If you are feeling unwell and think you may have COVID-19 symptoms, contact Health Direct on 1800 022 222 (Freecall). Official information about COVID-19 from the NSW Government. Resources and information on support for Aboriginal people can be found at the COVID-19 and Aboriginal Communities – Essential Information page.

Aboriginal Affairs Cultural Grants Program 2021/2022 (CLOSED)

The Aboriginal Affairs NSW Cultural Grants Program supports Aboriginal community organisations across NSW to celebrate Aboriginal culture and hold key cultural events and activities.

Important dates 

Program opens at 9am, Monday 17 January 2022

Program closes at 5pm, Friday 13 May 2022 (or before this time if funds are expended)


Applications will be accepted at any time during the open period and the assessment panel will meet monthly to assess applications.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications within eight weeks of submitting an application.

Due to the assessment process, your project start date should be eight weeks after the date you submit your application.

Please contact AANSW staff and/or regional staff if your planned project start date is less than eight weeks from when you will submit your application.

Your project must be completed by 31 December 2022. 

How much can I apply for?

Applicants can apply for grants from $500 to $20,000.


Aboriginal Affairs NSW has allocated $300,000 for the Aboriginal Affairs NSW Cultural Grants Program in 2021-2022.

The Aboriginal Affairs NSW Cultural Grants Program has the following objectives:

  • support Aboriginal communities strengthen, protect, and maintain traditional and contemporary expressions of Aboriginal culture 
  • support key contemporary Aboriginal cultural events and activities 
  • contribute to Aboriginal community wellbeing and healing
  • facilitate sharing of Aboriginal cultural knowledge and skills between generations.

What can I apply for?

Funding can be used for projects that meet the objectives of Aboriginal Affairs NSW Cultural Grants Program.

The following are examples of the types of activities that may be funded:

  • Women’s or Men’s Gathering on Country
  • delivery of a culture and wellbeing camp for Aboriginal youth
  • creation of a digital installation showing Aboriginal history of the local community
  • statewide music or cultural festival
  • hosting a series of online workshops
  • community celebration event
  • cultural activities at a regional sporting event

Funding can be used for:

  • hire of equipment to be used for the period of the project or event
  • engagement of contractors, such as facilitators, trainers and teachers
  • costs associated with holding key state-wide or regional Aboriginal sporting or cultural events
  • purchase of minor equipment for event activities, up to the value of $5,000
  • up to 10% of the budget can be used for the administration of the project or as auspice fees where there is an auspicing arrangement.

Funding cannot be used for:

  • costs for individual sporting teams or cultural groups to attend competitions or events
  • capital – any type of building, construction, major equipment or capital works including renovations to a building, housing related costs or the purchase of land
  • purchase of vehicles
  • wages and salaries and on-costs for ongoing staff
  • sitting fees, travel allowance or costs associated with membership of Boards/councils
  • international travel costs (note: proposals for domestic travel costs need to demonstrate the benefits of travel to the project, organisation and community)
  • activities that may create an ongoing dependency on Cultural Grant funding, such as funding over multiple years
  • costs that are not directly associated with the delivery of the Project
  • activities related to NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout which has a separate funding program.

Applicants are encouraged to contact their nearest Aboriginal Affairs NSW Regional Office to discuss their project. 

Who is eligible?

Aboriginal Affairs NSW Cultural Grants funding, where possible, is distributed to small, community based Aboriginal owned and controlled organisations.

These are organisations that represent or service a specific Aboriginal community or language group, or a group of communities connected geographically, and will be prioritised for funding.

Organisations with a state-wide or national presence, and regional organisations with significant numbers of paid staff will be eligible to apply but may not be prioritised.

To be eligible for funding your organisation must be a legal entity located in NSW, or working with Aboriginal Communities in NSW, and able to enter into a funding agreement with Aboriginal Affairs NSW.

Unincorporated groups

If an unincorporated Aboriginal group wishes to apply for a Cultural Grant, they will need to partner with an eligible organisation to receive and administer the funding.

Eligible organisations must be: 

  • an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth)
  • a company incorporated in Australia under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth)
  • a Local Aboriginal Land Council under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW)
  • an Incorporated Association (incorporated under state legislation, and commonly have 'Association' or 'Incorporated' or 'Inc' in their legal name)
  • an Incorporated Cooperative (incorporated under state legislation, and commonly have ’Cooperative' in their legal name)
  • an incorporated trustee on behalf of a trust
  • an unincorporated Aboriginal community group with an eligible auspice.

Applicants must be delivering a service to Aboriginal communities within NSW and have public liability insurance of at least $10 million per claim.

Applicants not eligible for funding are:

  • individuals
  • non-Aboriginal groups or organisations
  • Federal or State Government agencies and bodies, including NSW Public Schools and hospitals
  • for-profit organisations, including Aboriginal businesses
  • unincorporated organisations or groups without an eligible auspicing organisation
  • organisations that have not met project requirements, including acquittal and reporting for any grant funding received from Aboriginal Affairs NSW in the previous two years
  • organisations with redress sanctions as described in the National Redress Scheme.

Assessment Criteria

This is a non-competitive program, where applications are assessed against the criteria, not competitively against other applications.

All applications will be screened for eligibility. Eligible applications will then be assessed against the criteria by a panel including Aboriginal Affairs NSW staff and independent members within four weeks of submission.

The Special Minister of State, Minister for the Public Service and Employee Relations, Aboriginal Affairs, and the Arts is the final decision maker based on the recommendations of the assessment panel.

Some applicants may be offered partial funding.

Assessment will be based on the following criteria:

What are we looking for?
Project Quality
Evidence that the project meets the program aims and objectives
Project Detail
Explanation of what the funding will do and how it will be spent
Project Impact
Evidence of who the project will benefit and how this will be achieved
Experience managing previous projects or relevant training and experience of key staff involved in the project
Value for money
It is clear how budget items contribute to the project outcomes. The budget is reasonable and realistic

How to Apply

To apply for funding, you will need to complete and submit the application form through the Aboriginal Affairs NSW online grants platform.


Applicants are encouraged to contact their nearest Aboriginal Affairs NSW Regional Office to discuss their project.

Applicants can choose to submit a video response to application questions on project objectives and outcomes. Aboriginal Affairs NSW regional staff are available to support applicants with recording and preparing a file for upload if required.

An organisation can only receive one grant from the 2021-2022 Cultural Grants Program. 

Auspicing organisations may auspice grants for more than one organisation. 

Unsuccessful applicants will be offered a feedback session if required.

Support and Contacts

For any questions regarding the AANSW Cultural Grants Program, please contact your nearest AANSW Regional Office on the phone numbers below or email grants@aboriginalaffairs.nsw.gov.au

Batemans Bay
02 8575 1037
02 8575 1172
Coffs Harbour
02 8575 1068
Broken Hill
02 8575 1057
02 8575 1057
02 8575 1073
02 8575 1126
Greater Sydney
02 8575 1105

(Note: If you have questions regarding the Aboriginal Affairs NSW Closing the Gap Strengthening Business Capability Grants or Strengthening Community Capability, Contact Officers are available on 1800 019 998  or at grants@aboriginalaffairs.nsw.gov.au)

Other information

COVID-19 Impacts

Due to the changing impacts of COVID-19 across NSW, projects must be in line with NSW Government public health orders and advice, for example, with regards to social distancing and public gatherings. For more information visit the NSW Government website

If COVID-19 rules in NSW change during the grants period, Aboriginal Affairs NSW may request further information from you on how you propose to manage COVID-19 risks for your project.

Aboriginal Cultural and Intellectual Property (ACIP)

Aboriginal Affairs NSW has developed an Aboriginal Cultural and Intellectual Property (ACIP) Protocol that aims to build awareness and respect for Aboriginal culture. The Protocol sets a standard for how Aboriginal Affairs NSW engages with Aboriginal people and communities in regard to their cultural and intellectual property and what we expect from the organisations we fund.

Any Aboriginal Cultural or Intellectual Property submitted in a grant application to Aboriginal Affairs NSW remains the property of the relevant community organisation or Aboriginal person. Aboriginal Affairs NSW will not distribute or communicate any ACIP contained in SmartyGrants and agrees to respect the cultural protocols of Aboriginal people to whom it may apply. 

More information on ACIP, including the Protocol is available on our website

Funding arrangements and reporting

Successful applicants will be required to:

  • Enter into a Funding Agreement with Aboriginal Affairs NSW within two weeks of the offer being made.
  • Start and complete funded activities and events by the dates specified in the Funding Agreement.
  • Notify Aboriginal Affairs NSW of any proposed changes to your funded activity and complete a project variation request.
  • Acknowledge the support of Aboriginal Affairs NSW in accordance with the Funding Acknowledgement Guidelines.
  • Report on outcomes from the activity and acquit the grant within 21 days of project completion. Evidence to support this can be uploaded in SmartyGrants and must include evidence of expenditure (copies of invoices and/or receipts) as well as photos, media coverage, links to video clips, etc, where relevant.
  • If the acquittal is not completed within the required time frame you will not be eligible to apply for Aboriginal Affairs NSW Grants for the next two years.

Successful applications will be included in:

  • public media releases
  • an announcement on the Aboriginal Affairs NSW website
  • Aboriginal Affairs NSW social media.

Applicants should be aware that information provided to Aboriginal Affairs NSW may be made publicly available under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW). Information may also be made publicly available as a result of an order for papers made by the NSW Legislative Council under Standing Order 52.

Before information is released in response to an application under the GIPA Act, there will be an assessment of the public interest considerations in favour of and against disclosure of that information and there may be consultation requirements that apply. 


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