Barengi Gadjin Land Council implementing Cultural fire into the landscape
What is cultural fire?
Cultural fire is fire deliberately put into the landscape authorised and lead by the Traditional Owners of that Country for a variety of purposes, including but not limited to, ceremony, protection of cultural and natural assets, fuel reduction, regeneration and management of food, fibre and medicines, flora regeneration, fauna habitat protection and healing Country’s spirit. — Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy.
More information on Cultural fire and the Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy can be found on Culture Fire Strategy.
The connection Traditional Owners have to Country and their role in the future of fire and land management in Victoria is recognised and acknowledged by DELWP and its partner agencies. Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Grants (CFG) is a Victorian Government initiative that supports Traditional Owners to lead the practice of cultural burning and their unique pathway for creating healthy Country and communities.
The CFG program will support projects that:
- reinvigorate Traditional Owner-led cultural land and fire management practices across the Victorian landscape
- implement program components of the Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy (CFS)
- embed two-way learning and partnerships between Traditional Owners and the state’s emergency services agencies
- restore traditional knowledge and practice, safeguarding this knowledge and practice for future generations
- provide employment opportunities within Aboriginal organisations.
The Cultural Fire Grants program is a competitive program to support Traditional Owner organisations in Victoria. In the first funding round of 21/22- 22/23, the Victorian Government is providing up to $6.3 million dollars (GST exclusive) divided between successful applicants, to lead the practice of cultural burning and support their unique pathways for managing Country.
In the first funding round applicants will be able to apply for:
- Small grants totalling between $1,000 to $200,000 (perfect for smaller initiatives such as training courses, strategy development)
- Large grants of above $200,000 (supporting larger on-ground implementation activities or programs).
|Applications open||1 April 2022|
|Applications close||13 May 2022|
|Application eligibility and assessment panel process||16 May – early June 2022|
|Successful and unsuccessful applicants notified||Mid June 2022|
|Activities complete and acquittal reports submitted||30 Dec 2024|
The Cultural Fire Grants (CFG) program is a program that seeks to support Victorian Traditional Owners reinvigorate the practice of cultural fire to restore health to country and wellbeing to Victorian Traditional owners and communities. The eligibility criteria are intended to support the program to meet these objectives.
For eligibility to apply for funding, applicants must be a Victorian Traditional Owner Corporation that is either:
- an incorporated body registered, under Consumer Affairs Victoria
- an incorporated association under the federal Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006
- have public liability insurance ($10 million minimum)
- professional indemnity insurance ($2 million minimum).
Aboriginal-led organisations may choose to partner with non-Aboriginal organisations where specific content knowledge or other expertise is required. However, the Aboriginal-led organisation and/or community group must be the lead or senior partner throughout the project for partnership-based projects to be considered for funding.
Funding is only available to Incorporated organisations. Non-Incorporated community groups will need to have an auspice arrangement in place to receive the funding.
Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Grants (CFG) is a program that supports Traditional Owners Groups to lead the practice of cultural burning.
Organisations that are not eligible to apply for funding include, but are not limited to:
- sole traders
- for-profit organisations
- non-Aboriginal led organisations and groups
- organisations whose primary business is outside of Victoria
- individuals who are not office holders or authorised signatories.
Eligible projects will be required to demonstrate how their project supports the Strategic Priorities from the Victorian Traditional Owner Fire Strategy or from a Nation’s Country plan or equivalent document which relate to cultural fire. Read the The Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy
Application and assessment process
The application process is as follows:
- Carefully read the Application Guidelines to ensure your Organisation meet the eligibility criteria. All applications are submitted online using the Grants Online portal.
- Applicants are encouraged to contact your DELWP regional Deputy Chief Fire Officer to express your interest and discuss implementation of your project proposal. This includes discussing any requirements for Forest Fire Management Victoria resources and availability to support the cultural burns activities and operating in accordance with current Victorian legislation.
- Applications must be completed using the online form through GEMS, with all required documentation and submitted no later than 13 May 2022, 5:00 pm.
- If there are inconsistencies in the information provided on the application, the CFG Project Team may contact the applicant to clarify. The applicant will not be provided with an opportunity to improve or enhance their application. Applications that do not meet the eligibility criteria will not proceed to the assessment stage.
- Applicants that are not successful are encouraged to seek feedback on their application and apply in future funding rounds.
Each assessment criteria question has a percentage weighting of the total assessment. Assessment criteria with a higher value will be considered more strongly than those with a lower value. Applicants must address all the Assessment Criteria and submit their applications using the Online Application Form.
Assessment criterion 1: Enabling Traditional Owner Rights on Country (Value 30%)
Applicants must demonstrate how the project will align with program objectives or actions of the Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy or an existing Country plan (or equivalent document)
- Describe what project your Organisation intends to deliver and how it supports Strategic Priorities from either the Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy or an existing Country plan.
- Complete the Program Logic table for this project.
Assessment criterion 2: Caring for Country and Community (Value 25%)
Applicants must demonstrate how the project will:
- support your Organisation and your Traditional Owner community to build their capability and skills to care for Country
- heal or improve the overall health of Country
- provide any other community benefits – social, cultural, economic, health or well-being.
Assessment criterion 3: Capacity of project manager to deliver and evaluate the project (Value 25%)
Applicants must demonstrate how the project will be implemented including any key activities, timelines, and strategies for evaluating success of the project.
- Complete details of the project plan.
- Demonstrate what measures will be used to measure the success of the project.
- Discuss approach for engaging community participation and key stakeholders including evidence of any letters of support and any agreements/memorandum of understanding (MOUs) with the land manager where applicable.
Assessment criterion 4: Value for money (Value 20%)
All applicants must demonstrate the project represents good value for money with realistic costs and the budget elements are well justified and transparent.
- List estimated expenditure for this project up until December 2024.
- Outline the legacy of this project, and how the project outcomes can be maintained, expanded or continued in the future.
All applications will be assessed in the following way:
- all applications will be assessed against the assessment criteria in the guidelines and application form through a two-stage assessment process
- the assessment panel will include Aboriginal representatives and DELWP representatives
- please note funding is limited. The awarding of grants is a merit-based process. This means that not all eligible submissions will receive funding in this round if the funding pool has already been allocated to submissions that receive a higher ranking
- a minimum of $500,000 will be quarantined for small grants. If applications for smaller funding grants are undersubscribed, this will be repurposed for large grants
- if the CFGs is oversubscribed, the CFG assessment panel may negotiate project scope and terms to assist with the final distribution of funds
- after assessment, DELWP will recommend projects to the Minister Energy, Environment and Climate Change for final approval.
At the completion of the assessment process, all successful and unsuccessful applicants will be advised of the outcome in writing and given the opportunity to obtain feedback about their submission.
How to apply
Before completing an Online Application Form, you should make yourself familiar with Cultural Fire Grants (CFG) application guidelines and any supporting material.
Cultural Fire Grant application guidelines (PDF, 642.9 KB)
Cultural Fire Grant application guidelines (DOCX, 1.9 MB)
Applications must be completed using the online form with all required documentation and submitted no later than 13 May 2022, 5:00 pm.
Note: No hard copy applications will be accepted. Late and incomplete applications will not be considered.
To access existing drafts or submitted applications, go to https://delwp1.force.com/
What supporting documents and information are required with an application?
Applicants may be required to provide the following information with your application:
- evidence of your status as an incorporated legal Aboriginal entity (Cth) or (Vic)
- authorised auspice information (if applicable)
- Australian Business Number (ABN)
- evidence of public liability insurance
- completed Project Plan (Excel, 25.2 KB) and Budget templates (Excel, 28.7 KB)
- signature from authorised representative
- letter of land manager support or evidence of MOU.
Frequently asked questions
Before completing an online Application Form, applicants are encouraged to:
- read the Cultural Fire Grants (CFG) Application Guidelines and any supporting material. This will ensure you understand the grant program and whether your organisation is eligible to apply for funding, before investing time and resources into preparing an application.
- read the Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy which can be drawn upon to help develop project ideas and assist in responding to components of the Assessment criteria.
- familiarise themselves with the Victorian Government’s Outcomes approach to assist in responding to components of the Assessment Criteria. Outcomes reform in Victoria
- contact your land manager to express your interest and discuss the implementation of your project proposal for the Cultural Fire Grants Program (CFG). Obtaining land manager support will help to ensure any proposed project activities are feasible and will not be in breach of any existing legislative or public safety requirements. Please refer to Who should we talk to about our project for a list of relevant contacts.
Writing my application
For the full assessment criteria, please refer to the CFG Application Guidelines. Applicants must address all the Assessment Criteria using the Online Application Form. The assessment criteria have been broken down into smaller questions. Each assessment criteria are multi-part, so make sure that you answer all sub-questions using the templates and text boxes provided.
Under the assessment criteria, applicants will be required to describe the details of their proposal, including the project outcomes they hope to achieve, describe community benefits, how they will deliver the project and budget information.
Be direct with your answer and give the assessors a picture of how you will execute your program using the word limits provided. Project applications that cannot be meaningfully linked back to the Strategic Priorities from the Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy or the cultural fire outcomes of your Country Plan (or equivalent) will not be considered unless they are proposals to develop such a strategy or plan. Please use the Project Plan (Excel, 25.2 KB) and Budget Estimate templates (Excel, 28.7 KB) provided and submitted as part of your online application.
Based on feedback from previous similar application forms you should allow around 3 full working days across the application open period to plan your grant application. Please also allow 1-2 hours to input the information into the online application form.
How do I attach the required supporting documents?
Any additional documents not requested as part of the application may be viewed by the assessment panel but will not be assessed as part of the assessment criteria. Supporting documents must be in an acceptable file type, such as Word, Excel, PDF, or JPEG. The maximum file size for each file is 10MB. You will receive an application number when you submit an application online. Please quote this number in all communications with the department relating to your application.
If you have documents to submit that cannot be attached to your online application, you can email them to email@example.com quoting your application number. Attach all documents to one email, zipping the files if required.
Applications must be completed using the online form with all required documentation and submitted no later than 13 May 2022, 5:00 pm.
DELWP Grants Online Portal Hints
- Do not use the Internet Explorer browser – choose Firefox, Chrome or another browser as these browsers are more stable with the DELWP Grants Online Portal.
- When you register, note down the email and password you used. You will need it to access your application later.
- After you start your application, you will receive a notification email with a link to return to the application form. It is easiest to continue accessing your application via this link.
- If completing an application in Word document first, keep formatting simple to assist with copying work across to the DELWP Grants Online Portal.
- Please note, if converting the application to a PDF document, there are known alignment issues. Apologies, there has been no known resolution to this issue.
The CFG will accept applications from Traditional Owner groups who were not involved in the development of the Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy or currently do not have an existing Country plan. These applicants are encouraged to apply for small grants totalling between $1,000 to $200,000 which are perfect for smaller Nation building initiatives such as strategy or capacity development. A minimum of $500,000 will be quarantined for small grants to ensure that a variety of projects are being supported.
The development of the Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy was supported by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Parks Victoria and CFA to enable Traditional Owner rights and interests in reintroducing Cultural Fire to the landscape. Facilitated by the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations, the project was led by Victorian Traditional Owner fire knowledge holders from around the state.
The CFG program acknowledges that all Traditional Owner groups will have different aspirations and pathways for enabling cultural fire. The Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy provides 4 program components and possible actions which can be used as a thematic guide to assist with the development of eligible activities as part of your application. Project ideas may include:
- Development of a strategic document that articulates an Organisation’s pathway for reintroducing cultural fire
- Resourcing for field visits, staff, equipment (mobile assets) and training to build cultural fire teams to care for Country
- Traditional Owner led research projects or pilots
- Development or strengthening of data information systems
- Conducting values assessment and pre and post-fire monitoring activities
- Partnering with land managers to embed co-governance arrangements and to plan long term cultural burns sites and pilot co-management arrangements
- Developing or implementing whole of Country or cultural fire plans or equivalent.
The Victorian Government has committed $22.5M over 4 years. Importantly this is not the last and only chance to access funds - the Victorian Government has also committed $6.3M ongoing specifically to enable Traditional Owners to reinvigorate Traditional Owner-led cultural land and fire management practice. Traditional Owner groups at the start of their journey, should consider smaller grants which focus on nation building activities to get Traditional Owner groups ready for cultural fire such as research, workshops and strategy development. A minimum of $500,000 will be preserved for small grants applications. Non-implementation projects won’t need land manager support.
For further assistance with your application please contact the CFG Project Team email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Victorian Government has committed up to $6.3M for the 2022/23 financial years. Applicants are encouraged to developed submissions including budgets for what they intend to deliver before 31 December 2024, when the next round of funding becomes available.
The funding for the 2022/23 CFG program will be limited, with distribution based on merit as part of a two-stage assessment process. If the CFGs are oversubscribed or undersubscribed the CFG assessment panel may contact applicants to negotiate project scope and terms to assist with the final distribution of available funds.
You can submit multiple grant applications. However, only one application per group across all streams may be deemed successful. This is to ensure equity across Traditional Owner groups. Each application you submit must be separate (not reliant on another project) and must not be a scaled-up or scaled-down version of another application.
A Certificate of Currency (or equivalent) is a document that confirms a current policy is in place as of the date of issue and lists the details of the insurance policy. To be eligible to apply, applicants will be required to demonstrate they have both have public liability insurance ($10 million minimum) and professional indemnity insurance ($2 million minimum).
Applicants who do not have insurance may consider partnering with auspice arrangement to receive funding. The level of insurance required is determined by the level of risk and the funding amount associated with the activities and organisation that you’re funding. We recommend you undertake a risk assessment and based on the risk level, there is a general recommended level of insurance set out as follows:
The CFG assessment criteria requests applicants to provide information on how they involve stakeholders including evidence of any letters of support and any agreements/MOUs with the land manager where applicable. You are strongly encouraged to discuss your project proposal with the Deputy Chief Fire Officer before submitting ensure your project application has the best chance for success.
Further information in relation to project ideas and delivery of cultural fire projects should be addressed to the relevant DELWP land manager:
Hume: Aaron R Kennedy
Loddon Mallee: Scott C Falconer
Port Phillip: Tamara S Beckett
Barwon South West: Andrew J Morrow
Grampians: Tony J English
Gippsland: Sam Quigley
For support or to discuss proposals with a Parks Victoria representative, in the first instance please contact David Nugent (PV) .
For support and to discuss proposals with a local government or private land cultural fire focus please contact Daniel Idczak (CFA).
Aboriginal Partnership Program Managers and Partnership Coordinators are also in every DELWP region will also be available to support with further information and submitting an application.
For assistance with Application Guidelines or further information email email@example.com.
Where projects propose activities on public or private land outside of any area with an existing agreement, obtaining a letter of support from the relevant land manager is encouraged and will be considered as part of the assessment process. Speaking with the land manager can help support with the approach to delivering your project, timing, necessary approvals, costing and any technical advice which may strengthen your project proposal.
Please note, a letter or evidence or land manager support does not approve these activities and formal approval may still be required from the land manager to deliver these. If you have any queries about land manager support, seek advice from the land manager. Land managers in Victoria include DELWP, Parks Victoria and Local Government among others. For proposals with a focus on local government areas applicants are encouraged to reach out to their local CFA region who can provide technical advice on a project proposal.
For any non-implementation or non-operational activities such as engagement or strategy development demonstrating land manager support will not be required.
How will my application be assessed?
An Assessment Panel will be formed by identifying members who would have no actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest with regards to incoming applications. All members must declare any conflict of interest with any application. Assessment Panel members will not assess any application where they have a conflict of interest and must abstain from participation in discussions about that project. Eligible applications for both small and large grants will be assessed by a two-stage assessment panel process on how well applications meet the assessment criteria.
The CFG assessment panel will:
- review and confirm all mandatory eligibility requirements have been met. Any application that does not meet the mandatory criteria will not be considered
- review and score applications individually against each assessment criteria
- rank all applications against each other
- determine the number of applications that will be recommended subject to funding being available
- a minimum of $500,000 will be preserved for small grants. If applications for smaller funding grants are undersubscribed, this will be repurposed for large grants
- the awarding of grants is a competitive process. Not all projects that are eligible for funding will be successful
- successful applicants will be recommended to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change for approval.
How will I know if I am successful or unsuccessful?
Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified in writing after the assessment process is completed. All decisions are final and are not subject to further review. Unsuccessful applicants can ask for feedback on their application.
How will payment be made after my application is deemed accepted?
Recommended applications will be considered for funding approval. Each applicant will be notified of the outcome of their application, and successful applicants will receive a Letter of Offer and grant agreement for signing. Milestone payments will be determined as part of the assessment process.
Payments will be made if:
- the funding agreement has been signed by both parties
- grant recipients provide reports as required, or otherwise demonstrate that the activity is progressing as expected
- other terms and conditions of funding continue to be met.
Payments will be made as a combination of both an upfront payment and at the completion of successful projects.
How long do we have to complete my project?
Projects with longer delivery timeframes will be considered however Traditional Owner Groups won’t be eligible in future funding rounds if your existing project milestones have not yet been delivered.
Budgets and GST
A group should provide its ABN if it has one. If a group does not have an ABN, then an Australian Tax Office form (Statement by a supplier) will be provided to you to complete if your application is successful.
Do we need to be registered for GST?
Applicants do not need to be registered for GST.
Do we include GST in the budget when costing the project?
Yes. Applicants will need to list the costs of the project. This may include taxable supply items which include a GST charge such as nursery plants or contractor services. Include each item you are requesting grant funding for and its total cost, including GST.
Does the grant payment include GST?
If you have an ABN and are registered for GST, your grant payment will be taxable and will include GST. If you are not registered for GST, your grant payment will not be taxable, so will not include GST.
What is the contract that we will be required to sign if I am successful?
Successful applicants must enter into a Victorian Common Funding Agreement (VCFA) with DELWP. It is recommended that applicants review the terms and conditions before applying. Information about the VCFA is available on https://www.vic.gov.au/victorian-common-funding-agreement. Please note, successful applicants may be subject to additional CFG specific funding agreement conditions which will be enclosed as part the final VCFA.
- Apply online
- Cultural Fire Grant application guidelines (PDF, 642.9 KB)
- Cultural Fire Grant application guidelines (DOCX, 1.9 MB)
- For assistance with application guidelines or further information about the Cultural Fire Grants email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- For technical queries regarding the online form email: email@example.com