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Coronavirus Aboriginal Community Response and Recovery Fund

The fund has been established by the Victorian Government to support Aboriginal Victorians to deliver community-led initiatives to respond to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Not-for-profit groups, government

The fund is intended to support Aboriginal organisations and communities to deliver place-based responses to local issues.

Aboriginal people living in Victoria are likely to be disproportionately impacted by the social, economic, cultural and health implications of coronavirus (COVID-19). The fund will provide grants for initiatives that support emergency relief, outreach and brokerage, cultural strengthening, and social and emotional wellbeing.

The fund’s total value is $10 million. Funding sought should be for the value of the entire initiative, unless the initiative has already been partially funded.


  • Organisation Initiative Amount
    August 2020

    Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Ltd (VACSAL)

    Assertive Northern Heart Outreach $185,518

    Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association

    Caring for our elders $13,954

    Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association

    Cultural gifts $9,408

    Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association

    Christmas Hampers $17,145

    Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association

    Community healing concert $3,800

    Ballarat and District Aboriginal Association

    COVID-19 emergency relief $64,000

    Wathaurong Aboriginal Corporation

    Mental health initiative $250,000
    September 2020

    Elizabeth Morgan House Aboriginal Women's Service

    Koorie Women’s Heart $200,000

    Killara Foundation

    Social and Emotional Wellbeing initiative $100,000

    Dardi Munwurro

    You’ve been tagged $111,170

    First Peoples' Health and Wellbeing

    Social and Emotional Wellbeing initiative $279,400

    Nairm Marr Djambana

    Reconnecting to Culture, Community and Country $120,000

    Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Corporation

    Staying connected with community, Country and water. $127,000
    October 2020

    Oonah Health and Community Services Aboriginal Corporation

    Redesigned food security program $77,852

    Aboriginal Community Elders Service

    Reaching out to our Elders $220,000

    Weenthunga Health Network

    Weenthunga Networks Communities $96,978

    Nairm Marr Djambana

    60000 years of resilience and beyond $35,800

    Nairm Marr Djambana

    Youth Life Skills Project $37,900


    Our Way, Our Choice $100,000


    VACCA's Online Yarning Circles Program $100,000


    Nindedana Quaranook Mural $40,000

    Phunktional Arts

    Stories from the vale $331,000

    Bubup Willam

    Untitled (Therapeutic responses supporting Aboriginal children, families and early childhood staff) $165,000


    Strong, Well and Connected Yappera Families $165,000


    Food Ladder $58,471


    Deadly reading literacy bags $21,500

    Yoowinna Wurnalung Aboriginal Healing Service

    Community Safe Connections $149,579
    November 2020

    Ngarrimili Ltd

    Ngarrimili Wellbeing, Connection and Recovery Initiative $200,000

    Albury Wodonga Aboriginal Health Services

    Re-Strengthening Mob $110,880

    Southern Aboriginal Sports

    Bombala Kinda Sports Program $82,000

    Willum Warrain

    Supporting Aboriginal Women and Children $51,900


    Cultural Strengthening and Self Determination: Wayapa Wuurrk $120,000

    3KND Kool N Deadly Radio

    Kool N Deadly Schools Show $120,000

    South Aboriginal Sports

    Southern Storm/Lightning Sports Programs and Events $180,000

    Sunbury Aboriginal Corporation

    Emerging from COVID Stronger $64,000

    Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Ltd

    Koorie Hoops on the Move $90,000

    Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service

    VALS COVID Counselling Support $156,043

    Dardi Munwurro Pty Ltd

    Bramung Jaarn Pty Ltd $258,750

    Kirrae Health Service

    Jamarra Ugle-Hagan Youth Leadership Initiative $180,000
    December 2020

    Boorndawan Willam Aboriginal Healing Service

    Healing Spirit- Cultural Strengthening Program $41,262

    Oonah Health & Community Services Aboriginal Corporation

    Recovery Reconnection and Healing $50,096

    Our Songlines Pty Ltd

    Connected Mob $58,700

    Victorian Aboriginal Health Services (VAHS) / Launch Housing Services

    COVID-19 Recovery: VAHS Emergency Relief & Housing Brokerage Project $100,000

    Aunty Angela ten Buuren – Y Water Discovery Centre

    Cultural Gathering & “Gorong darrang” Scarred Tree Installation $26,226

    Aldara Yenara Australia Aboriginal Corporation

    Galnya Lotjpa (Strong Talk program) $132,200

    Vanessa Murdoch/EACH


    Nairm Marr Djambana

    Reconnecting to Culture, Community and Country (re-evaluated) $160,000

    Nairm Marr Djambana

    Youth life skills project (re-evaluated) $12,200
    January 2021

    Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative

    Meeting the health needs of our kids $487,083

    Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency

    Digital Literacy for Vulnerable Community Members $106,466

    Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency

    Inner Gippsland Community Gathering $17,619

    Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency

    Oven’s Murray Koorie Youth Program $359,174

    Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Limited

    Women’s Empowerment Program $67,450

    Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association

    Men’s Support $44,000

    Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative

    Men’s Group Re-connection to Country $53,900

    Dandenong and District Aborigines Co-operative Limited

    Youth Cultural, Emotional and Mental Health Initiative $34,435

    Moogji Aboriginal Council East Gippsland Incorporated

    Cann River Proposal $89,890

    Victorian Aboriginal Health Service

    Bunjilwarra Recovery and service future proofing $66,500

    Gippsland Latrobe Aboriginal Advocacy and Support Pty Ltd

    The Fingers Crossed Initiative $148,876

    First Peoples’ Health Wellbeing

    FPHW Social Enterprise café $315,000

    Kaiela Arts Shepparton/ Rumbalara

    Turtle Muster on the Lake $100,000

    Aldara Yenara Australia Aboriginal Corporation

    Gain Respect Our Own Pride $328,380
    February 2021

    Gunaikurnai Land & Waters Aboriginal Corporation

    Feeding the Mob $287,512

    Girraway Ganyi Consultancy

    Increasing mental health literacy $141,750

    Taungurung Land and Waters Council

    Gathering Place $74,208

    Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative

    Re-engage and Re-connect with our Aboriginal Community $120,000

    Bubup Wilam

    Social and emotional wellbeing support for families $202,000

    Miranda Edwards

    Lullas Children and Family Centre $70,000

    Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation

    Purronbeetch teenay Ballumbii $63,000

    Aborigines Advancement League

    Aboriginal Cultural Social and Emotional Officer $140,000

    Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative

    Gunditjmara COVID Response and Healing Strategy $120,000

    Boorndawan Willam Aboriginal Healing Services

    Strengthening Futures $100,400

    Maree Clarke and Footscray Community Arts Centre

    Possum Skin Cloak for the West, Wrapped in Culture Project $31,000

    Black Eagles Basketball Club

    Black Eagles 2021 Community Reinvestment Plan $40,000

    Murray Valley Aboriginal Corporation

    Healing Hands Healing Homes $50,512


    Elderly Community Health $85,000

    Ballarat District Aboriginal Co-operative and Federation University Australia

    Growing Capacity Through Education $170,000

    Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place

    Mullum Pantry: Reconnecting with the Mob $37,400

    Connecting Home Limited

    Stolen Generations COVID-19 Recovery Community and Cultural Strengthening Project $111,441

    Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place

    MMIGP Coordinate and Recover $59,400

    Aboriginal Community Elders Service and Merri Community Heath

    Supporting and Caring for our Elders $168,000

    Murray Valley Aboriginal Cooperative

    Responding and Healing in the Mallee $154,360

    Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation

    On Country Cultural Healing and Reconnection $122,000
    Grant total


  • The guidelines outline key information about the COVID-19 Aboriginal Response and Recovery Fund (Fund), including who can apply, how to apply and the selection criteria.

    All interested applicants should read these Guidelines before submitting a funding application.

  • 1. Initiatives must be Aboriginal-led

    All funded initiatives must be led by eligible Aboriginal entities and/or individuals.

    2. Eligible organisations

    All entities applying for the Fund must be Victorian based and have a registered Australian Business Number (ABN).

    To be eligible, you must be an Aboriginal entity incorporated under Commonwealth or Victorian legislation. This includes; Victorian Aboriginal businesses and not-for-profit organisations, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs), Traditional Owner groups and land trusts.

    3. Eligibility for individuals

    Aboriginal individuals residing in Victoria can apply for the Fund provided they partner with a Victorian based entity that has a registered Australian Business Number (ABN), and is:

    • an eligible Aboriginal entity (listed above)
    • in extenuating circumstances, a non-Aboriginal entity (for example, a local council or other organisation)

    The eligible entity must also have the capacity to receive funding and work with the individuals to deliver and manage the initiative, including meeting the reporting requirements.

    Note that individuals cannot partner with entities outside of Victoria as they are not eligible for funding.

    Eligible individuals must:

    • be aged 16 and over
    • if aged 16 or 17, obtain guardian approval
    • live in the community for which you submit an idea for an initiative

    Key conditions

    • The partnering entity must have the capacity to receive funding and work with the individuals to deliver and manage the initiative, including meeting the reporting requirements.
    • When an individual submits an application, they should attach a confirmation of support from their nominated partner entity. The entity’s board of management, responsible officer, or equivalent must have consented to act as a partner entity before the initiative is submitted. If support isn’t granted, an individual cannot progress their initiative further.

    The proposed initiative must fall within at least one of the following categories:

    • Emergency relief: to provide flexible, practical support for individuals and families in crisis, such as material aid, food, transportation, mobile phone data, funerals, accommodation, supports to resolve lateral violence or emerging family conflicts.
    • Outreach and brokerage: to support 'at risk' cohorts, including those at risk of disengagement from education, training and/or employment, or involvement in the child protection, family violence and justice system, etc.
    • Cultural strengthening: to ensure connection to culture, community and Country.
    • Improved social and emotional wellbeing (including improved mental health outcomes): initiatives to promote and protect mental wellbeing. For examples of how this could be done, refer to page 26 of the Balit Murrup: Aboriginal social emotional wellbeing framework. 2017-2027External Link .

    4. All documentation must be completed to be eligible

    Initiatives are only be eligible for funding if the applicant submits a complete application form that includes all the supporting information requested.

  • When applying, you should consider the selection criteria, which are equally weighted:


    • Initiatives should be led by an Aboriginal organisation or an Aboriginal community member.

    Effective and/or innovative

    • Initiatives should demonstrate how new knowledge, traditional or contemporary Aboriginal cultural knowledge, technologies, methodologies or processes will improve the effectiveness or quality of outcomes for Aboriginal communities.
    • Initiatives may be an extension of an existing program or idea, but must demonstrate significant enhancement or adaption to be successful.

    Address a service gap

    • Initiatives should not duplicate existing services and/or initiatives.

    Demonstrates local need and support from the community

    • Initiatives should be place-based initiatives that respond to the needs/demand from the local community. Statewide and regional responses will be considered but they must demonstrate place-based delivery. Assessment will include consideration of any priorities identified through Local Aboriginal Response Networks.

    Equitable distribution

    • Initiatives will be selected so as to support equitable distribution across Victoria, as well as distribution to different sized organisations and communities.

  • To be eligible for funding, your initiative must:

    • align with the Fund’s eligibility criteria
    • be responsive to a coronavirus (COVID-19) impact experienced in your local Aboriginal community
    • be completed within 6 months from the date of signing the funding agreement, excluding any necessary approvals and permissions
    • be able to be funded entirely through this Fund, unless additional funding has already been sourced
  • The following initiatives are not eligible for funding:

    • initiatives that do not align with these guidelines
    • ongoing operational or maintenance costs for initiatives upon initiative completion
    • initiatives from which the applicant or their immediate family will personally profit (noting that salaries for initiative administration are not considered personal profit)
    • initiatives that have been completed prior to the application being submitted
    • initiatives that are located outside Victoria
    • illegal, malicious or discriminatory activities or initiatives that will result in neighbourhood division
    • initiatives that are contradictory to government or landholder policy or practices
    • initiatives already accounted for in a local council’s 2020-21 budget statement
    • costs for feasibility studies, research/study placements, business cases or similar reports
    • costs associated with the preparation of the application
    • initiatives that are deemed to be unfeasible (due to budget, time constraints, legislative or regulatory constraints, technical constraints or similar)
    • initiatives for a private or for-profit purpose
    • initiatives that cannot be delivered within 6 months of signing the funding agreement (excluding time required for receipt of any necessary approvals and permissions)

    If you’re unsure about your initiative’s eligibility, contact the COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response and Recovery Fund project team at

  • Step 1: Applicants to submit their initiative proposal
    (July 2020 - February 2021)

    Interested applicants should:

    1. Identify an issue or gap in their community that is due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

    2. Develop an initiative idea that responds to this issue and can help their community respond and recover.

    3. Collect evidence that shows how their initiative demonstrates local need and support/demand from the local community, e.g. impacts identified by their Local Aboriginal COVID-19 Response Network. To find your Network contact Joshua Atkinson at or on 0427 438 379.

    4. Read these guidelines to make sure they are an “eligible entity” and their application aligns with the Fund’s guiding principles and considers the selection criteria.

    5. Submit their application via (insert link) prior to midnight 26 February 2021. When submitting an application, applicants must:

    • complete the application form with the information requested
    • register their contact information (and where relevant, their guardian’s contact information if they are aged 16 or 17, by completing and uploading the guardian consent form)
    • agree to these guidelines and relevant privacy policies

    Step 2: Assessment of applications (monthly)

    Department of Premier and Cabinet review

    Each month, the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) will shortlist applications by:

    1. reviewing applications against these guidelines
    2. advising applicants if their application is eligible or ineligible
    3. assessing applications against any priorities identified by Local Aboriginal COVID-19 Response Networks to ensure initiatives reflect the needs of the community
    4. reviewing eligible applications against the selection criteria and making initial assessments

    Step 3: Departmental review

    The Victorian Government department/s with portfolio responsibility for eligible initiatives will review all relevant applications.

    Step 4: COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Taskforce (Taskforce) Fund Subcommittee review

    1. On a monthly basis, a Taskforce Fund Subcommittee will review the shortlisted applications against the Fund’s guiding principles and selection criteria. The Subcommittee comprises Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations who are members of the Taskforce and work across the following service systems:

    • children, family and home
    • health and wellbeing
    • learning and skills
    • justice and safety
    • opportunity and prosperity
    • culture and Country
    • elders
    • youth

    2. Any conflicts of interest will be managed appropriately.

    3. The Taskforce Fund Subcommittee will make recommendations to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs on initiatives for approval based on the selection criteria.

    Step 5: Ministerial approval and announcement

    The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs will approve and announce initiatives on a monthly, rolling basis across the EOI period.

  • 1. Enter into a funding agreement with the Victorian Government

    Successful applicants will need to enter into a Victorian Common Funding Agreement (Agreement) with the relevant Victorian Government department. The Agreement will specify the initiative to be delivered and set out the funding conditions, a project plan, milestones and reporting requirements.

    2. Reporting

    While funding recipients will be required to comply with initiative monitoring and reporting requirements, the reporting is designed to be as least burdensome as possible. Standard templates will be provided for reporting. Key reporting requirements will include:

    • verbal updates where appropriate to the relevant department
    • a short written progress report halfway through the initiative timeline, providing a summary of the activities against milestones provided in the project plan
    • a short written final report within six weeks of completion of the initiative, including photographs, films or mixed media, where appropriate
    • a financial acquittal

    3. Payments and milestones

    The Victorian Government will pay invoices submitted upon completion of the milestones specified in the Agreement. Any proposed changes or variation to the initiative and initiative budget must be submitted to the relevant department and approved. Successful applicants can spend funds prior to the closure of the EOI process.

    4. Overspend

    Any overspend on initiatives will be the responsibility of the applicant and no further funding from the Fund will be provided. In the event of an underspend, the recipient organisation will need return any surplus funds they hold.

  • A conflict of interest is deemed to occur where an individual has any of the following:

    Financial interest

    Any individual having a direct or indirect financial interest in any of the applications for funding constitutes a conflict of interest. This includes an individual being an employee, board member or a member of a committee of management of an organisation that is seeking funding.

    Immediate family

    Any individual having an immediate family member who is likely to receive a financial benefit from an application for funding, or who would be involved in the delivery of the proposed project constitutes a conflict of interest.

    An ‘immediate family member’ is considered as a sibling, parent, child, partner or any other person whom the individual considers as immediate family.

    Personal obligation

    Any personal obligation, allegiance or loyalty (actual or perceived) which affects the member’s ability to make an unbiased decision in relation to the funding application constitutes a conflict of interest.

    Perceived conflict of interest

    If it could be perceived that an individual has private interests that may conflict with their public or official duties. If a third party could form the view that an individual’s interests or obligations could influence their decision making or performance.

    Management of conflict of interest

    To produce results in the best interests of the Victorian Aboriginal community, relevant government departments will effectively manage any conflict/s of interest (actual, potential or perceived) that anyone involved in the selection process has with any application or applicant organisation.

    The meeting of any conflict of interest will be recorded by the department.

Reviewed 18 June 2021

COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response Fund Team Department of Premier and Cabinet