Connecting to Country

Program guidelines

This program has been revised due to COVID-19.
Please ensure you read the information below.

The department acknowledges that the arts and cultural industries have experienced, and will continue to experience, disruption from the impacts of COVID-19. Please refer to the Western Australian Government website for COVID-19 latest information.

It is important that we resume our programs to maintain creative activities, support ongoing arts practices, facilitate experimentation and encourage viability during this period. In response to COVID-19 we ask that all applicants consider the following in relation to their project or program of activities before submitting an application:

  • advise of any risks identified in your project as a result of COVID-19 and how you plan to mitigate these risks 

  • consider including a Risk Management Statement as part of your support material if your project includes activities which are impacted by, or could be impacted by, public heath restrictions, such as public gatherings

  • reference the Department of Health's guidance on events

Providing this information, either through answers to application questions or support materials, allows assessors to consider your application against the relevant criteria. The level and detail of information provided should be commensurate with the risks identified.  

If you have any questions regarding your application, please contact us

On this page


Funding distributed through Connecting to Country is intended to achieve the following objectives:

  • facilitate sharing of cultural knowledge and skills between generations, such as preservation of language, stories and dance
  • recognise Aboriginal cultural leadership within the Aboriginal community and support leadership development in young people
  • contribute to stronger community mental health and wellbeing
  • promote traditional ways of maintaining cultural knowledge.

Who can apply?

Applications are open to Aboriginal communities across Western Australia; or Western Australian groups that work with Aboriginal people in community, who can demonstrate strong Aboriginal governance and leadership in their application.

These may include:

  • Western Australian Aboriginal organisations, including art, language, media, cultural, youth, ranger and other community groups (men’s/women’s groups)
  • education and health service providers
  • WA local government authorities.

Where a non-Aboriginal organisation is the applicant or project lead, evidence of significant Aboriginal involvement in the project, including concept planning, development of the work, decision-making and management is required.

What can I apply for?

Connecting to Country supports a wide range of activities that enable Aboriginal people across Western Australia to renew links between their communities, Country and culture. 

These may include, but are not limited to:

  • activities to improve understanding of Country, ancestry and kinship connections
  • travel to culturally significant places to connect with traditional and contemporary knowledge
  • a bush trip to facilitate the transfer of Aboriginal cultural knowledge and skills from older to younger generations
  • youth diversionary projects focused on reconnecting to Country, culture and identity
  • activities that promote positive mental health, wellbeing and resilience through community led cultural healing projects
  • opportunities to engage with language and stories about places and experiences
  • projects that focus on women’s or men’s business 
  • activities to document, preserve and archive stories or cultural knowledge for access by future generations such as digitisation or transcription of oral histories.

How much can I apply for?

Applicants can apply for funding up to $25,000 to support the proposed project or activity. This includes, for example, costs associated with travel, equipment hire, specialist services, documentation and catering. 

The amount of funding sought should reflect:

  • the length and scale of the activity
  • the number of people involved
  • the range of activities occurring
  • the anticipated impact of the program for participants.

When can I apply?

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

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.

Applications to this funding category are assessed by assessment panels.

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

Processing of grant payments to successful applicants will not start until the grant contract is signed and returned. Depending on the activity start date, we cannot guarantee notification and/or availability of funding 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
  • Costs of manufacturing and/or producing prototypes
  • Fundraising, competitions, prizes and trophies
  • The work of State or Federal government departments
  • Activities related to an individual’s membership in a national organisation
  • Ongoing staffing costs.

What will make my application ineligible?

You will make your application ineligible if you:

  • do not adhere to support material limits and format requirements
  • start the activity before the eligible start date
  • submit a late application
  • have any key personnel with an overdue acquittal
  • are a staff member of the department (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?

Only one application can be submitted per program submission or closing date.

How do I apply?

Please apply using the Online Grants web portal and select Connecting to Country from the program options. Online applications are preferred; however, if you cannot access Online Grants, you can contact us to request a hardcopy form and discuss postal submission. 

The key components of your application are the core application questions, financial information and support material, although you will be required to provide other relevant information with your application.

Before commencing an application, please contact us to discuss your proposal and any assistance you may need with your application.

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 will be assessed by a panel of Aboriginal people and industry experts with backgrounds in the arts, culture and heritage. 

All applications are assessed against the program’s objectives and the following four criteria: 

  • Quality
    • Recognition and maintenance of culture within the community
  • Reach
    • Positive impact for young people in the community
    • Preservation or documentation
  • Good planning
  • Financial responsibility.

Assessors will consider your application against the relevant dimensions and allocate a weighted score for each of the four criteria.

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


Weighting 30%

Recognition and maintenance of culture within the community

The potential to share and maintain traditional Aboriginal culture between generations, connect people to Country, and have a positive impact on community well-being.


Weighting 30%

Positive impact for young people in the community

The ability of the project to facilitate intergenerational transmission of culture and knowledge to young people, support the development of youth leadership skills and promote cultural leadership capacity building.

Preservation or documentation

The potential for significant cultural or historical information to be recorded, archived or preserved for access by future generations.

Good planning

Weighting 20%

Careful and considered preparation, confirmation of key personnel, realistic timelines and achievable outcomes, demonstrated research processes and/or consultation if required, a clear, well considered evaluation process.

Financial responsibility

Weighting 20%

A comprehensive budget and value for money, including in-kind income allocations and other funding sources.

Four components of your application

There are four components of this grant application: core application questions, target output information, 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 an overview of your activity. Each question has a 1500-character limit.

If you need more information on how to prepare your application, please read the application manual.

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

1. Provide background information about your organisation and its purpose.

Include whether there are any other partners involved. 

2. Who is planning this trip/project?

Tell us who is taking part and what is their role.

3. Provide an outline of the proposed activity.

Where are you planning to go? What do you want to do? Why is this important? How will you ensure the safety of all participants?

4. What will be the legacy of this activity?

What do you hope to achieve by doing this activity? How will the value of the activity be continued in some way? 

5. Provide an estimated timeline for the proposal.

Include all the steps you will take to complete the proposed activity.

Target output information  

All applicants are required to provide target outputs for their activity.

The target outputs provide the department with quantitative data.  The aggregated target output data provides important information about your activity as well as capturing trends in the arts, cultural and creative sectors 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 targets at the contract 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.

This program can fund 100% of your activity 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.

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 and development

Costs related to the planning, production and delivery of the project or activity or its deliverables, including the costs of presentation and exhibition. Eligible items may include documenting fees, audio-visual costs and venue hire.

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.

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, vehicle hire and certain camping or regional costs.


This program can fund 100% of your activity costs. Please detail any income you are expecting from the project or activity, including In-Kind contributions.

Eligible income Items

Earned income

May include sales, or fees and merchandise sales.

Corporate sponsorship

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 an 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.

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 materials

Support materials are crucial to a successful application and are essential for assessors to fully gauge the value of your activity. Failure to submit the required support material with your application will render your application ineligible.

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.

You must strictly adhere to the formats and limits or your application will be ineligible. Formats that are NOT eligible are: .pages, .zip, .excel, MP3s and .eml (however screenshots of emails are ok). 

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. 

As an online grants portal user, you can choose to upload your support materials with your online application OR you can post/courier your materials to us (e.g. as printed matter, on CD or USB drive). If you choose to post your support material this must be done on the same day as submitting your application online. Mail must be post marked the same day or earlier as the application submission date. 

No matter which way you choose to submit your support material, 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 or Google Drive 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.

Units of mandatory support material (Units 1 to 3)

Unit 1 Evidence of community support

Examples and details of material in this unit
  • Letters, emails, videos
Acceptable formats and limits
  • Maximum 10 A4 pages of text in PDF or Word 
  • Maximum 6 minutes of video (3 web links max)*.

Unit 2 Quotes for major expenditure

Examples and details of material in this unit
  • Confirmations or quotes of fees listed in your budget.
Acceptable formats and limits
  • Maximum 5 A4 pages of text in PDF or Word.

Unit 3 Activity plan

Examples and details of materials in this unit
  • Timeline or schedule for the activity.
Acceptable formats and limits
  • Maximum 5 A4 pages of text in a Word or PDF document.

Unit 4 Other supporting material or background content - Optional

Examples and details of materials in this unit
  • Maps, images, interviews, short videos or audio to support your proposal.
Acceptable formats and limits
  • 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.

Draft review

Applicants to Connecting to Country can request a draft review when the application is complete. Check the key dates calendar for the draft review deadline. 

You are strongly encouraged to make the request for a draft review well before the deadline to give staff enough time to provide feedback as well as time for you to update your application on receipt of the review. 

How to request a draft review in Online Grants

  1. Ensure you have marked each section of your application complete by ticking the box at the bottom of each application screen, then click save and close at the top right of the screen. This will take you back to your Grant Applications page.
  2. Locate your draft grant application in the list. In the Actions column, click on ‘more’ to view additional actions, then click Request Draft Review.
  3. Click Yes to proceed.

You will receive a message confirming your draft has been successfully submitted for review.


When you have completed all sections, click Submit as Final. A system-generated email confirming the successful submission of your application will be sent to your registered email address within 15 minutes of submission. 

This email confirmation is evidence that you have submitted your application by the due date and time. Email immediately if you do not receive it. 

In your email, quote your application name and time of submission and a DLGSC officer will investigate the status of your application.

Successful applications

Following panel assessment, applications recommended for funding will be submitted to the delegated authority for consideration. 

Successful applicants will be notified in January 2021. 

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

More information on how to apply can be found in the 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:

Grants Officers

For enquiries relating to this funding 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

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 1476 or 1800 634 541.

Regional applicants

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

Email the Grants Officers:

Page reviewed 12 April 2021