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Q&A from the Open Applications grant forum

On 11 November 2021, DCJ hosted a forum about the Open Applications grant. This page provides answers to the questions that were asked during the forum.

We've grouped the questions under topics to help you find what you're looking for. You can also use your browser search function to find specific words and terms.

You can print this page using the print function from your web browser.

Q&A categories

1. General

2. JobSaver

3. Clarification of terms

4. Types of organisation and their eligibility

5. Amount of funds required

6. Changes in revenue, operating expenses and demand for services

7. Income and expenditure statements

8. How you can use the funds

9. Social Sector Transformation Fund (SSTF)


1. General

1.1 We submitted an expression of interest. Does it have any relevance to the grant application process?

No, it doesn’t affect your application.

We understand that your circumstances may have changed since September 2021.

1.2 Do the funds have to be spent by 30 April 2022?

Yes. If you require an extension, your organisation must request this from DCJ before 30 April 2022, and you must receive written consent from us.

1.3 Is there an estimated date for successful applicants to be announced?

Successful applicants will be notified from 6 December 2021.

1.4 If we receive funding from DCJ that isn’t JobSaver, can we apply for more funding?

JobSaver is administered by the Department of Customer Service, not DCJ.

You can apply for the Open Applications grant if you’ve received funds from DCJ or elsewhere.

1.5. Have all successful applicants for the Support Fund Select Tender been notified? Have unsuccessful applicants been notified?

Yes, successful and unsuccessful applicants have been notified.

2. JobSaver

2.1 Is Jobsaver still available?

Applications for JobSaver for Not-for-Profit closed on 15 November 2021.

2.2 If we received a one-off JobSaver payment in September, can we still apply for this grant?

Yes. As long as you’re not currently receiving JobSaver or JobSaver for Not-for-Profit payments, you can apply for the Open Applications grant.

2.3 Can we apply for an Open Applications grant if we did receive Jobsaver but payments ceased on 11 October?

Yes. If you’re not currently receiving JobSaver or JobSaver for Not-for-Profit, you are eligible to apply for an Open Applications grant.

2.4 If our organisation has received JobSaver for our Retail Department, can our Service Delivery branch apply for an Open Applications grant? (The two are separate, but share the same ABN.)

No. We consider the whole of the organisation under the same ABN.

However, if your organisation is no longer receiving JobSaver or JobSaver for Not-for-Profit (so you’re not currently receiving either of these payments) you’re eligible to apply for an Open Applications grant.

3. Clarification of terms

3.1 Are the Blue Mountains, Wollongong and the Central Coast considered regional for the purposes of the grant?

Yes. ‘Regional’ means outside of the Greater Sydney metropolitan area.

Importantly, an organisation doesn’t need to be primarily delivering services in regional NSW to be eligible for the grant.

3.2 Is the definition of ‘revenue’ for this grant the same as the definition of ‘turnover’ for JobSaver?

No.

For JobSaver, ‘turnover’ refers to GST turnover, based on an activity statement report.

For the Open Applications grant, ‘revenue’ means income from all sources, including government grants, that stays with the organisation for delivering its services. It doesn’t refer to transitory funds passed on to other service providers.

3.3 Does ‘gradual return to service’ include wages?

Yes, you can use the grant on wages.

However, once you’ve received an Open Applications grant, you can’t apply for funding under the Workforce Contingency grant stream.

The Workforce Contingency grant stream is another component of the Support Fund. It’s targeted at mitigating staffing disruptions during COVID-19, and is only available to some DCJ-contracted organisations.

4. Types of organisation and their eligibility

4.1 Can a not-for-profit apply for the Open Applications grant if they’re not registered with the ACNC or ORIC?

Yes. To be eligible, your organisation must be registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC), the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC), or NSW Fair Trading.

4.2 Many NFPs are incorporated associations, and not registered with the ACNC. If we have evidence of our non-profit status and an incorporation number with Fair Trading, will this make us eligible?

Yes. We’ve updated the SmartyGrants form so you can select that your organisation is registered with NSW Fair Trading.

4.3 Can government agencies like Health apply for this funding?

No. NSW government agencies and local councils can’t apply. An organisation has to be a registered charity or NFP to be eligible.

4.4 NSW Primary Public School Parents and Citizens Inc – not-for-profit charity – are we eligible?

No. While you’re a charity or not-for-profit, the Support Fund is only available to organisations in the social, health, disability and animal welfare sectors. A P&C is part of the education sector.

4.5 Does the Open Applications grant apply to charitable community housing providers (CHPs)?

Yes, as long as they’re a registered charity or NFP.

4.6 Would a tier 1 community housing provider be eligible for this grant?

Yes, as long as they’re a registered charity or NFP.

5. Amount of funds required

5.1 How do we determine the amount of funding we require, to ensure we’re not excluded?

You’re required to provide the best estimate of what your organisation needs and can spend by April 2022.

We expect this to be in line with your financial position, the impact COVID-19 has had on your operations, and the current and forecast demand for your services.

We’ll assess this to allocate funds to each organisation, taking into account the number of eligible applications we’ve received.

5.2 Is the amount of funds we apply for, meant to be based on the change in our revenue and expenses?

We expect the amount to be in line with your financial position, the impact COVID-19 has had on your operations, and the current and forecast demand for your services.

6. Changes in revenue, operating expenses and demand for services

6.1 Do the amounts we enter include the GST component?

No. Make all amounts exclusive of GST.

6.2 Do we need to exclude any JobSaver payments from the revenue amounts?

No. JobSaver payments count as revenue.

6.3 When calculating changes in revenue, expenditure and demand, do we base calculations on the whole organisation? Or can we apply it to a specific part of our business, such as community services?

Base calculations on the whole of your organisation.

6.4 To compare revenue over the two quarters, do we count what has physically come in during that quarter (even if payments due are late) or what we should have gotten, or is it averaged over the year?

Count what’s been paid into your bank account for the quarter.

However, if you received a one-off payment for services to be delivered over multiple quarters, then you can apportion it to the two comparison quarters (April–June 2021 and July–September 2021), and include an explanation in your income and expenditure statement.

For example, if you received a grant for a year-long project, you could include 25% of the amount in each quarter. This would offset the expenditure that occurred in the comparison quarters.

6.5 If there’s not a negative change in revenue but there’s been a very clear increase in demand, are we eligible?

It depends. You have to demonstrate that your increase in demand has been proportionately greater than any change in revenue.

6.6 If we’ve had an increase in revenue from a grant, but the grant agreement states we can only spend the funding on non-frontline services, what do we do if the increase in demand we’re facing is for front line services? Are we eligible?

Yes. If the funding you’ve received to date is tied to one part of your services, and you’re experiencing increased demand in another part, you can apply for the Open Applications grant to address this.

In the SmartyGrants form, in the free text for how demand has changed, ensure you clearly explain the reason.

6.7 Our revenue and expenses remained fairly constant during the lockdowns. Would we be eligible for a grant to increase short-term resourcing to clear our extensive property service backlog of work? As a community housing provider, we’ve accumulated a backlog of services, including property inspections and non-urgent maintenance, due to an inability to attend properties due to lockdowns.

Yes, only if the backlog was caused by COVID-19 and lockdowns.

In the SmartyGrants form, in the free text for how demand has changed, ensure you clearly explain the reason.

6.8 Our revenue declined and our operating expenses decreased, but demand grew. Do we qualify?

Yes. If you were unable to meet service demand because of your net financial position, you can apply.

6.9 Our expenses and revenue both increased March 2021 quarter on September 2020 quarter, but expenses were by 90% and revenue only by 69%. I presume we are eligible?

The comparison period is the June 2021 and September 2021 quarters.

For the comparison quarters, you’re eligible for the Open Applications grant if your net position has left your organisation needing funds to deliver additional services.

6.10 Can we apply for the grant if we’ve suspended services due to a lack of funding, but have a backlog as a result, including increased need for services?

Yes, you can apply for this reason.

6.11 Our income and operating costs decreased due to lockdown, greater than 15% for both, however demand increased, do we still qualify?

Now that JobSaver for Not-for-Profit has closed, you can apply for the Open Applications grant.

6.12 If the revenue for the whole organisation increased by 1% and expenses decreased by 4%, but one business stream for community services decreased for both revenue and expenses as well as the service level as the result of the lockdown; however, with easing of restrictions, the demand will be back to previous level which means increase of demand, are we eligible to apply for the grant?

We’re assessing changes in revenue, operating expenses and demand for services in July–September 2021 compared to April–June 2021, based on the situation for the whole of an organisation, not a particular business area.

6.13 How do we explain the increased demand?

In 100 words or less, clearly explain how demand has changed. For example, for the comparison periods, the number of people you’ve had to turn away, the number of calls you’ve received, or the number of people you have on a waiting list.

7. Income and expenditure statements

7.1 Do income and expenditure statements need to be audited or verified by an accountant? Can our Treasurer or other staff submit an Excel spreadsheet or similar?

The income and expenditure statement doesn’t need to be audited or verified by an accountant.

You can submit an Excel spreadsheet with clear line items, but we’d prefer it in PDF format.

7.2 Do the income and expenditure statements need to reflect funding received or realised in the quarter? For example, if a $100,000 payment was received from a funder in a quarter, but is meant to fund activities over 12 months, do we show the $100,000 received in the applicable quarter or only $25,000 as it specifically relates to the quarter?

Show revenue of $25,000 for each quarter, to offset the expenditure for the two quarters, and include an explanation in your income and expenditure statement.

7.3 My organisation receives no ongoing DCJ funding, only annual or bi-annual payments from other funders. So one quarter may be very inflated while other quarters have no income at all. How do we account for this?

Count what’s been paid into your bank account for the quarter.

However, if you received a one-off payment for services to be delivered over multiple quarters, then you can apportion it to the two comparison quarters (April–June 2021 and July–September 2021), and include an explanation in your income and expenditure statement.

For example, if you received a grant for a year-long project, you could include 25% of the amount in each quarter. This would offset the expenditure that occurred in the comparison quarters.

7.4 For the income statement that needs to be attached to this application, how do we extract funding that’s been received in a lump sum? We recognise the funding when it’s received, based on the accounting standards.

Count what’s been paid into your bank account for the quarter.

However, if you received a one-off payment for services to be delivered over multiple quarters, then you can apportion it to the two comparison quarters (April–June 2021 and July–September 2021), and include an explanation in your income and expenditure statement.

For example, if you received a grant for a year-long project, you could include 25% of the amount in each quarter. This would offset the expenditure that occurred in the comparison quarters.

8. How you can use the funds

8.1 If part of our organisation is funded by Department of Human Services and others from DCJ, can we use the funds for the whole organisation?

Yes, you can use the Open Applications grant for the whole organisation and for all clients you assist.

8.2 Our staff have been working 4 days instead of 3 days, to meet demand over the past few months. Can we pay the extra day through this funding?

Yes. In addition, up to 50% of the payment can be used to retrospectively reimburse expenses incurred since 26 June 2021, including for staffing.

8.3 Can organisations use this funding to pay for staff redundancies that occurred since June 2021 to ensure ongoing sustainability in light of the pandemic?

Yes you can use the grant for staff redundancies that were directly related to COVID-19 lockdowns.

You can only use up to 50% of the grant for redundancies paid out since 26 June 2021.

8.4 Can organisations use funds to continue to support COVID-impacted households, individuals, etc., including food and emergency relief, even if that type of emergency work isn't part of their service offerings?

Yes you can. The grant can be used flexibly to allow you to continue to support your clients and the community. The supports you provide are expected to be aligned to your organisation’s mission or purpose.

We don’t expect you to dramatically change your organisation to provide supports outside of your existing abilities or expertise.

8.5 If providing food rescue, can we use the funds to purchase food?

Yes, you can use the grant to purchase food.

Please also refer people to existing foodbank services so that you’re not replicating what’s already being provided. You can provide food or household items to fill in any gaps.

8.6 Can we use funds for additional clinical supervision costs (incurred and current) for staff while they were in lockdown, and coping with increased demand and vaccination issues?

Yes, you can use the grant to cover staff in isolation, as long as you’re not a DCJ-contracted provider that’s also eligible for the Workforce Contingency payment.

8.7 We had to pay for a health promotion media plan that ended up running during the lockdown. We had to run the campaign regardless but it didn't reach the audience. Can we apply to re-run this media activity using these funds?

Yes. If it’s core business and will help meet demand for services in the community, you can use the Open Applications grant for that purpose.

8.8 You noted we could use 50% of the grant to retrospectively reimburse expenses incurred since 26 June 2021 because that was when Greater Western Sydney went into lockdown. We’re in rural NSW, so does the same condition apply?

Yes. Greater Sydney went into lockdown on 26 June. We chose that date as the point for retrospective reimbursement of expenses, regardless of where your organisation is located and operates.

8.9 We can use up to 50% of the grant to retrospectively reimburse expenses incurred since 26 June 2021. But what date does this end?

Understanding this to mean the date by which the funds have to be spent, then 30 April 2022.

If you require an extension, your organisation must request this from DCJ before 30 April 2022, and you must receive written consent from us.

8.10 Can we use the funds to purchase things like air purifiers?

Yes, the grant can be used for small operating expenses of less than $5,000, like air purifiers, fridges, office equipment and supplies, as long as they’re not classified as an asset and capitalised.

The funds can’t be used for minor capital, property, infrastructure or technology improvements.

8.11 Can we use the funds to purchase a car for collecting food rescue to support our clients and for transporting clients?

No. The funds can’t be used for minor capital purchases, and this includes vehicles.

9. Social Sector Transformation Fund (SSTF)

9.1 Will any of the remaining SSTF funding be made available to NFPs with revenue greater than $5m?

No. The SSTF, or Social Sector Transformation Fund, has been fully allocated and is closed.

However, your organisation may be eligible for the free SSTF advisory and information service.

Note that this is the Social Sector Support Fund, not the Social Sector Transformation Fund.

9.2 You mentioned SSTF has further funds that will be distributed after Open Applications grants. Can you clarify?

An additional $5 million from the Social Sector Transformation Fund was allocated to eligible providers in September 2021. This grant is not related to the Social Sector Support Fund.

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Last updated: 17 Nov 2021