Councils in rural and regional areas of NSW face unique challenges in sustaining their communities and maintaining local services.
The NSW Government is providing up to $4 million in Innovation grants to help rural councils with populations of less than 10,000 explore new ways of working. The Innovation Fund is a targeted program that supports small councils in regional NSW to develop new ideas and innovative ways of working to improve their performance to benefit their communities.
The Innovation Fund is being offered over two rounds, with $2 million available each round.
Round 1 has been completed with 13 projects funded to promote innovation across 19 communities. The projects funded under this round varied in focus from developing and implementing more efficient processes to sharing resources with other councils to using technology to help overcome the challenge of distance.
There was considerable interest in Round One and applications were very competitive. A list of funded projects is available here.
Round Two has been completed with 18 projects funded to promote innovation across 26 communities. The projects include funding for;
- new technology that will allow customers to lodge documents online
- the implementation of a cloud-based financial management system
- improving connectivity between council offices and staff
- the use of drone technology to carry out weed inspections.
A list of funded projects is available here
Further assistance is available by contacting an Office of Local Government (OLG) Relationship Manager.
Alternatively, email One Stop Shop at OneStopShop@fitforthefuture.nsw.gov.au or call OLG on 02 4428 4100 and ask to speak to the relevant Relationship Manager.