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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Indigenous Advancement Strategy

The Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) is the way the Australian Government funds and delivers a range of programs for Indigenous Australians. The IAS is administered by the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA)

The NIAA is focused on improving the lives of Indigenous Australians. Our key focus areas include:

  • The positive impact that education has on the future success of individuals, families and communities is clear. Children who go to school have better life outcomes.
  • Employment, economic development and social participation improve the lives of families and communities. The right conditions and incentives need to be in place for Indigenous Australians to participate in the economy and broader society.
  • Growing up in a healthy and safe home and community is essential for families to thrive and reach their full potential. In particular, the violence that too many women and children face must be addressed.

In the 2019-20 Budget, the Australian Government allocated $5.2 billion to the IAS, over four years to 2022-23, for grant funding processes and administered procurement activities that address the objectives of the IAS.

Through the IAS, NIAA is working to improve the way the Australian Government does business with Indigenous Australians to ensure funding achieves outcomes.

The structure of the IAS supports working with Indigenous Australians, communities, industries, business and service providers. It allows for joint development of solutions at the regional and local level. Funded providers are expected to work closely with Indigenous communities in the design and delivery of projects.

The IAS is supported by the Regional Network in  NIAA, which positions senior decision makers close to the people and communities they work with. Staff in the Regional Network work closely with funded providers and communities to develop and implement local solutions to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

Changes to the IAS Guidelines

The Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) Guidelines are changing to align with the Government’s Streamlining Government Grants Administration agenda.

The changes will make the Guidelines:

  • Easier to read - The new Grant Opportunity Guidelines (GOGs) will be on the whole-of-Government template and will use the same terminology as other Australian Government agencies. This will mean that the GOGs format and language will be familiar whenever you apply for funding from an Australian Government agency.
  • Easier to understand program requirements - Instead of an overarching set of IAS Guidelines, each funding opportunity will have its own GOGs. Each set of GOGs will provide detailed information about the specific funding opportunity and the criteria to be addressed - this should make it easier to decide whether to apply for funding.
  • Give preference to fund suitable Indigenous organisations - a framework is clearly outlined in the GOGs to give preference for funding to organisations with the highest level of Indigenous involvement. This supports our commitment to working with Indigenous Australians to maximise their influence over the design and implementation of grant-funded activities that are intended to benefit them.
    • This does not mean that non-Indigenous organisations cannot be funded under the IAS. However, they will be expected to demonstrate a commitment to Indigenous employment and engagement.

The new Grant Opportunity Guidelines (GOGs) will be published on GrantConnect.

Applying for funding

If you are interested in applying for IAS funding, you can see current and forecasted opportunities by going to GrantConnect.

You can also contact your local NIAA Regional Office.

Community Led pathways

Communities, organisations, businesses and individuals will still be able to approach the Agency with funding proposals. This will take place under the Agency Collaborates Grant Opportunity Guidelines (GOGs).

Before considering this pathway, you should check GrantConnect for other funding opportunities that may align with your idea. IAS funding must be invested strategically to achieve best outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, and so the Agency would not generally fund a proposal that could be funded through another pathway.

We recognise that preparing a grant application is a significant commitment of time for any organisation. The Agency will therefore review your funding proposal, before you are asked to prepare a full application.

Your proposal will be reviewed in the context of the criteria in the Agency Collaborates GOGs, regional strategies and program priorities. By doing this, we can make sure that you are not asked to invest resources in preparing applications for proposals that cannot be funded under the IAS or are unlikely to succeed.

Applications submitted before 26 July 2021

If you have submitted an application for funding under the previous Guidelines, your application will be assessed against the guidelines that were in effect at the time it was lodged. If your application was lodged before publication of the new Agency Collaborates Guidelines on 26 July 2021, no further action is required (unless the Agency requests further information).

If you have a Community Led Initial Proposal being considered, contact your NIAA Regional Office to discuss next steps.

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