Support is available for those affected by the NSW floods. Resources and information can be found at the NSW Flood Assistance and Resources page.

COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response Grants Program (CLOSED)

The COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response Program has been extended. Grants are now available to meet the health and wellbeing needs of Aboriginal people across NSW in response to the impact of COVID-19. 

There have been some changes to project eligibility, this includes funding eligibility for one off food relief rather than food insecurity.

Applicants should read the program documentation on the AANSW website before starting an application and contact their closest AANSW regional office if more information is needed.

Important dates 

Program opens at 9am, Monday 14 February 2022.

Program closes at 5pm, Friday 29 April 2022 (or before this date if funds expended).


Applications will be accepted at any time during the opening period and the assessment panel will meet weekly.

All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications approximately 10 business days after they submit their application.

Projects start date should be at least 10 days from after you submit your application.

Projects should be completed within three months from the project start date.

How much can I apply for?

Applicants can apply for grants from $1,000 to $10,000.

Applicants can apply more than once if a separate need has been identified.


To apply for funding, you will need to complete and submit the application form through our secure online grants system, SmartyGrants at

The COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response Grants Program provides grants to meet the health and wellbeing needs of Aboriginal people across NSW in response to the impact of COVID-19. 

Aboriginal Affairs NSW (AANSW) has allocated $1 million for the program in 2022.

The COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response Grants Program aims to:

  • Support activities that limit the movement of Aboriginal people outside their homes and ensure this movement is COVID safe, to minimise the risk of transmission.
  • Support the provision of trauma informed, culturally appropriate, local community based social and emotional wellbeing support for Aboriginal people impacted by COVID-19.
  • Support Aboriginal people’s access to accurate and timely information regarding COVID-19 and its impacts.

Applications will be accepted at any time during the opening period and the assessment panel will meet weekly.

What can I apply for?

A project must address one of the four project categories listed below.

The following are examples of the types of activities that may funded. Your project does not need to be limited by these examples.

1) Social and Emotional Wellbeing Support

  • Telephone or video appointments for Aboriginal people with counsellors or support staff.
  • Online group workshops or support groups for Aboriginal people.
  • Materials and equipment to support cultural wellbeing and healthy lifestyles such as craft kits for children, sports equipment, cooking equipment and ingredients.
  • Address the withdrawal or reduction of services for adults and children with disability such as respite for parents and carers.
  • Maintain connection to culture for children in Out of Home and Kinship Care.

2) Keeping Communities Connected

  • Online group workshops for Aboriginal people.
  • Purchase of IT equipment, software, and online meeting subscriptions.
  • Support to establish new or continue existing community groups.
  • Training and education to build skills and capacity in online service delivery.
  • Support live streaming of culturally significant events or activities.

3) Respond to Immediate Needs

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) packages, Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) and personal health items (such as thermometers and pulse oximeters) including delivery.
  • Personal hygiene items, including toiletries and sanitiser.
  • Transport hire, taxi and rideshare fares, vehicle leasing to transport Aboriginal people to access essential items or support delivery.
  • Support access to internet, digital technology, and equipment.
  • Support access to telehealth or videoconferences for specialist services.
  • Access to testing facilities or vaccinations.
  • Engage a local community member to coordinate service delivery or distribution
  • Food relief - a temporary and emergency response where service providers access cost effective food or personal hygiene items for close contacts or vulnerable individuals or households isolating at home.

4) Advocacy and Community Information

  • Local and tailored Aboriginal community-based messaging.
  • Facilitate access to legal advice relating to public health orders, fines, and family violence where funding gap exists.
  • Communication of accurate and culturally appropriate information on vaccinations and testing.
  • Financial counselling and debt management services.

Funding cannot be used for:

  • Extensions to buildings or other major capital works.
  • Sitting fees, travel allowance or costs associated with membership of Boards/councils.
  • Activities that may create an ongoing dependency on Grant funding.
  • Costs that are not directly associated with the delivery of the Project
  • Activities that address food insecurity (rather than food relief).

Note: Food insecurity is where community members do not have access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences. This impacts them having an active and healthy life.

For support and information on addressing food insecurity in your community please contact Aboriginal Affairs on 1800 019 998.

See the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for further information on what can and can’t be funded.

Projects will not be eligible for funding if:

  • Does not align with the program aims.
  • Is a core responsibility of another government agency.
  • Receiving funding from another source for the same project.
  • The identified service gap is being met by another agency or funding source.

Who is eligible?

The COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response Grants Program will provide funding to Aboriginal run or controlled groups or organisations.

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

Eligible applicants include:

  • 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.

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

Applicants not eligible for funding are:

  • Individuals.
  • non-Aboriginal groups or organisations.
  • for-profit organisations, including Aboriginal businesses.
  • Federal and State Government agencies and bodies.
  • NSW Public Schools.
  • unincorporated Aboriginal organisations or groups without an eligible auspicing organisation; or
  • organisations that have not met project requirements, including acquittal and reporting for grant funding received from Aboriginal Affairs NSW in the previous two years.

Unincorporated Aboriginal groups

Unincorporated groups must be Aboriginal community groups – that is, they must be led by Aboriginal people. If an unincorporated Aboriginal group wishes to apply for a COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response Small Grant they will need to partner with an eligible organisation to receive and administer the funding (Auspice). The eligible organisation must apply on behalf of the unincorporated group.

Unincorporated Aboriginal groups that are unable to partner with an eligible auspice organisation should contact their nearest AANSW regional office to discuss the application.

Assessment criteria

All applications will be screened for eligibility. Eligible applications will then be assessed by a panel of Aboriginal Affairs NSW staff based on the assessment criteria within one week of submission.

Applications that demonstrate how they meet the criteria are more likely to be funded than those which don’t. Some applicants may be offered partial funding due to the demand for funding, not adequately meeting the assessment criteria or ineligible items.

Assessment will be based on the following criteria:

Assessment Criteria
What are we looking for?
Project Category  
Evidence that the project meets the program aims and at least one project category 
Project Detail  
Explanation of what the funding will do and how it will be spent 
Community Benefit  
Evidence of who the project will benefit and how this will be achieved  
Level of need  
Evidence that the project is meeting a need and who will benefit
Evidence applicant has a history of delivering similar projects, or has received and acquitted other funding sources 
Value for Money 
It is clear how budget items contribute to the project outcomes. The budget is reasonable and realistic 

Organisations with existing COVID Response projects are eligible to re-apply, however they will need to demonstrate the capability to deliver the new project. Consideration of existing projects will be included in the Assessment process.

Consideration will also be given to ensure a good geographic spread of projects across NSW and current COVID-19 areas of concern.

See Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) for more information on the criteria.

Download the full list of recipients from the previous round for more information. 



Support and contacts

For any questions regarding the Aboriginal Affairs NSW COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response Small Grants, please contact your nearest Aboriginal Affairs NSW regional office on the phone numbers below:

Batemans Bay            02 8575 1037

Tamworth                    02 8575 1172

Coffs Harbour              02 8575 1068

Broken Hill                  02 8575 1057

Bourke                         02 8575 1057

Dubbo                         02 8575 1073

Newcastle                   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


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, AANSW may request further information from you on how you propose to manage COVID-19 risks for your project.

Funding arrangements and reporting

Successful applicants will be required to:

  • Enter into a Funding Agreement with AANSW within two weeks of the offer being made. This will include reporting requirements for your project.
  • Start and complete funded activities and events by the dates specified in the Funding Agreement.
  • Notify AANSW of any proposed changes to your funded activity.
  • 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. If the acquittal is not completed within the required timeframe, you will not be eligible to apply for AANSW Grants for the next two years.

Successful applications will be included in:

  • public media releases
  • an announcement on the AANSW website
  • AANSW social media promotion.

NSW Government Support for community members who are COVID positive is available from the following:

  • Service NSW for rapid relief food and information of other supports - 13 77 88
  • Home support – 1800 960 933
  • Health Direct – 1800 022 222
  • Resilience – 1800 943 553
  • Call the public health unit line for your local PHU – 1300 066 055
  • Contact your GP
  • Contact 000 in an emergency

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