Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund (AIJF)?
The objective of the $200 million Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund (AIJF) is to strengthen the performance and resilience of the agriculture sector. The Fund will invest in enabling economic infrastructure along agriculture supply chains throughout Victoria. Projects will boost productivity, increase exports and reduce costs, so our farmers, businesses and industries can stay competitive. It will also support our farmers and producers to better position their businesses to capture market opportunities and manage risk.
The Fund will be available until 30 June 2019.
What sort of projects will the Fund support?
The Fund will support practical projects and programs. These will predominantly benefit the agriculture sector and include transport, irrigation, and energy projects, as well as skills development programs and market access campaigns. Projects will need to:
- move agricultural produce more efficiently to market
- improve water security and efficiency
- improve connections within supply chains and access to markets
- give consumers confidence in the safety of Victorian produce
- increase business level innovation
- enhance business capability to manage volatility and risk, and
- grow jobs in the agriculture sector and along the supply chain.
What funding is available under the AIJF?
The Fund has two streams – Infrastructure ($175 million) and Program ($25 million). Both are designed to reduce costs and strengthen the agriculture sector's resilience.
The Infrastructure Stream includes two elements:
- Major Capital Works - $150 million for enabling infrastructure along the agriculture supply chain. Grant applications can be made at any time for this program.
- The Local Roads to Market Program - $25 million to support the development of first/last kilometre local roads and bridges along key agriculture freight routes. This Program will be launched in August 2016.
The Infrastructure Stream can also support the development of proposals that are not ready to implement and can include:
- studies to investigate the technical and/or economic viability of a Major Capital Works proposal, and
- design works of first/last kilometre local roads and assessing bridges that local councils have identified following engagement with local agriculture producers, processors and freight handlers.
Why is the government supporting off-farm projects?
The government is already investing in on-farm productivity through investments in research and development, innovation, and practice change.
This Fund complements the government's significant investment in the agriculture portfolio by focusing on projects and activities typically beyond the farm gate, often on things beyond the control and influence of farm businesses, but which directly impact farmers and producers capacity to remain competitive.
Who can apply for grants under AIJF programs?
The AIJF Infrastructure – Major Capital Works stream is a statewide program. Eligible organisations may make applications at any time.
AIJF grants are open to a broad range of rural and regional businesses, industry groups, government agencies, local governments, not-for-profits and agricultural organisations.
There are some minor differences in selection criteria in the AIJF streams. You should read the application guidelines and information sheets to determine your project's eligibility.
How do I apply for a grant under an AIJF program?
You are encouraged to contact the department at an early stage to discuss the nature of your proposal and determine whether AIJF funding might be applicable. The department can provide advice on your proposal, its eligibility, application requirements and potential funding opportunities.
How much funding can I apply for?
Funding available will vary between the AIJF program streams. You should discuss your proposal and level of funding with the department.
What level of matching funding will be required?
Funding available and matching requirements will vary between the AIJF program streams.
For the AIJF Infrastructure – Major Capital Works stream, applicants are expected to make a significant financial contribution or source third-party funding towards the cost of the project.
Generally, funding from the Developing Major Capital Works Proposals will be limited to no more than 50% of the total study cost for projects up to $1 million. Funding above this amount will be the responsibility of the applicant.
Applicants should note that studies supported under the Developing Major Capital Works Proposals program does not guarantee the project will be funded through the AIJF. The project may not be feasible or there may be other, more appropriate funding sources
Applicants should maximise funding support from a range of sources, including Commonwealth and local government, private sector and relevant organisations. While joint investment with other Victorian Government program funding is encouraged, the total Victorian Government contribution will be taken into consideration in determining the AIJF funding level.
'In-kind' contributions are not accepted as part of the funding contribution.
Are there other state government programs to support growth in agriculture?
Yes. In addition to the AIJF Infrastructure Stream with its focus on enabling infrastructure projects along agriculture supply chains, the Victorian Government is investing in one of Victoria's most important industries through:
- The $508 million Premiers Jobs and Investment Fund which will support strategic investment to drive economic growth and create high-skill, high-wage jobs in Victoria
- The $200 million Future Industries Fund which will support the Victorian economy's transition by investing in priority sectors including:
- medical technology and pharmaceuticals
- new energy technology
- food and fibre
- transport, defence and construction technology
- international education
- professional services.
Can I apply for local, state and Commonwealth grants for the same project?
Yes, under the AIJF collaboration with other parties that leverages contributions from other sources is encouraged.
Can organisations who have applied and/or received funding under previous grant programs apply for the new funding?
Yes, the Government welcomes proposals which have merit. They will be considered against the Fund's assessment criteria through the usual application process.
Who will administer the AIJF?
The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources will administer the Fund.