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The NSW Government created the ‘Stronger Communities Fund’ to assist amalgamated local councils begin the delivery of projects to improve community infrastructure and services.

Stronger Communities Fund Grants

Grants available are $10 Million for councils formed as a result of two Councils merging.  $15 Million is available where three or more Councils merged.

Up to $1 Million of the grant to is available to be allocated to incorporated not-for-profit Community Groups, while the rest of the money is to be spent on infrastructure and services.

Criteria & Assessment

The Stronger Communities Guidelines assist Councils to allocate grants by providing criteria to select community grants, criteria to assess projects and a list of ineligible projects.

Major Projects that are prioritised for funding must:

  • have been through a community consultation process;
  • demonstrate social and/or economic benefits to the community;
  • consider issues of sustainability and equity across the broader community;
  • demonstrate project feasibility and value for money, including full lifecycle costs;
  • did not have funds allocated by the former councils; and
  • give consideration to the processes and procedures outlined in the capital expenditure review guidelines issued by the Office of Local Government.

Community Grants Programs must:

  • deliver social, cultural, economic or environmental benefits to local communities;
  • address an identified community priority;
  • be well defined with a clear budget;
  • demonstrate that any ongoing or recurrent costs of the project can be met by the community group once grant funding has been expensed; and
  • the organisation must demonstrate the capacity to manage funds and deliver the project.

Councils must establish a Panel to assess projects and provide recommendations to Council.  The Panel will be made up of:

  • Administrator, or delegate;
  • State Member(s) of Parliament or representative;
  • Regional Coordinator of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, or delegate;
  • Other members, appointed by the Administrator, as required; and
  • An independent probity adviser, appointed by the Administrator to advise the Panel on their deliberations and assessment process.


All funding must be committed by June 2019 and all funding must be acquitted by December 2019.

Amalgamations of Local Councils Still Pending

Several Sydney amalgamations are still pending including:

  • Burwood, City of Canada Bay and Strathfield Municipal councils
  • Hornsby Shire and Ku-ring-gai councils
  • Hunter’s Hill, Lane Cove and City of Ryde councils
  • Mosman Municipal, North Sydney and Willoughby City councils
  • Randwick City, Waverley and Woollahra Municipal councils

MatthewsFolbigg Lawyers continue to represent North Sydney Council in their appeals in the Land and Environment Court and the Court of Appeal.

If you would like assistance with any planning, local government or environmental law matter.  Contact our expert team of planning lawyers, local government lawyers and environmental lawyers in Parramatta on 1800 300 308 or