Frequently Asked Questions
Last update: 12 March 2013
Why is Round 2 investing in the target areas?
Round One of the Biodiversity Fund was deliberately broad in its approach and was successful in maximising participation around the country. A targeted approach is currently underway in the Biodiversity Fund: Northern Australia Targeted Investment that seeks to secure more enduring, comprehensive regional outcomes. Round Two extends this targeted approach to target areas. These target areas are nationally important environments that are rich in biodiversity, but which are facing increasing pressures. More information on the target areas can be found in Part 1.3 of the Guidelines, and the target areas page.
Will there be funding for multiple year projects?
Successful projects will be funded a minimum of $500 000 over a period of two to four years from 2013-14. This is to encourage larger scale, strategic projects. Applicants are able to apply for up to three projects.
Projects seeking funds in excess of $5 million (GST exclusive) should consult the department prior to submitting an application. Such queries should be directed, in writing, to the Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013–2014 team at firstname.lastname@example.org. These projects will need to provide a strong justification for their bid and represent excellent value for money.
What types of applications are we looking for in Round Two of the Biodiversity Fund?
The Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013-14 welcomes applications from land managers in the target areas interested in undertaking on-ground activities that link to the Biodiversity Fund’s themes:
- biodiverse plantings
- protecting and enhancing existing native vegetation
- managing invasive species in a connected landscape.
The Biodiversity Fund is particularly interested in project proposals that encourage new and existing collaboration and/or cooperative governance arrangements between governments, non-government organisations and Indigenous groups.
Applicants should consult the eligibility section in the Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013-14 Grant Application Guidelines for specific eligibility requirements, including activities that are eligible for funding.
What is a project area?
Your ‘project area’ is where you will be carrying out your on-ground activities. It is possible for your project area to be made up of up to fifteen smaller project sites.
What is a site?
It is up to applicants to decide what constitutes a site. A project area may be all one site if an applicant chooses. Or an applicant may decide that their project is best described by splitting up activities over a number of sites. The online application form can only process up to 15 sites per project.
Can I undertake research as part of my project?
The main focus of Round Two is on on-ground activities that improve the condition, extent and connectivity of landscapes across the target areas.
Research is not ineligible. However any research component that is proposed as part of a project must directly support and link to on-ground activities.
A project that is principally focused on applied research, tool building and/or modelling approaches is not eligible.
Is a project eligible if it includes managing an invasive species that is the legislative or regulatory responsibility of a landholder, or of a government?
Activities to manage invasive species should be additional to business-as-usual activities. That is, additional to those activities undertaken as part of the usual practices and/or the legally required process of managing land.
Legal requirements for landholders to manage invasive species represent a base level requirement for the landholder - the Biodiversity Fund will fund invasive species management that promotes greater biodiversity outcomes. These biodiversity outcomes may require a higher level of control, or a more coordinated approach across a landscape, which should be considered as exceeding business-as-usual.
How do I know if my project is in the Target Area investment boundary?
To determine a specific location within a Target Area, a mapping tool will be accessible via the Biodiversity Fund Round Two application form. The application form is currently being finalised and will be available soon on the Biodiversity Fund Website.
Until the application form is made available, the Target Area maps which are available on the Biodiversity Fund’s target areas page can be used as a guide.
For a project to be eligible for funding, the on-ground activities of each individual project site must be located within the relevant investment area. It is the responsibility of applicants to ensure that they satisfy all eligibility requirements, including geographic eligibility. Details of the location of individual project sites will be required at the Full Application step, for those invited to proceed.
If I want to undertake a Biodiversity Fund project within the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) Target Area of this program what should I know?
If you are applying for funding through the CFI Target Area of this program you need to make sure you are operating within, or planning to operate within, an approved CFI methodology. Applicants should check with the Clean Energy Regulator for CFI eligibility and project requirements.
Biodiversity Fund Projects located in the CFI target area are not automatically eligible for CFI funding and will need to apply through the Clean Energy Regulator.
More information on the CFI, including details of CFI methodologies, is available at:
Applicants should also be aware that Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013-14 projects designed to fulfil the requirements of a CFI offset methodology will not necessarily be competitive under the Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013-14, unless they incorporate additional biodiversity focused activities.
Applicants will be given the opportunity to demonstrate how their Biodiversity Fund project will operate within, or is planning to operate within, an approved CFI methodology, and how their CFI project will incorporate additional biodiversity focussed activities in the application form.
If your project is successful you will be required to include key activities related to registering your project as a Registered Offset Entity and having it listed on the Register of Offset Projects with the Clean Energy Regulator in your Project Monitoring, Evaluation Reporting and Improvement Plan. You will be required to report against your progress towards achieving these activities in relevant reporting periods. The Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement Strategy and relevant templates will be available soon. Any additional carbon revenue likely to be received should be factored into the project budget of your Biodiversity Fund application.
Please refer to Section 1.6 of the Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013 - 14 guidelines for further information about the Biodiversity Fund and the Carbon Farming Initiative.
What is the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) Target Area?
It is important to note that applications for Biodiversity Fund projects looking to operate under the CFI are encouraged from anywhere in Australia.
The "CFI Target Area" however, is defined as the areas of Australia that are not included in any of the the other six Target Areas. Applicants applying for funding from within the CFI Target Area of this program need to ensure that they are operating within, or planning to operate within, an approved CFI methodology.
Applicants should check with the Clean Energy Regulator for CFI eligibility and project requirements. Please see the FAQ “If I want to undertake a Biodiversity Fund Project within the Carbon Farming Initiative Target Area of this program what should I know?” for further information on CFI Target Area projects.
Is all of Australia's coastline eligible for funding under the urban waterways and coastal environment targeted area?
Yes. We are seeking projects that will improve the quality of the environment in the coastal zone, regardless of the population in that area.
The coastal zone includes mangrove areas, salt marshes, coastal woodlands and heathlands, beaches, dune systems, estuaries, bays, creeks and lakes which are affected by tidal systems.
If the project is not occurring in the coastal zone itself, but is within the broader coastal environment, it is up to applicants to demonstrate that their project would have a direct impact on the coastal zone.
Please see the Glossary in the guidelines for the definition of the coastal zone.
At what point in the process do I need to have the permission of the landholder?
The applicant must have, or be able to obtain the permission of the landholder before the agreed date of commencement of the project. Applicants must be able to provide a declaration to this effect.
If the landholder is yet to be identified, this eligibility requirement does not apply. The application will need to identify the project area and clearly articulate how the project will meet the requirements of the program including the biodiversity outcomes.
When do I need to confirm that I have no overdue reports or acquittals from previous funding sources?
If you have received funding from an Australian Government grant program in the past, applicants must ensure that all associated reports or acquittals are submitted prior to the Biodiversity Fund: Round Two 2012-13 application closing date.
If the proponent has engaged with the Australian Government regarding their overdue reports or acquittals, and has received an extension, then these obligations will not be considered overdue.
Applicants should read the Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013-14 Grant Application Guidelines in full before submitting an application.
We are a government agency in which applications for funding are centrally coordinated and approved before submission. We are using a single login to coordinate our proposals but each time a new proposal is added the primary contact details are propagated across all proposals. Can you fix this bug in your form?
This is not a bug but a business rule in the form. The form is designed to minimise duplicate data entry by applicants who may have preregistered under previous rounds or who may be putting in multiple proposals.
In your circumstances you should use the primary contact field to enter the details of the nominated departmental coordinator and use the secondary contact officer details field for the officer who will take the lead on the proposal if it is successful in obtaining funding.
What is the application process for the Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013-14?
Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013–14 will adopt a two-step application process:
Applicants seeking a Biodiversity Fund grant of less than $2 million should complete a Full Application.
Applicants seeking a Biodiversity Fund grant of $2 million or greater should complete an Expression of Interest form. Applicants with successful Expressions of Interest will be invited to proceed to a Full Application.
Please refer to Tables 1.1 and 1.2 in Part 4.1 of the Guidelines for information on opening and closing dates, and Part 5 for information on how to apply.
Why is there an Expression of Interest for proposals greater than $2 million?
A two-step Expression of Interest process has been introduced to enable larger, more complex proposals more development time. For example, such projects might benefit from a period to negotiate partnerships or complete feasibility studies. Applicants seeking a grant of $2 million or greater must apply through the two stage or Expression of Interest process.
How do I get a copy of the Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013-14 guidelines and application form?
Electronic copies of the application guidelines and the application form are available on the application process page.
Where do I submit the completed application form for the Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013-14?
Online applications can be submitted electronically.
Hard copy forms are to be addressed and delivered to:
Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013-14
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
GPO Box 787 CANBERRA ACT 2601
Att: The Director
Program Design Section
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
13 Keltie Street
Phillip ACT 2606
When do applications close for Round Two?
Applications for less than $2 million
- Electronic applications must be submitted by 2pm (AEST) 17 April 2013.
- Hard copy applications must be postmarked by 17 April 2013.
Note: the Full Application period has been extended to 2pm AEST 17 April 2013.
Applications for $2 million or more
- Electronic Expressions of Interest must be submitted by 2pm (AEDT) 18 March 2013.
- Hard copy Expressions of Interest must be postmarked by 18 March 2013.
- Electronic full applications will be invited from mid April 2013 and will be due mid May 2013.
Note: the closing date for Expressions of Interests has been extended to 2pm AEDT Monday 18 March 2013.
Will hard copy applications be accepted?
While electronic applications are preferred, hard copies will be accepted and are available for those who do not have internet access. You can request a hard copy application form by contacting the Biodiversity Fund hotline on 1800 008 678 (toll free excluding mobile and public phones).
Will late applications be accepted?
Late applications may be considered under extenuating circumstances provided an alternative timeframe has been agreed prior to the closing date.
Any requests for an extension of time to lodge an application must be made to the department prior to 2pm AEDT 18 March 2013 for the Expression of Interest step and 2pm AEDT 4 April for the Full Application step. Such requests should be directed, in writing, to the Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013–14 team at email@example.com.
The department has no obligation to accept a late application. Any decision to accept or not accept a late application is at the department's absolute discretion and will be final.
The department may, at its sole discretion, extend the application period. Any such extension will be advertised on the department's website and emailed to those registered via the Clean Energy Environment News email.
More information on late applications can be found in Part 5.3 of the Guidelines.
Can I submit extra information in support of my application?
No. Any information provided that is additional to that explicitly asked for in the Expression of Interest and Full Application forms will not be considered.
What information should my application include?
Before beginning your application, read the Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013-14 Grant Application Guidelines to determine your eligibility to apply and the assessment criteria you should consider when putting your proposal together.
The Guidelines and the application form contain all the information you need to respond to the Expression of Interest.
Can I submit more than one application?
Yes. Applicants may submit up to three applications. Each application will be considered individually and should be able to be implemented regardless of whether other applications are successful.
When does my project need to be completed?
All projects will be funded for a period of two to four years and must be completed by the agreed date in the contract. Final acquittal is required within eight weeks of the agreed completion date for the project.
More information can be found in Part 6.4 of the Guidelines.
Can proposals include administration costs, or costs incurred from the application process?
The Australian Government understands that administration is an integral part of delivering a Biodiversity Fund project and accepts a 10 per cent amount in the budget for that purpose. Amounts above this may be considered where there are extenuating circumstances, for instance where on-ground works are occurring in remote locations.
The Australian Government does not fund retrospectively, so costs incurred during the application process will not be funded.
What administrative costs should I include in my project budget?
Administration expenses are those costs associated with administering your project. Costs may include audit/accounting, phone/internet bills, printing/photocopying, costs associated with legally required documents such as permits.
Applicants should remember that project proposals will be assessed on the basis of value for money. Proposals that represent greatest benefit for every dollar invested will be considered of greater merit.
What are the monitoring and reporting requirements?
The Australian Government requires monitoring and reporting for all environment and natural resource management programs. Applicants should consider the cost of undertaking the following work when completing the budget portion of the application form. Applicants can allocate a maximum of 5 per cent of their total grant amount to monitoring and reporting activities required by the Commonwealth. For more information, please also see the FAQ below “What does the 5 per cent cap on monitoring refer to?”.
Project Monitoring, Evaluation Reporting and Improvement (MERI) Plan
Successful applicants will be required to develop and implement a Project Monitoring, Evaluation Reporting and Improvement (MERI) Plan, as referred to in the Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement Strategy - Caring for our Country and Biodiversity Fund (the MERI Strategy). Project MERI Plans will be required to document the detail and structure of the project and requires information on project outcomes and activities, project site information (including photographs), project assumptions and project communications.
Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013–14 projects, must undertake ecological monitoring activities for their project in accordance with the Department’s Biodiversity Fund Ecological Monitoring Guide. The Guide will be available shortly.
In summary, funding recipients will be required to establish a 50 metre transect, 20 metre by 20 metre plot and to undertake simple vegetation condition monitoring. The methods may include measuring groundcover, projected foliage cover, crown type, presence of exotic fauna and a simple measure of species diversity. The number of transects and plots will be determined by the project size:
- <10 ha 1 transect and plot
- 10 – 100 ha 2 transects and plots
- > 100 ha 3 transects and plots
- > 500 ha 5 transects and plots.
Progress and final reports
As part of their MERI responsibilities funding recipients will be required to provide two project progress updates (reports) to the Department each year, and a final project report at the completion of the project, using the relevant templates. The timing for submission of these reports will be detailed in the recipient’s funding agreement for the project. Recipients will be required to report on such things as progress against planned activities and outcomes, risk management, stakeholder engagement, project communications, data from any monitoring and evaluation activities, and provide project photos. The data and information collected for each project will be used by the department to report on the overall success of the Biodiversity Fund and Clean Energy Future objectives.
The MERI Strategy and relevant templates will be available shortly.
What does the 5 per cent cap on monitoring refer to?
As outlined in section 6.3 of the Guidelines, applicants can allocate a maximum of 5 per cent of their total grant budget to monitoring and reporting activities required by the Commonwealth.
Applications may include additional project level monitoring directly related to their project activities. Applicants should clearly demonstrate how those monitoring activities will benefit the biodiversity outcomes and success of the project and the Biodiversity Fund program overall.
Can a Biodiversity Fund grant be used to purchase land?
The Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013–2014 Grant Application Guidelines focus on activities that establish, restore, protect or manage biodiverse carbon stores. Where an application proposes the purchase of land, the applicant will need to demonstrate, in the context of their broader project, how the purchase of land represents value for money and makes a significant contribution to the criteria set out in the Guidelines.
Can a Biodiversity Fund grant be used to purchase equipment and other capital items?
Yes, although applicants will need to demonstrate that the purchase of a capital item represents value for public money and contributes directly to their ability to deliver the project.
Buying equipment or materials that are part of a landholder's responsibility for the management of their property will not be eligible.
Examples of capital items include, but are not limited to:
- Computer equipment
- Fire fighting equipment
- Quad bikes
- Sheds for the purpose of storage
- Ranger bases
- Workshop facilities
- Shade houses / nursery equipment
- Weed spraying equipment
- Other infrastructure essential to project activities
What are assets?
For the purposes of the Funding Agreement, funding Recipients will be required to adhere to the obligations in relation to Assets (outlined in Part C – clause 32 of the example draft funding agreement) where the assets have a value at the time of acquisition of $5,000 or more (GST exclusive).
However, for the purposes of preparing funding applications, Applicants should include details of "major capital items" as they are defined in the Program Guidelines being "building improvements and items of equipment, furniture, vehicles, computer hardware and software, media equipment and the like with a useful life of three years or more and an individual cost of $1,000 or more."
Is there a cap for funding?
No. However projects seeking funds in excess of $5 million (GST exclusive) should consult with the department prior to submitting an application. Such requests should be directed, in writing, to the Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013–2014 team at firstname.lastname@example.org. The value for money of projects will be considered in all cases; however projects of this size will need to provide a strong justification for their bid.
Can I use a Biodiversity Fund grant to employ a staff member?
Yes, where that employee is working on the project. A proportion of an existing employee's salary may also be applied for, provided they are also working on a project.
Process after applications have been submitted
Can I make changes to my application once it has been submitted?
If you need to alter your application after it has been submitted but before the application period closes, please contact the department.
If you submit a new application form (replacing an existing application), please email email@example.com to notify the department and avoid any confusion during the assessment process.
How will my application be assessed?
All applications for both the Expression of Interest and Full Application steps will be assessed by at least one representative from within the department and by one community assessor. The assessment process will include consideration by the Land Sector Carbon and Biodiversity Board prior to advice being provided to the Minister.
Applications will be assessed against the following four assessment criteria:
- Criterion 1 - Benefits to landscape scale connectivity
- Criterion 2 - Capacity of applicant to deliver
- Criterion 3 - Risk management
- Criterion 4 - Value for money
More information on the assessment criteria is available in Section 3.1.2 of the Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013-14 Grant Application Guidelines.
How long will it take for my application to be assessed and how will I be notified of the outcome of my application?
Applications for less than $2 million
Applications for less than $2 million will be assessed between April and June 2013. Applicants are expected to be advised of the outcome in June 2013.
Applications for $2 million or more
Expressions of Interest will be assessed in March and April 2013. Applicants whose Expressions of Interest are successful will have their full applications assessed between May and June 2013.
Applicants are expected to be advised of the outcome in June 2013.
Will someone contact me to negotiate the details of my Expression/s of Interest?
All successful and unsuccessful applicants will be offered feedback on their Expression/s of Interest.
Successful applicants may use the feedback they receive to further develop their Full Applications. This will include feedback on all the selection criteria.
If you are successful
If my project application is successful, what are the next stages?
Applicants who are successful at the Full Application step, will be contacted by the Biodiversity Fund Round Two: 2013–2014 team to discuss the funding agreement (contract).
If my project application is successful, when can I expect to receive funds?
The Australian Government will process applications in a timely manner to enable payments to be made as soon as possible after the successful projects are announced by the Minister.
All grant payments for the project are subject to the successful applicant entering into, and complying with, the terms and conditions of the funding agreement.
It is anticipated funding will be available to successful applicants from July 2013.
Will successful applicants be eligible to apply for future funding rounds, including Caring for our Country?
Receiving funding under this round of the Biodiversity Fund doesn't preclude you from applying for funding under Caring for our Country or Biodiversity Fund in future rounds, as long as future bids are not seeking funding for the same activity on the same site.