cost. Applicants can consult with their local NSW Government Business Development Manager to clarify the eligibility of aspects of their project - phone 1300 679 673 or email regionalnsw.business@regional.nsw.gov.au

  • Will a bank loan be considered an eligible co‐contribution?

Yes, loan funds are eligible as a co-contribution.

  • Can the applicant co‐contribution be sourced from other government funding (e.g. Australian Government)?

Yes, however projects already receiving funding for the same outputs and outcomes are not eligible. Applications can be made for project outputs and outcomes not covered by existing government grant agreements.

  • Is the 50 per cent contribution for infrastructure works further limited by the limit on NSW Government investment of $20,000 for every job created?

Both criteria need to be met (unless under certain circumstances).

If the project cost is $400,000 and will create 10 FTE positions, then the applicant may choose to apply for the maximum NSW Government contribution of $20,000 per job (i.e. $200,000). However, if the project cost is $500,000 and 10 FTE positions will be created, then the applicant should note the maximum NSW Government contribution of $20,000 per job will mean the maximum request will be $200,000, with a co-contribution of $300,000 from the applicant.

The amount of grant funds requested, relative to the number of jobs created and the level of co-contribution are also relevant to the Return on Government Investment and Affordability Assessment Criteria. Prospective applicants are encouraged to discuss their project with a Department of Regional NSW Business Development Manager before applying – phone 1300 679 673 or email regionalnsw.business@regional.nsw.gov.au

  • What is the nature of the 50 per cent cash contribution? Can it be a bank loan or cash and what is the security needed?

The co-contribution can be cash reserves or a loan. Applicants will be required to confirm their co-contribution to the project at the Detailed Application stage of the assessment process.

Grant Administration
  • Is there a possibility of an extension to the latest date projects can be completed?

No, projects must be completed and grant funds spent by June 2022. However, successful applicants will have up to three years from the date the funding deed is signed to achieve the agreed employment outcomes.

  • How will the grant funds be paid? For example, will it be on a milestone basis or on completion of project?

Payments will be on the achievement of milestones. Successful applicants will need to provide evidence of job creation. A sample funding deed is available on the program’s website.

  • Will receipt of a grant under the Regional Job Creation Fund impact the R&D tax incentive?

Applicants and potential applicants are encouraged to seek professional advice about the potential tax impact of a grant.

  • How soon will I receive a response to my application?

Applicants will be notified of the outcome within seven working days of lodgement of a Preliminary Application and within 12 weeks of lodgement of a complete Detailed Application, at the NSW Government’s discretion.

  • How can I find out the contact details for my local NSW Government Business Development Manager?

Phone 1300 679 673 or email regionalnsw.business@regional.nsw.gov.au

  • Will the program remain open until all the money has been distributed?

The program will remain open until funding has been fully allocated or until 5pm on Friday 14 May 2021, whichever occurs first.

  • Is the funding a share in equity, a grant or a loan?

The funding is a grant.

  • What other forms of support are offered for small businesses together with this grant opportunity? For example, employment services and/or development support? How does the Government assist small business development along with the grant funding?

The NSW Government Small Business Commissioner coordinates a range of resources for small businesses, which are available at smallbusiness.nsw.gov.au

  • Would the Department separately consider loan funds?

The Regional Job Creation Fund is a grant program and not a loan.

NSW-based cooperatives that have been in operation for three or more years may qualify for a loan.

The scheme aims to encourage investment in regional industries that deliver job security and economic growth in regional parts of the state. Further information is available at nsw.gov.au/regional-nsw/nsw-government-cooperative-loan-scheme

  • If you are a lead applicant, is everything administered through your organisation?

Grant payments will be made to the lead applicant. Successful applicants will need to provide evidence of eligible expenditure in order to claim milestone payments. In a joint application eligible expenditure may be incurred by any of the parties to the application.

  • What would happen if COVID‐19 or other unforeseen circumstances resulted in project failure? Would the company have to repay the grant?

The grant may be proportionally reduced if the number of new jobs specified in the funding deed are not realised within three years of the funding deed being signed.

Assessment Criteria
  • How is the Cost Benefit Ratio calculated?

The Cost Benefit Ratio is calculated by the NSW Government based on information provided by applicants at the Detailed Application stage, which is collected on a standard format datasheet. A copy of the datasheet will be provided to applicants approved to proceed to the Detailed Application stage of the assessment process. A video resource on completing the datasheet will also be made available to relevant applicants.

  • I am experiencing some challenges with the project cost and FTE numbers due to the $20,000 per job cap on NSW Government investment. To what extent will the strategic merit and local considerations be considered?

Prospective applicants are encouraged to discuss their project with a Department of Regional NSW Business Development Manager before applying – phone 1300 679 673 or email regionalnsw.business@regional.nsw.gov.au

  • Can you outline your expectations regarding cost‐benefit analysis, including level of analysis, framework adopted, etc? Or provide a contact for a more detailed discussion?

The Cost Benefit Analysis is completed by the NSW Government based on information provided by applicants at the Detailed Application stage, which is collected on a standard format datasheet. A copy of the datasheet will be provided to applicants approved to proceed to the Detailed Application stage. A video resource on completing the datasheet will also be made available to relevant applicants.

Applicants invited to complete a Detailed Application will also be allocated a NSW Government Business Development Manager to assist them in this process.

  • Is there a limit on the amount of grant funds allocated to sectors or geographic areas?

No, although these factors may be considered as part of assessment process. Prospective applicants are encouraged to consult their local NSW Government Business Development Manager and submit applications for eligible projects as soon as practicable.

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