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.

COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response Grants Program

AANSW is pleased to announce the first group of COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response Grants Program recipients. Download the full list of recipients

WEBINAR RECORDING NOW AVAILABLE - Recorded, Wednesday 8 September 2021

Click on the button below to watch the replay. 


The COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response Program will provide small quick response grants to support Aboriginal communities across NSW to reduce their risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and enable them to manage the impacts of the pandemic.

Grants of up to $10,000 are available for:

  • social and emotional wellbeing support
  • keeping communities connected
  • responding to immediate needs
  • advocacy and information.

For additional information please read the Program Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions

Apply now

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



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

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.
  • the provision of trauma informed, culturally appropriate, local community based social and emotional well-being support for Aboriginal people impacted by COVID-19.
  • 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.

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.

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, such as Elder’s groups, new mums’ and men’s 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:

  • Provide food, clothing, or housing where a funding gap exists.
  • Hygiene, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) packages and delivery.
  • Transport hire, taxi and ride-share 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 tele-health or videoconferences for specialist services.
  • Access testing facilities or vaccinations.

4. Advocacy and Community Information

  • Facilitate access to legal advice relating to public health orders, rental issues, 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.
  • Local and tailored Aboriginal community-based messaging.

Projects will not be eligible for funding if they:

  • do not align with the program aims.
  • are a core responsibility of another government agency.
  • receive funding from another source for the same project.
  • are an 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.

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
  • 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 Grants Program 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.

Important dates

Program opens at 9am on 30 August 2021.

Program closes at 5pm on 19 November 2021.

Applications will be accepted at any time during the opening period.

The assessment panel will meet weekly.

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

Projects must be implemented by recipients within three months of funding being received.

Assessment Criteria

All applications will be screened for eligibility.

Eligible applications will then be assessed by a panel of AANSW 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.

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

See the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on the criteria.


Support and Contacts

For any questions regarding the AANSW COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response 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 1002
  • Tamworth                            0425 395 672
  • Coffs Harbour                      02 8575 1069
  • Broken Hill                           02 8575 1057
  • Bourke                                 02 8575 1057
  • Dubbo                                 02 8575 1073
  • Newcastle                            02 8575 1073
  • Sydney                                02 8575 1105

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.

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