- When will applications to the Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund (the Fund) close?
There will be two application intakes under the Fund.
The first intake will close at 4pm AEDT on Friday 17 December 2021. This intake will accommodate projects that are application ready. A decision on these applications is expected in March 2022.
The second intake will close at 4pm AEDT on Thursday 31 March 2022. This intake will accommodate projects that states and territories require additional time to select. A decision on these applications is expected in June 2022.
- When can successful applicants commence their project?
We will consider projects where an investment decision was made on 15 April 2021 or later, including projects where construction has commenced from that date. At the Environment Ministers Meeting on 15 April 2021, states and territories agreed in-principle to ‘support further organic waste processing capacity and capability to address current gaps in partnership with the Australian Government’ and a roll out of food organics and garden organics (FOGO) waste collection services in partnership with the Commonwealth to address current gaps in waste collection streams.
If a state or territory government and their industry partner/s choose to commence their project prior to a decision on their application, they do so at their own risk. The Commonwealth is not responsible for any expenditure incurred on a project if it is not supported under the Fund.
- What is the minimum and maximum funding that will be awarded to a project under the Fund?
There are no minimum or maximum project funding limits. Funding will be awarded based on the strength of applications. However, the rankings may be overlaid to achieve an overall mix of projects that represent:
- a geographical spread across Australian jurisdictions
- a diversity in project types (i.e. innovative), especially those that increase resilience in markets
- consortium projects that address cross-jurisdictional gaps.
- How will funding be disbursed across states and territories?
There is no state and territory allocation under the Fund. As above, applications from governments will be assessed on their merit and funds awarded to those projects that best meet the assessment criteria, including the diversity considerations.
- What can Commonwealth funding be used for?
The Commonwealth’s funding can only be used for costs directly associated with the project including:
- salaries for staff working directly on the project
- project management
- market development where the activity is part of an infrastructure project and supports development of sustainable markets for a completed facility.
The state or territory government and industry partner/investor contributions to the project can pay for the activities listed above and infrastructure, project or operational costs including:
- in-kind contributions
- purchase of land
- routine or cyclical maintenance works
- ongoing operational costs such as, but not limited to, salaries, electricity, water and other utilities
- costs of equipment not dedicated to the project purpose
- pre-construction (site preparation) activities such as site clearing, earthworks or site accessibility works
- the repair of facilities damaged by vandalism, fire or natural disasters where the damage should be covered by insurance
- business case development
- feasibility studies
- contingency costs.
- What kinds of projects are expected to be funded?
The following is a list of project examples. The list is not exhaustive and other projects will be considered. Please contact the department for advice on eligibility of projects.
- A new FOGO recycling facility with funding for construction of a building, purchase of sorting and decontamination equipment, construction of yards to allow composting, bagging equipment and storage space.
- Upgrades to an existing facility to incorporate new contamination identification and removal capability to meet current Australian Standards and state or territory guidelines and adapt to changes to standards and guidelines.
- Upgrades to an existing facility to increase capacity to improve the quality of recycled organic products and to expand markets from domestic to agriculture including market development activities to support the expansion.
- New equipment purchases and installation (including building modifications) at an existing garden organics recycling facility to accommodate food organics.
- New equipment purchases and installation (including building modifications) at an existing Anaerobic Digestion facility to integrate the creation of recycled organic products from digestate.
- A new (or upgrades to an existing) facility to create biochar from organic wastes.
- Why are mixed waste facilities not eligible for funding?
Facilities that process mixed waste (e.g mixed waste organic outputs (MWOO) and mechanical biological treatment facilities) are not consistent with governments’ commitments to standardise kerbside source separated Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) systems nationally. Facilities supported under the Fund must process source separated organics.
For the avoidance of doubt:
- organics must be separated from non-organics regardless of origin
- facilities that currently produce MWOO are eligible for funding if the proposed project will adapt the facility to process source separated organics.
- What types of organic processing infrastructure will be considered under the Fund?
Other than infrastructure specifically ruled out in the guidelines, any project that diverts organic waste from landfill and creates, as one of its outputs, a recycled organic product to improve soils will be eligible.
- What kind of organic input is allowed?
The Fund will consider all organic inputs that would otherwise go to landfill that can be processed into composts and soil enhancers that have beneficial properties to soil health.
Projects that propose using recycled organic products that have an unacceptable physical, chemical or organic contaminant risk will not be competitive. In applying for the Fund, facilities must be able to demonstrate that all contaminants can be identified and removed so that the recycled organic product produced meets the Australian Standards and/or state and territory guidelines, whichever is more stringent. This includes, for example, biosolids and wastewater.
Projects that cannot demonstrate adequate decontamination measures will not be competitive.
- Who will assess applications?
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (the department) will establish a panel comprising Australian Government representatives and independent technical experts to assess applications. The panel will assess applications against the assessment criteria and make a recommendation on which projects to fund.
The panel may request clarifying information from applicants as part of the selection process.
- Who will decide which projects receive funding?
The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment, will make the decision on which projects receive funding.
- Is a separate letter required for each application to confirm support of the responsible state or territory minister?
Where there are multiple applications from one state or territory, the responsible minister may provide one letter confirming support for all proposed projects. The letter must identify each project supported, and confirmation of the state or territory funding to be contributed.
If the closing date of applications does not align with a state or territory government budget process required to confirm funding, the ministerial letter must at a minimum confirm support for the project/s, the amount of funding pending approval through the relevant budget process and the date when funding is expected to be approved. Funding will need to be confirmed as approved prior to execution of the schedule to the Federation Funding Agreement – Environment (FFA-E).
- What evidence is required to confirm private industry participant or investor support for a project?
A letter signed by an authorised representative from the organisation (board CEO or equivalent) confirming the project is supported and the cash and in-kind to be contributed to the project is required.
- Are councils eligible industry partners?
Yes, councils are considered an industry partner for the purposes of the Fund.
- Are state/territory funded water corporations an eligible industry partner?
Water corporations are an eligible industry partner under the Fund. However, they must be able to confirm in the application that the proposed project diverts organic waste that would otherwise go to landfill AND produces outputs that can be safely used on soils, noting one of the desired outcomes of the fund is to improve the quality, safety and consistency of recycled organic waste, especially for use in the agricultural industry. Applicants should also understand that projects that propose using recycled organic products that have an unacceptable physical, chemical or organic contaminant risk will not be competitive.
- What reporting will successful applicants be required to provide to demonstrate project progress?
Projects and associated funding will be confirmed for each successful state and territory government in a schedule to the FFA-E. It is anticipated that projects will have one milestone to report against each year. Agreement on milestones will form part of schedule negotiations with successful applicants. Reports are likely to be due in the 1st quarter of each calendar year.
- How will funds be paid to successful applicants?
It is expected one payment will be made from the Commonwealth to a state or territory government each year under the negotiated schedules to the FFA-E.
- When will funds become available?
Provision and timing of Commonwealth funding will be negotiated as part of the schedule to the FFA-E. Applicant contributions will need to be available to meet project expenditure requirements.
- Will there be an opportunity to apply for the $10 million allocated to the Fund’s supporting elements?
An application round will not be held. This funding will be used by the department to implement the supporting measures.
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- Phone: 02 5156 3314