Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) - Commonly asked questions


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Indigenous AffairsIndigenous Advancement Strategy
Friday, 02 December 2016
Publication author(s):
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Publication abstract:

A list of questions and answers relating to the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS).

Revised IAS Grant Guidelines

The Australian Government has made Indigenous Affairs a significant national priority. The Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) is the way in which the Australian Government funds and delivers a range of programmes targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.

Through the IAS, the Australian Government is working to improve the way that the Government does business with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to ensure funding actually achieves outcomes.

The IAS Grant Guidelines apply to most grant activities under the IAS. Following a process of reviewing the 2014 guidelines, the revised Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) Guidelines  became effective on Monday, 21 March 2016.

More detailed information relating to specific IAS grant funding activities is provided in Application Kits.

In revising the Guidelines, the Department considered feedback from a variety of sources on the operation of the IAS open grant round and the IAS Guidelines.

The IAS Grant Guidelines provide a clear role for the PM&C Regional Network to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and other stakeholders to develop and implement tailored and innovative local solutions.

Which sections of the IAS Guidelines were revised and what are the most significant changes?

The entire IAS Grant Guidelines document was revised, including the format of application kits and the application form.

The IAS Grant Guidelines include a number of changes that:

  • Make it simpler for applicants to apply for funding under the IAS.
  • Support the development of stronger relationships between local Indigenous people, communities, service providers and local PM&C Regional Network offices.
  • Provide clearer information on IAS programmes, application processes and improved assessment criteria.
  • Simplify the application process through the introduction of the new online application form.

The IAS application smart form provides a simplified and streamlined grants funding application process and enables applicants to:

  • easily share the form with others in their organisation.
  • be able to see information to help guide them in completing their application.
  • save, close and reopen the form during completion.
  • ensure that all mandatory information is completed before the form can be submitted.
  • lodge their application form/s electronically.

This application is prepopulated with organisational information for existing grant recipients.  The online system provides organisations with a receipt containing a unique Application ID on successful lodgement.

Community Led Grants

What does Community Led mean?

Community led means the project is supported, developed and delivered with, or in consultation with the target community or group.

Does my proposal have to be ‘community led’?

Yes, all activities funded under the IAS should be community led.

What is the ‘initial proposal’ stage of the Community Led grant process?

The initial proposal stage is where you discuss a project proposal with the local PM&C Regional Network Office and submit an initial proposal form.

You must complete an initial proposal form before you apply for funding. You can complete the form before, during or after meeting with the local PM&C Regional Network Office. The local office is able to assist in completing the form, if required.

The local PM&C regional Network Office can provide feedback including whether a proposal addresses regional and national funding priorities. You can then decide whether to prepare and submit an application for funding.

We have a proposal for a national project. Can we apply for a Community Led grant?

Yes, to discuss your proposal please contact your local PM&C Regional Network Office.

I have a current PM&C funding agreement. Can I still apply for funding under the Community Led proposal application process?

Yes, you can apply for grant funding using the community led proposals process. However, you must first discuss the proposal with the local PM&C Regional Network Office and submit an initial proposal form before submitting an application for grant funding. 

How do I access the Community Led Application Form?

The Department will provide access to the application form once you have discussed your proposal with the PM&C Regional Network and submitted an initial proposal form.

After you have completed these steps, we will give you access to the application form and a unique code. The unique code links your proposal to the application form and is required to submit an application.

You can submit an application for grant funding at any time, after completing the initial proposal steps.

Do applicants have to submit a written initial proposal?

You must discuss your proposal with the Department and submit an initial proposal form for your application to be considered for funding.

You can complete the initial proposal form before, during or after the meeting with the local PM&C Regional Network Office. The local office can assist with completing the form.

Tailored Assistance Employment Grants

What are the Tailored Assistance Employment Grants?

Tailored Assistance Employment Grants target specific projects that provide:

  • access to real and sustainable employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians,
  • meet workforce demands of employers, industry and/or groups, and
  • support secondary students transitioning from school into employment or further education/training.

Where funding is available, organisations will be able to apply for Tailored Assistance Employment grant funding at any time.

How can I apply for the Tailored Assistance Employment Grants?

The Department invites all eligible applicants to submit applications for Tailored Assistance Employment Grants at any time. However, before you submit an application, it is recommended that you discuss the proposal with your local PM&C Regional Network office. Contact details for PM&C Regional Network offices are provided at Annexure 2 of the IAS Grant Guidelines.

Under Tailored Assistance Employment Grants there is a funding application kit and assessment criteria that will outline the need for the activity and assurance there are demonstrated jobs.  There is also an online application form.

The Tailored Assistance Employment Grant application kit provides you with additional information on the funding process and the current assessment criteria.

Why do I need to consult with the local PM&C Regional Network office before I submit an application?

A preliminary discussion with your local PM&C Regional Network office about your proposal will help you determine whether your proposal is consistent with factors such as regional priorities, offers value for money and whether funding is available for the proposed activities. Following preliminary discussions, you can decide whether or not to submit an application.

This also provides you with the opportunity to ask any questions you have about the process including the assessment criteria, budget, project delivery and the project agreement.

Contact details for PM&C Regional Network offices are provided at Annexure 2 of the IAS Grant Guidelines.

Can the local PM&C Regional Network office write the application on my behalf?

No. The local PM&C Regional Network can only advise about the process, selection criteria, project delivery and project agreement.

Any discussions you have with your local PM&C Regional Network office are not considered an application for funding, or a guarantee of any future funding.

I have a project that requires funding for employment and it will also deliver outcomes under the Children and Schooling and Safety and Wellbeing programmes, should I submit a Tailored Assistance Employment Grant application?

No. The Tailored Assistance Employment Grants process is specifically for projects that will deliver sustainable employment opportunities.  If your application covers elements other than employment, the Community Led Grants process may be considered and you need to consult with your local PMC Regional Network office for more information on how to apply or visit Community Led Grants.

I have a project that involves school based traineeship activities; can I apply for support through the Tailored Assistance Employment Grants process? 

Yes. Activities that involve the engagement of Indigenous Australian secondary students to remain in school and work through a school based apprenticeship/traineeship qualification are encouraged.  This is considered an employment opportunity.

I am seeking help to get two or three new Indigenous Australian employees, should I apply for a Tailored Assistance Employment Grant? 

Tailored Assistance Employment Grants are expected to supplement any funding that is already provided by state/territory and other Commonwealth employment programmes.

You are strongly encouraged to discuss your workforce requirements with a local PM&C Regional Office as there are a range of mainstream employment services, such as jobactive, that could assist your organisation to access candidates and provide support, including wage subsidies in some circumstances. 

Also under the Indigenous Advancement Strategies, there are a number of Vocational Training and Employment Centres (VTECs) located across the state/territories that could assist you to recruit, train and retain employees.

NAIDOC Grant Funding

The 2017 NAIDOC local grants funding round is now closed.

The round was open from 27 March to 4pm AEST 27 April 2017 and the Department reserved the right not to accept late applications.

All enquiries relating to applications for the 2017 NAIDOC local grant funding round should be directed to the nearest Regional Office by calling 1800 079 098 or by email to

Organisations should now have been advised of the outcome of their application.

IAS Grant Funding

What opportunities are there for organisations to apply for grant funding?

Applications for Community Led Grants and Tailored Assistance Employment Grants are accepted by the Department at any time.

Information on other IAS funding opportunities will be provided under Funding under the IAS page as they arise.  

Will there be another open grant funding round?

Decisions around any future open grant funding round are a matter for the Government.  Information will be provided under Funding under the IAS page as opportunities arise.  

How can organisations find out about any future funding rounds?

The Department may advertise the availability of grant funding through all or some of the following channels:

Local PM&C Regional Network offices will also be able to provide information on future funding rounds.

Preparing and submitting an application

Where can I get information about preparing an application under the IAS Grant Guidelines?

The IAS Grant Guidelines and relevant Application Kits are published on this website. These documents provide detailed information about the preparation of applications under the IAS.

Applicants can also approach their local PM&C Regional Network Office with questions. Contact details for the PM&C Regional Network are published in the IAS Grant Guidelines.

Can I submit more than one application form under the IAS guidelines?

Yes. Where you are applying for funding for several activities that are not closely related, you may describe these activities in separate applications.

I am experiencing technical problems in submitting my application. What should I do?

Contact your local PM&C Regional Network Office. If the issue cannot be resolved at a local level, the local office will arrange for a PM&C staff member with particular technical expertise to contact you and resolve the matter.

Application assessment process

How are applications assessed?

The Department initially screens applications to ensure they meet the eligibility and basic application requirements.

Assessment panels will be established by the Department. A panel will assess all applications against the assessment criteria in the application kit. 

Assessment panels may seek expert advice from outside the Department when assessing applications.

The Department will consider the recommendations of the assessment panel and provide advice to the funding approver (the Minister for Indigenous Affairs or delegate) on the merits of the application.

What factors were taken into account when assessing an application?

All information provided in applications will be carefully considered, and applications assessed against the criteria set out in the IAS Guidelines and the Application Kit.

How is value for money assessed?

Value for money is the Department’s assessment of whether the intended outcomes will justify the Government investing the requested amount of grant funding. The Department will determine this by assessing applicants’ responses against the criteria for the relevant grant funding process. Further information about value for money is provided in section 11.4 Value for Money of the IAS Grant Guidelines.

Grant application outcomes

I received a letter saying I was successful. What happens now?

A representative from the Department will contact you to make a time to discuss the development of a funding agreement, including the actual amount of funding which will be provided to support the project.  This may not be the same as the level of funding requested in the application.

How do I request feedback on my application?

You can request feedback on your application by contacting your local PM&C Regional Network Office on 1800 079 098. If you are not satisfied with the feedback provided, you can ask to discuss the feedback with the Regional Manager of your local PM&C Regional Network Office.

Can I lodge a complaint if I consider the feedback provided does not adequately address my concerns?

Complaints about the conduct of grant funding processes may be sent in writing to

How can I update the contact details for my organisation?

Provide updated contact details to your local PM&C Regional Network Office so that the Department’s records can be updated.

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