About the Regional Grant Opportunity | ACMA

About the Regional Grant Opportunity

Applications for the Regional Grant Opportunity are now closed.  

The Regional Grant Opportunity is an additional program under the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund. It is designed to make residual funding from round one of the Fund (up to $12.4 million) available to regional publishers and online content providers.

Grants are capped at $400,000 per applicant and are subject to the existing condition that the total grant amount awarded to any applicant (including any related bodies corporate) under all grant opportunities in a financial year must not exceed $1 million.

For more information about future rounds, please subscribe to the Innovation Fund e-bulletin

Objectives and outcome

The Regional Grant Opportunity is targeted at regional news publishers who can demonstrate a solid business case to increase the sustainability of their publishing activities, including news gathering, production and distribution.

Its objective is to provide these businesses with financial security in the medium term to allow them to take calculated risks to reorient their business models to adapt to the digital age.

This objective recognises the specific challenges faced by regional publishers, compared to metropolitan publishers, in providing news and public-interest journalism in a sustainable way.

Regional publishers do not have the size and scale to adapt to the changes facing the media industry in the current environment, where the growth of internet-based media and the emergence of new entrants is causing the decline of the advertising and subscription-based funding models for journalism.

Who is eligible?

Grants under the Regional Grant Opportunity are available to publishers and content service providers that produce civic and public-interest journalism with an Australian perspective. The ACMA may make a grant of financial assistance to either:

  • a constitutional corporation (a trading or financial corporation) that publishes a newspaper, magazine or other periodical
  • a content service provider (a person who uses internet infrastructure to supply content services, such as an online news service, to the public).

Applicants must also meet the eligibility criteria, summarised below.

Eligibility criteria

When completing an application, applicants will need to address the eligibility criteria and, in some instances, provide evidence to support their claims.

1. Incorporated company

Applicants must be an incorporated company. This could be:

  • a company incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001
  • a corporation incorporated under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006
  • a company incorporated under another Commonwealth, state or territory law.

2. Australian Business Number and GST registration

Applicants must have an Australian Business Number (ABN) and be registered for GST.

3. Regional publisher

A ‘regional publisher’ is defined as a publisher (or content service provider) whose primary operations are located in a regional commercial radio licence area and whose news and journalistic output is targeted to readers and audiences in one or more regional areas.

For the purposes of this grants program, a ‘regional area’ means a radio broadcast licence area that is not a metropolitan licence area. A ‘metropolitan licence area’ is defined in section 61CA of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 to mean a licence area in which is situated the General Post Office of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth or Adelaide, or the licence area known as Western suburbs Sydney RA1.

A list of eligible postcodes for each state is available on GrantConnect.

What are the merit criteria?

Applicants are required to address how the proposal will meet all three merit criteria, which are equally weighted. To be successful in this program, prospective applicants will need to demonstrate a solid business case to increase their sustainability.

A summary of the merit criteria is below and more information can be found in the Grant Opportunity Guidelines on GrantConnect.

  1. Public-interest journalism

    The applicant is a publisher of public-interest journalism with an Australian perspective.

  2. Editorial policies and complaints-handling

    The applicant has in place a code of conduct, guidelines or similar framework relating to the provision of quality journalism and a robust and transparent process for dealing with complaints about content they publish.

  3. Business case

    The applicant’s proposed business case will increase the sustainability of their business as a regional publisher of public-interest journalism.

The Innovation Fund

The Innovation Fund is a three‑year competitive grants program to support the continuation, development, growth and innovation of Australian civic and public-interest journalism by regional and small publishers.

Find out more

All the information needed to apply, including the application form and the Grant Opportunity Guidelines, can be found on the GrantConnect website.

Subscribe to our e-bulletin

Stay informed by subscribing to the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund e-bulletin.

Get in touch

We’re here to answer your questions. Email us at innovationfund@acma.gov.au or call us on 1300 850 115.

Last updated: 14 June 2019