Suburban Shopfront Improvement Grants

Brisbane City Council is driving suburban economic vitality by helping businesses and property owners to upgrade their shopfronts.

The Suburban Shopfront Improvement Grant program provides $50,000 per annum over four years to assist property owners and tenants of shopfronts to refresh the façade of their shop, to improve its appeal to customers and contribute to the character of the local area. Examples of shopfront improvements are listed below.

This is a matched grant, meaning that for every dollar requested from Council, the Applicant must have an equal dollar amount (or more) to put toward the project.


The purpose of the Suburban Shopfront Improvement Grant program is to encourage property owners and tenants to refresh the façade of their shops to create interest, generate customers and contribute to the character of local business areas in Brisbane.


Funding will cover up to 50% of the cost of visual improvements to a shopfront exterior, to a maximum of $5000 (excluding GST). The balance cost (50% or more) of the shopfront improvements must be met by the Applicant.

As funding is limited, not every eligible application will necessarily receive a grant or the maximum grant amount requested.

Funding round dates

Applications for the 2020-21 financial year closed on Wednesday 23 December 2020.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome in February 2021.

Applications for the 2021-22 financial year will open in late 2021.



For the purpose of this grant, a shopfront is a physical business premises that has ground floor street frontage, contains display windows and is open to, and trades with, the public. Examples include cafés, restaurants, retail stores, galleries, and healthcare or service providers.

Shopping centre complex

For the purpose of this grant, a shopping centre complex is a large retail complex containing a group of individual retail/commercial premises that are owned and managed as a single property in adjacent buildings or in a single large building with a dedicated vehicle accommodation/parking area.


Eligible applications

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The grants will be open to suburban shopfronts in Brisbane. Businesses in Brisbane’s Central Business District (as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics State Suburbs (SSC) for Brisbane City) are ineligible to participate in this program. For more information you can download an area map.

Applications can be made by the property owner, or the tenant with the property owner’s written consent.

Where there is a tenant in the shop:

  • the tenant cannot be a franchise
  • the tenant must be a small business (less than 20 employees including part-time and casual staff).

Applicants must not have any overdue Council grant acquittals or outstanding debts with Council.

Ineligible applications

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The following are ineligible to apply:

Type of improvements applicable

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Grants are available for long-term, street-level improvements to your shopfront. These can include repairs, replacement or new applications of awnings, windows, doors, lighting, painting, landscaping, tiles or other decorative material and signs.

Grants will operate as a matched funding scheme, where Council and the Applicant will contribute to the costs of the shopfront improvements on a dollar-for-dollar amount basis up to a maximum amount of $5000 (ex GST) from Council.

Applicants need to provide two written quotes from licensed contractors, as a further aim of the grant is to provide additional work to the building and construction industry. The grant is not intended for do-it-yourself (DIY) renovations. Applicants need to demonstrate that the works can be completed within the acquittal process timeframe. Evidence that all necessary approvals for building/improvement work are in place prior to the application process must be provided to Council upon request.

The Suburban Shopfront Improvement Grants are not available for:

  • improvements that have already commenced or been completed
  • routine maintenance or cleaning
  • standalone advertising signage improvements
  • fixed planter boxes or furniture
  • purchase of buildings or property extensions
  • business relocation
  • internal shop fittings including display shelves and painting
  • staffing or operational costs
  • development application or other statutory fees.

Assessment criteria and process

Once eligibility criteria are checked, applications will be assessed against the following criteria. Council’s delegate makes the final decision regarding funding allocation.

Table showing criteria and outcome
Criteria Outcome
Impact Proposals that are considered to have significant visual impact will be considered priority projects.
Capacity Applicants must be able to pay for half the project cost as well as adhere to grant deadlines and requirements. Supporting material may be required by Council from the Applicant.
Need Priority will be given to shopfronts in disrepair or in poor to moderate condition.
Character Proposals should demonstrate commitment to improvements that will improve the character of the local business area.

In some instances, successful applicants may not receive the full amount of the funding requested. If the proposal cannot proceed without the full amount of funding requested, this should be indicated in the application.

Financial arrangements


If you are successful in obtaining a grant, you will be sent a Funding Agreement that must be completed and returned to Council before funding is provided.  


If you are GST registered, 10% GST will be added to the funding provided as an itemised GST gross-up.

If you are not GST registered, 10% GST will be added to the funding provided, but will not be itemised as GST.

For advice on GST, please contact your tax advisor or the Australian Taxation Office on 13 24 78, or visit the ATO website.

How to apply

Applications for the 2021-22 financial year will open in late 2021. To make sure you don’t miss when applications open, subscribe to Council’s Business in Brisbane e-newsletter.

Acquittal reports for successful applicants

If your application is successful, you will be required to complete your project and submit an online acquittal form within 12 months of the grant approval notification. 

Grant recipients with overdue acquittal reports are not eligible to apply for further Council grants.

Terms and conditions

If Council approves a Suburban Shopfront Improvement Grant, the recipient will be required to enter into a Funding Agreement with Council and will be required to comply with those terms and conditions. 

By applying for this grant, recipients agree that they will participate in marketing and promotional activities of Council in relation to the program. This may include but is not limited to displaying Council’s decal in the shopfront, acknowledging Council’s contribution to the shopfront improvement, case studies, feedback, surveys and providing information about the benefits of participating following conclusion of the program.

More information

For more information about this grant, you can contact Council’s Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263).

To help determine if your property is ineligible for this grant you can download a map of the CBD, as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics State Suburbs (SSC) for Brisbane City


Last updated: 24 December 2020