Access and Inclusion Community Partnership Program guidelines

Program update

Brisbane City Council has prioritised funds to create the new Lord Mayor’s COVID-19 Direct Assistance Program in 2020-21. This Program will support our community organisations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Refer to the Lord Mayor’s COVID-19 Direct Assistance Program to check your eligibility and to find out more.

The Access and Inclusion Community Partnership Program supports projects that improve access and inclusion in Brisbane (in particular, community-led initiatives).

Applications for this grant are closed. This program will return in 2021-22.

Learn about the Access and Inclusion Community Partnership Program:


The information in these guidelines is for use by community organisations, groups and networks seeking financial assistance for projects that improve access and inclusion in Brisbane.

The Access and Inclusion Community Partnership Program provides funds to community organisations, or groups and networks auspiced/sponsored by a community organisation. The program is one of many initiatives outlined in the Brisbane Access and Inclusion Plan 2012-2017.

Council recognises that better access and inclusion will benefit all Brisbane residents and visitors, including people with a disability or long-term chronic condition, people experiencing temporary impairment, seniors with access concerns, parents with young children, and associated family, friends and carers.

The Access and Inclusion Community Partnership Program is designed to assist community organisations to undertake projects that deliver Council's Brisbane Vision 2031 and its priorities to maintain or improve quality of life for the Brisbane community, and to ensure that Brisbane has the services and infrastructure to meet the liveability and sustainability challenges of the future.


The Access and Inclusion Community Partnership Program objectives are to:

  • improve the accessibility of community facilities, services or venues
  • support initiatives and partnerships that respond to challenges experienced by people with a disability and their carers
  • remove barriers to access and inclusion in local community sport, recreation, cultural and social activities
  • remove barriers to inclusion in community services.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to ensure their proposal aligns with the underlying principles of the Brisbane Access and Inclusion Plan 2012-2017:

  • focus on abilities, not disabilities
  • universal design
  • fundamental rights for all
  • genuine dialogue and participation
  • improving access and inclusion for all
  • judicious utilisation of resources
  • recognising the benefits of partnerships and working across sectors.

What can be funded?

A range of projects can be funded under the Access and Inclusion Community Partnership Program.

Proposals are weighted against the assessment criteria below. Proposals must demonstrate sustainability, i.e. that there is an ongoing benefit for people of all abilities. For example, an eligible project might involve capital works to improve physical access to a building, or it might involve improving opportunities for people with a disability to participate in civic life.

Eligible applications

The grant provides funding to not-for-profit incorporated organisations seeking to develop a project to achieve the Access and Inclusion Community Partnership Program objectives.

Applicants must operate within the Brisbane Local Government Area (LGA) or be able to demonstrate that the project will benefit residents of the Brisbane LGA.

The applicant must:

  • demonstrate that the grant will be used for community benefit
  • be a not-for-profit incorporated organisation, or be auspiced/sponsored by a not-for profit organisation that is incorporated and able to accept legal and financial responsibly for the project
  • have met all acquittal conditions of previous Council grants, have no debt to Council and be financially viable
  • have appropriate insurance and workplace health and safety policies in accordance with the funding agreement.

Ineligible applications

The following will NOT be funded:

  • Projects that have already commenced or projects to which your organisation has committed expenditure before the grant round notification date (expected to be December 2019). 
  • Projects that are considered part of a core responsibility of other levels of government (e.g. education, health).
  • Projects requiring development approval where there is no evidence provided of consultation with Council's Development Services section.
  • Projects that will involve technical design and drawings where no technical drawings or plans have been submitted with the application. Submitted plans and drawings need not be the final version, but must be sufficient for a realistic assessment (including any necessary reference to national standards and detailed measurements).
  • Capital works or facility enhancements that cannot be completed within 12 months of receiving the grant.
  • Primarily commercial or fundraising ventures.
  • Projects that benefit only specific individuals, restricted membership groups and/or provide only private access.
  • Event or conference sponsorship, prizes or award ceremonies.
  • Purchase of single use plastics.
  • General operating expenses – funding will not cover expenses such as electricity, lease/rent payments, routine maintenance and repair work, telephone, uniforms, etc. that are part of an organisation's ongoing expenses unless they directly relate to the funded project.
  • An applicant's general public liability costs (public liability costs specific to the project are eligible).
  • Debt payment.
  • Wages for permanent staff or for project staff positions that are planned to continue after the project without an identified future funding source or funding strategy.
  • Applications that fail to document support for their proposal from other stakeholders (e.g. disability support organisations or individuals who will benefit).
  • Projects that are unsustainable because there is no plan, and/or no resources, to maintain the project outcome beyond the funded period.

Funding available

You can apply for a grant ranging from a minimum of $2,000 to a maximum of $50,000. As resources are limited, not every application that meets the assessment criteria will necessarily receive a grant.

Council may fund the full cost of a project, however, applications that include contributions from the applicant are encouraged. The applicant’s contribution may be cash, other funding assistance or ‘in-kind’ (e.g. voluntary labour or materials).

Projects that include financial or in-kind contributions from other partners or funding agencies are strongly encouraged.

In some cases successful applicants may receive a percentage of the total sought rather than the full amount of funding. If your project cannot proceed without full funding, this should be indicated in your application.

Assessment process

Once the eligibility criteria are checked, each project application will be assessed based on its alignment with the Brisbane Access and Inclusion Plan 2012-2017. Applicants need to identify the problem that requires action, the best way to solve it and the benefits that will be delivered. The proposal must also include support from other organisations or people who will directly benefit from the project.

Assessment criteria for Access and Inclusion Community Partnership Program 2012/2013 applications
Criteria #  Assessment criteria Percentage weighting
1 How the proposed project provides a solution to a community need.  20% 
2 How the project provides value for money. 20%
3 How the project aligns with the priorities of the Brisbane Access and Inclusion Plan 2012-2017. 20%
4 How the project improves physical access to a building or site through capital works. 20%
5 Evidence of effective consultation, partnering and networking with the community.  10% 
6 The applicant's capacity to carry out all aspects of the project including budget and project management. 10%

After initial assessment by Council officers, proposals will be provided to the Comparative Assessment Committee which will submit them to Council’s Civic Cabinet for consideration. Civic Cabinet will then make the final decision about grant allocation.

Application process

Making your application

Before applying for funding, you must plan your proposed project and ensure that it responds to the assessment criteria. It is recommended that you phone Council’s Access and Inclusion team on 3403 8888 to discuss your proposal.

If you are building a facility or altering a facility or site, find out if you need development approval by getting planning and development advice.

A budget is required to support your application. Before you apply, it is highly recommended you review a budget table example to assist you with developing your budget.

All applications are submitted online.

Successful applicants will be required to:

  • ensure continued compliance with these guidelines
  • comply with any relevant national standards (e.g. the Building Code of Australia if capital works are proposed)
  • deliver the approved project in accordance with the contents of the application approved by Council for the provision of a grant
  • fully comply with the terms and conditions set out in the Funding Agreement (including special conditions) provided by Council to the successful applicants
  • fully acquit the grant to Council in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Funding Agreement.

Planning your application

Meeting the assessment criteria

Demonstrate that you have identified the exact need or issue to be addressed and the best way to do so. Ensure the proposal aligns with the Brisbane Access and Inclusion Plan 2012-2017, and include a clear rationale, objectives with stated performance measures and how wider community or industry benefits will be provided.

Carefully consider the budget, whether the project can proceed without Council funding, and the financial or 'in-kind' contribution your organisation can make (e.g. voluntary labour or donated materials). Ensure the budget is accurate and the application demonstrates value for money. Ensure that your income and expenses balance.

Demonstrate that you have sufficient project management skills to deliver the project and that the outcomes will be sustainable beyond the funding period.

Consider whether you have consulted other stakeholders sufficiently, and whether the project would be improved if you worked in partnership with other organisations, particularly if you are likely to attract new users of your facility once the project is complete. In such a case, you should provide supporting letters from potential new clientele stating their intention to use the upgraded facility.

Letters of support are likely to strengthen your proposal, especially from community organisations or residents who can articulate the benefits, to them, of your proposal.

A minimum of two recent quotes will be required if you are applying to carry out capital works or purchase equipment.

If you are applying for funding for labour costs, you must document your calculation of the number of hours, and wages per hour required.

Capital works

If capital works are part of your proposal, you will need information on development assessment, building approval and plumbing approval. You can phone Council on 07 3403 8888 or visit a Council Regional Business Centre for advice.

All proposals for construction must include a design of the proposed works, including all measurements and references to applicable disability standards (e.g. AS1428.1) to ensure that the works will comply with legislation and meet the needs of people of all abilities. Architectural drawings are not required at application stage. Hand drawings are sufficient as long as they include essential measurements and associated notes.

An accredited building certifier must be engaged for all capital works projects, to review plans before work commences, and to formally certify that the completed works have achieved compliance with the Building Code of Australia and the Disability Discrimination Act. The cost of engaging a certifier can be included in the project budget.

If you are planning to upgrade a facility, photographs documenting its current condition and its challenges will strengthen your application.

Financial arrangements


If you are successful in obtaining a grant, Council will send you a Funding Agreement that must be completed and returned before funding will be provided. It will include any special conditions you may need to fulfil before funding is released.


If you or your auspice/sponsor are GST registered, 10% GST will be added to your grant as an itemised GST gross-up.

If you or your auspice/sponsor are not GST registered, 10% GST will be added to your grant, but not itemised as GST.

For advice on GST, please contact your tax advisor or the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 61 or via its website on


Information about grant decisions will not be released over the phone. A formal letter will be posted, notifying applicants of the outcome.

Successful applicants

If your application is successful, you have 12 months from the time of notification of your success to complete the project and acquit the grant, unless otherwise negotiated.

You will receive a formal approval letter and a Funding Agreement. The Funding Agreement will include terms and conditions of the grant and GST information. You will need to complete, sign and return the Funding Agreement before any funding will be released.


A completed Acquittal Form is due within 12 months of the notification date and explains the outcomes of the project and how the funds were spent. It demonstrates that funding has been used for the purpose for which it was provided, including a certified report of financial transactions, and whether the project achieved its intended objectives.

The acquittal form can be found on the SmartyGrants website, along with the grant application form.

Unsuccessful applicants

If you don't receive funding, it will not necessarily be because you submitted a poor application. It may be because the demand for funds exceeds the amount available. For feedback on your grant application, please refer to the contact telephone number provided in your notification letter. Unsuccessful applicants are welcome to reapply in future.

You may wish to consider submitting your application to another grants program. Both the Queensland and Australian governments have websites that list available grants:


Further information is available by contacting Council and asking to speak with an Access and Inclusion Partnership Program Officer.

If you have a hearing or speech impairment, please contact Council through the National Relay Service:

  • TTY users phone 133 677 then ask to be connected to Brisbane City Council on 07 3403 8888
  • Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask to be connected to Brisbane City Council on 07 3403 8888
  • internet relay users connect to the NRS ( then ask to be connected to Brisbane City Council on 07 3403 8888.

If you require information in other languages, phone the Translating and Interpreter Service (TIS) on 131 450 and ask to be connected to Brisbane City Council on 07 3403 8888.

All enquiry services are free.

Terms and conditions

Successful applicants must abide by Council’s terms and conditions, which are contained in the Funding Agreement

Applicants must also adhere to any special conditions set by Council.


Brisbane City Council has adopted the definition of disability provided in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 where disability refers to all kinds of impairment from birth or acquired through illness, accident or aging. It includes cognitive, physical, sensory and developmental disabilities, mental illness, neurodiversity, and chronic illness such as arthritis or diabetes.

Not-for-profit organisation

An organisation whose constitution states that any profits or surpluses must be used to further the objectives of the organisation rather than benefit an individual. A registered not-for-profit organisation is incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) or the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 (Qld).

Community benefit
How a project will provide access and inclusion opportunities to an applicant's members, clients and the wider community.

An incorporated not-for-profit organisation that accepts and manages the legal and financial responsibility of a grant on behalf of an unincorporated applicant.

In-kind contribution
The dollar value to a project of non-cash contributions, e.g. office space, staff time or voluntary labour that would otherwise need to be paid for. The items or services must be essential to the project.

Equipment (non-consumables)
Equipment that is purchased to be used during the project but can continue to be used after the completion of the project. You may apply for up to 25% of the total cost of a project for equipment, e.g. if the total cost of your project is $10,000 then you may apply for up to $2500 towards the equipment you require.

Materials (consumables)
Materials purchased to be used during the project that are used up by the completion of the project.

Target group
The main group(s) of people that the project is intended to appeal to, or specific group(s) intended as beneficiaries of the project.
For example:

  • people with a disability
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • seniors
  • young people
  • multicultural groups or communities
  • people experiencing homelessness
  • people who are socially isolated.

Letters of support
Letters of endorsement or commitment to the project from partners, other community organisations, elected representatives.

Organisational governance
The way a committee or board functions to inform, direct, manage and monitor the activities of an organisation toward the achievement of its objectives. Governance includes the committee’s structure and processes.

Last updated: 9 December 2020