Aboriginal Arts Commissioning Fund

Program guidelines

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The department acknowledges the Traditional Custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and communities.

We acknowledge the diversity, uniqueness and strengths of Western Australian Aboriginal cultures and identities; and pay our respects to all Aboriginal people, communities and cultures; and to Elders both past and present. 

The Aboriginal Arts Commissioning Fund uses the terms Aboriginal people, cultures, arts and artists; and Western Australian First Nations people.


Funding delivered through the Aboriginal Arts Commissioning Fund is intended to:

  • encourage the expression and preservation of traditional and contemporary regional Western Australian Aboriginal cultures, communities, and identities through the arts
  • support the development of significant and large-scale works created and produced by Aboriginal artists in regional Western Australia
  • enable employment opportunities for regional Aboriginal artists, arts workers and communities
  • showcase the unique stories of Western Australia’s First Nations peoples and engage new and diverse audiences.

Your application should align with these objectives.

Successful applicants will be required to present the project within two years of funding approval, with the launch of the work within WA. The end date must be no later than August 2024.

Who can apply?

Applications are open to Western Australian based:

  • Aboriginal artists, producers, storytellers, performers, writers and arts and cultural organisations
  • organisations that work with Aboriginal artists, producers and arts organisations whose applications demonstrate:
    • evidence of significant Aboriginal involvement in the project, including concept planning, development of the work, decision-making and management
    • partnerships underpinned by Aboriginal self-determination and cultural and creative control, articulated via an appropriate agreement such as a Memorandum of Understanding.

The artist/s undertaking the work must be based in regional or remote Western Australia. Where a work draws on culture or stories local to a particular area, the application must demonstrate that the key personnel is representative of that area, or that appropriate consultation has occurred.

Any of the above parties can be the primary applicant; however, it is recommended that the application is prepared and submitted by the party that will take the lead on coordinating the commission.  

Please note that if successful, the primary applicant will also be the one who is issued with the contract and is responsible for receiving payment and acquitting the grant. 

What can I apply for?

The Aboriginal Arts Commissioning Fund supports the direct costs of commissioning, developing and producing new work. Applications can be for one or more of the following:

  • creating new work in dance, music, writing, theatre, craft and/or visual arts
  • research, development, presentation and/or production of a new work
  • collaborations (individuals, groups and/or organisations) to produce new work in one or several art forms. 

In addition, commissions that involve collaborations with any of the following parties will be highly regarded:

  • young people
  • Western Australian artists or organisations 
  • Culture and Arts Portfolio agencies — Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth Theatre Trust, State Library of Western Australia (including the State Records Office of Western Australia) and the Western Australian Museum
  • national or international arts companies, organisations or festivals.

If your project does not correspond in some way to any of the above, contact a Grants Officer for advice before starting an application.

How much can I apply for?

Eligible applicants can apply for up to $300,000 to support the direct costs of commissioning, developing and producing new large-scale work. 

The project must be completed within 24 months of receiving the funds.  

When can I apply?

Applications to this funding category are assessed by a peer assessment panel. The key dates calendar has application opening and closing dates, activity start dates, draft review deadlines and notification dates.

All times are in AWST (for Perth, Western Australia).

You are encouraged to submit your application before your submission date to ensure you have plenty of time to allow for technical or eligibility resubmission issues. 

Processing of grant payments to successful applicants will not start until after the grant contract is signed and returned. Depending on the activity start date, we cannot guarantee notification and/or availability of grant funds before the activity begins.

What can’t I apply for?

  • Purchase of capital equipment including instruments, equipment, software, computers, tablets (iPads) and/or uniforms
  • capital works such as construction or purchasing of studios, work spaces or gallery spaces
  • activities already funded by Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries’ culture and the arts grant programs
  • activities relating to radio broadcasting
  • display, restoration or conservation of cultural and/or historical material
  • costs of manufacturing and/or producing prototypes
  • fundraising, competitions, prizes and trophies
  • the work of State or Federal government departments
  • activity that will be academically assessed or any school curriculum-based activity
  • facsimiles, genealogical works and histories of local governments, clubs, districts and organisations
  • activities related to an individual’s membership in a national organisation
  • ongoing staffing costs
  • film and television activities such as:
    • the development or production of narrative shorts or features, pilots for television series, mainstream animation e.g. conventional character-based narrative cartoons
    • documentaries, including documentaries on the arts
    • screenwriting activities or script development for film and television
    • stand-alone documentation activities
    • education activities, or activities where members of the public take part, where the main or only artform being used is film or digital, unless it’s in support of an artist’s work.

What will make my application ineligible?

Your application will be ineligible if you:

  • do not adhere to support material limits and format requirements
  • do not adhere to budget requirements
  • start the activity before the eligible start date
  • submit an application late
  • exceed application limits
  • have any key personnel with an overdue acquittal
  • are a staff member of DLGSC (staff of portfolio organisations may apply subject to meeting the Code of Conduct and Secondary Employment Policy)
  • request funding that exceeds the funding cap of the program
  • apply for activity that is delivered as part of an educational institution’s curriculum or will be academically assessed
  • are a Portfolio organisation of the department
  • are not a Western Australian group, organisation or individual.

How many times can I apply?

There are no limits to the number of applications you may make to this program, however you may only have one successful application in a 12-month period.

Applications to this program do not count towards the general DLGSC culture and the arts grants three-application limit or the $60,000 total limit. 

How do I apply?

Please apply using the Online Grants web portal.

More information on how to apply can be found in the application manual.

For your reference, the core application questions are required.

The key dates calendar has opening and closing dates, activity start dates and draft review deadlines.

How will my application be assessed?

Applications to this funding program are assessed by a peer assessment panel.

Applications must also demonstrate the potential to deliver on the program’s stated objectives.

All applications are assessed against the four criteria:

  • Quality
  • Reach
  • Good planning
  • Financial responsibility.

Each has a weighting and a subset of dimensions with definitions. More information about the dimensions and definitions, which have been developed by artists and creatives representing their sector, can be found in the application manual.

You are not expected to address all dimensions and definitions, only those most relevant to your application.

Your activity must meet at least one of the objectives of the program. Assessors will consider applications against the relevant dimensions and allocate a weighted score against each of the four criteria.

See the application manual for more information about how your application will be assessed.

Final approval of successful applications depends on available budget and approval by the Minister or delegated authority.


Dimensions of quality

Imagination, authenticity, originality, inquisitiveness, excellence, captivation, relevance, innovation, challenge, risk and rigour.

Weighting 35%

Quality refers to the level of artistic and cultural significance of the activity. Quality may be demonstrated by, but not limited to; examples of previous work, sector support, timeliness of the work and a strong history in your area of practice. It may also be demonstrated through the skills and experience of the people involved in the activity, and the alignment of those skills and experience to deliver the project.


Dimensions of reach

Diversity, platform, collaboration, leverage, number and growth.

Weighting 20%

Reach refers to the level of impact the activity is likely to have. Reach may be demonstrated by including information for; networking opportunities, relevant marketing and promotional strategies, number of participants and the potential increase in audience or markets.

Good planning

Dimensions of good planning

Realistic, achievable, considered, demonstrated research and/or consultation, evaluation.

Weighting 25%

Good planning refers to the level of consideration which has been given to practically undertaking the activity. Good Planning can be demonstrated by, but not limited to; carefully considered preparation, confirmation of key personnel, a realistic timeline and achievable outcomes, documented research and/or consultation, and a process of evaluation.

Financial responsibility

Dimensions of financial responsibility

Value, comprehensive budget, financial self-sufficiency.

Weighting 20%

Financial responsibility refers to the sound management of the budget. Financial responsibility can be demonstrated by but is not limited to; efficient use of resources, reasonable expenses and an accurate and comprehensive budget. Other sources of income have been considered and included where appropriate and the activity goes some way towards self-sufficiency.

Four components of your application

There are four components of this grant application: core application questions, project targets, financial information and support material. Each plays a significant and distinct role in creating a whole picture about your activity.

Core application questions

Your answers to the core application questions should give assessors a concise overview of your activity. Each question has a 1500-character limit. You can extract a copy of your draft application in Online Grants at any stage to share with others for their feedback.

Respond to the following questions with reference to the assessment criteria and program objectives:

1. What is the new large-scale work to be created and produced?

Provide a summary of the new work, outlining the key elements involved in developing the work, and where it will take place. This should include noting the regional area/s the work will take place in and the art form/s the project will take. 

2. What is the significance of the new work and how will it engage new and diverse audiences?

Describe why the themes of the work are relevant to telling the unique stories of Western Australian Aboriginal people in a regional context and how the work will engage new and diverse audiences.

3. Who are the key creatives and collaborators and what are their roles in the development process?

Outline how key personnel will contribute to the development/delivery of the project. Also describe the potential collaborations and partnerships.   

Note: remember to attach brief CVs, biographies or profiles demonstrating the experience of the creative personnel in your support material. 

4. What regional employment and professional development opportunities will be created through the activity? 

Describe any paid work that will be undertaken by regional Aboriginal artists, arts workers and communities in the development and production of the work. This can include work undertaken by artists, assistance staff, technical crew, creatives, and any other regional people whose employment directly relates to the project.

Also describe any opportunities that will be provided to regional Aboriginal artists, arts workers and communities for professional skills development. 

5. How will you plan, manage and deliver the project?

Provide a summary of the key milestones in your project planning and delivery. 

Note: you will need to attach a detailed development plan with your support materials.

6. How do you plan to engage the community?

Describe how your project will engage and encourage participation or involvement from members of the regional community that the work will be developed and/or produced in. 

Project targets

You are required to provide relevant project target information for your activity. This information will be considered as part of the assessment of your application. Project target information will be used to provide further clarity on your activity for the assessor and will provide important data for the department for research, analysis and advocacy purposes.

You only need to provide information for the categories and items relevant to your activity. 

If your application is successful you will be required to report against the planned project targets at the acquittal stage.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

Financial information

The financial information in your budget helps to demonstrate that all elements of your activity have been considered, thoroughly researched and costed. A good budget also provides confidence for the department that your activity will be a sound investment for the State of Western Australia.

You should indicate which expenditure items you want the department to support. List those items in the ‘Additional Notes’ section of the application form’s budget page.

If you are registered for GST you should not include GST in the budget figures.

All amounts should be in Australian dollars.

Your funding request is the difference between your expenditure minus your income. To ensure this amount is calculated accurately, seek quotes for all expenditure items (whether or not you intend to include these as support material) and include all costs associated with the activity, even if they are supplied in-kind.

For each expenditure or income item you add to the budget, use the notes area alongside the item to explain how it relates to the delivery of your activity and how the cost was calculated. If relevant, include a breakdown or itemisation of costs.


Expenditure items can vary significantly from one activity to another. Any legitimate expense that is eligible can be included in the budget.  

Do not duplicate costs in the budget form. For example, if you receive a quote for advertising which includes design, do not add an additional item for design. Simply use ‘advertising’ as the expenditure item, and add a note explaining that the cost includes design.

This program may fund up to 80% of your activity costs. You must demonstrate at least 20% income, or your application will be ineligible.

Examples of eligible expenditure items are here below. Make sure you check What I can't apply for for ineligible items.

Eligible expenditure items


Expenses related to the management and administration of the activity e.g. Telephone/internet, insurance, postage and stationery. Eligible expenditure items in this category may also include audit costs and accessibility costs (expenditure associated with making your activity accessible to participants or audiences with a disability).

Marketing, promotion and distribution

Costs associated with marketing to your target audience e.g. information, promotion and audience engagement activities, advertising, graphic design, merchandise photography, videography, public relations and production of marketing collateral.

Preparation, development, production and exhibition/presentation

Costs related to the remount, production and delivery of the activity or its deliverables, including the costs of presentation and exhibition. Eligible items may include venue hire, lighting hire, set construction, manufacturing costs, recording fees, rehearsal space hire, props and audio-visual costs.

Salaries, fees and living allowances

Expenditure in this category should include salaries, fees and allowances for all key personnel, with separate components itemised in the budget notes. We support appropriate rates of pay for all people involved in your activity. Refer to the following websites for information on industry standard payment rates:

If these standards do not apply to your activity then you must outline how reasonable rates have been calculated. For long-term activities, it may be appropriate to pay artists a rate based on a yearly salary for a similar kind of work. If this is the case, you need to clearly explain the rationale for the pay rate in your budget notes. 

All rates should be relative to level of experience.

Please note that organisations, such as Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, predominantly provide information on minimum base rates for employees engaged on a full-time, part-time or casual basis. Rates for artists and arts workers engaged as contractors will include a loading to cover the costs of being self-employed. Full-time, part-time and casual rates do not factor in these costs and should not be used when engaging contractors.

Travel and freight

Costs associated with transporting people, equipment or goods. Eligible items may include fares (taxi, airplane, bus etc.), tolls, land or air freight, and vehicle hire.


This program does not fund 100% of your activity costs. You must demonstrate at least 20% income or your application will be ineligible.  

Eligible income Items

Earned income

May include ticket sales, product sales, performance fees and merchandise sales. For performances, this amount should factor in the number of performances, average ticket price and projected venue capacity.

Corporate sponsorship

List any income received through sponsorship from corporate bodies or businesses. Income received through government sponsorship should be included in the relevant government income category. 

Philanthropic donations

May include contributions from fundraising, crowdfunding, donations, gifts and bequests.

Australia Council, other Federal Government, other State Government, local government

All grants and sponsorship being sought from Local, State and Federal government, the Australia Council, and other government sources must be included, whether or not this support has been confirmed. If your application is to be assessed by a peer assessment panel, we will attempt to confirm the status of any pending funding applications directly with the funding body prior to the panel assessment. Do not include department grant funds being requested as part of this application.

Other income

If you are making a cash contribution, or someone is providing cash to the activity, list this item as a ‘cash contribution’ or similar. Include any other income source that does not fit within any of the above categories and provide enough detail to identify the income source. 

In-kind expenditure and income

Some expenses may be offered to you for free or at a discount. This might be borrowed equipment, the use of a rehearsal space, donated or discounted goods or services, volunteers (including yourself), negotiated discounted fees and allowances. Anything given to your project at no expense to you is considered in-kind.

All in-kind expenditure must be included as a budget item under the in-kind expenditure category. The corresponding recognition of in-kind income is created automatically in your online application, and you do not need to enter any in-kind income budget items. The total in-kind expenditure must always equal the total in-kind income.

If, for example, you are hiring a venue, which would normally charge $2000, and you have successfully negotiated an $800 (40%) discount, you would include venue hire fee as a budget item under the Expenditure category of $1200 and $800 under the In-Kind Expenditure category.

Additional notes

This section of the budget provides an opportunity for you to detail any additional information you feel may help to clarify items within your budget.  For example, for fees and salaries you can indicate in this section how you calculated your amount.

You should use this section to indicate which expenditure items you want the department to support.


The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) considers any grant payment to be taxable income for the purposes of your annual income tax return. If you receive a grant you are encouraged to discuss your tax implications with your tax agent or the ATO.

Registered for Goods and Services Tax

If you are registered for GST you must show your expenditure items exclusive of the GST component. For example, you have been quoted $550 including GST for lighting hire. In your expenditure budget you would only show lighting hire of $500.

If you are registered for GST and your activity is funded, the department payment will include a 10% GST component to cover those items on which GST is payable.

Not registered for Goods and Services Tax

If you are not registered for GST you must show your expenditure items inclusive of the GST component. For example, you have been quoted $550 including GST for lighting hire. In your expenditure budget you would show lighting hire of $550.

If you are not registered for GST and your activity is funded, the department payment will include the GST component for those items on which GST is payable.

Support material

Support materials are crucial to a successful application and are essential for assessors to fully gauge the value of your activity.

It is highly recommended you pay close attention to the support material you choose to make sure it offers the best support for your application. Your choice of support material should help to demonstrate the four assessment criteria: Quality, Reach, Good Planning and Financial Responsibility as well as the objectives of the program.

There are five mandatory units of support material for the Aboriginal Arts Commissioning Fund. You must submit all five units.

Within each unit there are acceptable formats and limits. You must strictly adhere to these formats and limits or your application will be ineligible.

Formats that are not eligible are: .pages, .zip, .excel, MP3s and .eml (screenshots of emails are accepted).

If you are submitting audio and/or video files you must upload them to file streaming sites like Vimeo, YouTube, Bandcamp or SoundCloud that do not require a log-in to access. 

Do not use Dropbox for any support material. 

You can find instructions on how to use these sites at the following links:

More information about how to submit your materials can be found in the application manual.

Online submission of support materials is preferred however we do accept posted materials.  If you need to submit by post, please contact us to discuss your options.

The Supplier Creation Form (if required) does not count towards your support material limits, however, if required, it must be submitted with your support materials. 

Units of support material

Unit 1 Project Lead and/or Applicant CV — Mandatory

Examples and details of material in this unit
  • Project Leader and/or Applicant’s CV demonstrating relevant experience and expertise.
Acceptable formats and limits
  • Maximum 5 A4 pages (One PDF only, 5MB max per file).

Unit 2 Biographies and Profiles — Mandatory

Examples and details of material in this unit
  • Short biographies or profiles for key creative or artistic personnel.
Acceptable formats and limits

Maximum 5 A4 pages (One PDF only, 5MB max per file).

Unit 3 Artistic/Creative Materials — Mandatory

Examples and details of material in this unit
  • Artistic/creative materials relevant to your project. May include materials from previous work, or materials to be further developed for this project.
Acceptable formats and limits

Select up to 3 of the following:

  • Maximum 10 A4 pages of text (PDF or Word maximum file size 5 MB per document) 
  • Maximum 10 images (Either one PDF document containing up to 10 images maximum file size 5 MB OR 10 image files maximum file size 5 MB per image) 
  • Maximum 6 minutes of audio (3 web links max) * 
  • Maximum 6 minutes of video (3 web links max) *.

*All audio and video must be submitted as weblinks online. If your video or audio files are longer than 6 minutes in total, you must specify the exact minute markers the assessor should start and finish viewing. Links to text or images online are not accepted.

All text must be legible at 100% (10pt min). If text is not legible the assessors will be unable to review the document. 

Unit 4 Development Plan — Mandatory

Examples and details of material in this unit
  • A Development Plan outlining the proposed development process for the new work. 
Acceptable formats and limits
  • Maximum 10 A4 pages (One PDF only, 5MB max per file).

Unit 5 Evidence of risk assessment and planning — Mandatory

Evidence of any risks identified in your project as a result of COVID-19 and how you plan to mitigate these risks. You may also wish to provide information on alternative plans should your proposed project or activity be impacted. 

For example, consider including a risk management statement or plan if your project includes activities which are impacted by, or could be impacted by, public heath restrictions, such as public gatherings. 

Acceptable formats and limits
  • Up to 5 A4 pages in a Word or PDF document only (maximum file size 5MB).

Unit 6 Administered Grant Agreement Form (Only needed if a third party is administering a grant on behalf of those undertaking the project or activity)

Examples and details of material in this unit
  • Administered Grant Agreement Form.
Acceptable formats and limits (PDF only, 5MB max)

Unit 7 Documents of support — Optional

Examples and details of material in this unit
  • Documents of support such as letters or emails from partners, peers, industry and target community; and/or reviews, articles or media reports on your previous work.
Acceptable formats and limits

Maximum 10 A4 pages (One PDF only, 5MB max per file).

Draft review

All applicants to the Aboriginal Arts Commissioning Fund can request a draft review when the application is complete. Check the key dates calendar  for the draft review deadline. 

You can request a draft review any time before the draft review request deadline. Only one request for review can be submitted per application. 

You can continue to edit your application while waiting for your draft review feedback. However, please be aware that depending on the volume of draft review requests, staff may not be able to provide feedback. In the unlikely event that this might happen, it is up to you to ensure that you submit your application before the submission deadline. 

You are strongly encouraged to make your draft review request well before the deadline to give staff sufficient time to provide quality feedback and for you to then update your application. You will be unable to request a review after the deadline has been passed. 

Contact onlinegrantsupportca@dlgsc.wa.gov.au if you require assistance requesting a draft review in Online Grants. 

Acquittal report

If you’re successful you will be required to fill in an acquittal report when your activity has finished. An acquittal report details your activity and how you spent the grant. The acquittal report will be available for you to access in Online Grants once a copy of your signed funding agreement has been received.

Your acquittal report must be submitted within 90 days of the activity completion date as specified in the funding agreement.  

You will need to attach relevant documents, images and videos that substantiate the delivery of the activity and that may demonstrate the impact and outcomes achieved.

The report will also include your activity budget and you will be required to enter all the actual figures against each budget item and add any additional items not in the original budget. Variations between budget and actual figures are acceptable; however, you must provide an explanation for large variations in the Notes for that item. As you enter actual figures, the activity profit/loss will be automatically updated and displayed at the top of the Financial Information page.

The funding acquittal report also includes the option to provide feedback to help us to continually review and improve the service we provide.

Assistance for applicants

If you need more information, please read the program guide and application manual.

Grants Officers are available via telephone and email to answer queries about applications and suitability of activities to specific programs.

If you need extra assistance due to disability, language barriers or any other factor that may disadvantage you in completing your application, please contact us.

The advice provided by Grants Officers does not guarantee the success of your application.

Due to the high number of applications received, each funding round is highly competitive.

All applications are considered on their own merits and against the assessment criteria and program objectives.

Contact us

Online Grants portal technical support

For assistance using Online Grants or to report any related technical issues, contact the Online Grants Support Team: onlinegrantsupportca@dlgsc.wa.gov.au

Grants Officers

For enquiries relating to the Aboriginal Arts Commissioning Fund program, including advice or assistance with your application, contact a Grants Officer: 

Telephone 61 8 6552 7400
Toll Free (Country WA callers only) 1800 634 541
Email grantsprogramsca@dlgsc.wa.gov.au 

Assistance for people with disability

The department is committed to supporting applicants with disability. Information can be provided in alternative formats (large print, electronic or Braille) upon request.

If you require special assistance in preparing your application, please call 61 8 6552 7400 or toll free for regional WA callers on 1800 634 541.

Family, friends, mentors and/or carers can attend meetings with you.

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, contact us through one of the following:

Interpreting assistance

For interpreting assistance in languages other than English, telephone the Translation and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50 and ask for a connection to 6552 7400 or 1800 634 541.

Regional applicants

Toll Free (Country WA callers only): 1800 634 541

Email the Grants Officers: grantsprogramsca@dlgsc.wa.gov.au

Page reviewed 07 November 2022