Australia-China Council

Grants Program


The Australia-China Council (ACC) is the Australian Government’s advisory and funding body dedicated to strengthening of cultural, education, business, and more broadly, people-to-people relations between Australia and China.  

Each year, we deliver around A$700,000 in grants for organisations and individuals across Australia. The Council’s funding is determined by the Government, and is subject to the scope and availability of funding in each financial year.

The Grants section of the website provides you with information about our 2015-16 funding program and the funding application process. It also includes information about what happens after you have applied and if you are successful.

2015-16 Grant Round Dates 

Opening date - Expressions of Interest (EOI) online – Friday 27 February 2015

Closing date for submitting EOI – Tuesday 31 March 2015 (03:00PM AEDT)

Invite successful applicants to submit full application – May 2015

Notify unsuccessful applicants (EOI Stage) – May 2015

Closing date for receipt of full applications online (by invitation only) – June 2015

Notify unsuccessful applicants (Full Applications Stage) – July 2015

Notify successful applicants pending funding allocation for the 2014-2015 Financial Year – July 2015

**The online application system will be accessible on the opening date and will close on the closing date at the times indicated above. Late entries will not be accepted.  We recommend applicants not to wait until the last day to submit their applications.

Grants at a glance

Through our annual competitive grants program, the Australia-China Council supports projects across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and Australia that broaden and strengthen Australia-China relations in education, business, culture and the arts.

The Australia-China Council grants are intended to provide seed funds for innovative proposals relevant to the objectives of the Australia-China Council’s Strategic Plan 2014-18). The Council will normally hold one grant round each year, opening in February.

How to Apply

Step 1 - Our Funding Priorities

The Australia-China Council’s grant-making priorities for the 2014-2018 period are centered on three areas – Education, Economic Diplomacy and Arts and Culture and underpinned by the three cross-cutting themes -  Mobility, Capabilities  and New Areas of Engagement.

Priority Areas

1.  Education

Support practical and effective solutions to enhance China literacy, business and cultural capabilities of Australian institutions and people to effectively engage with China and promote education and knowledge connectivity between Australia and China

2. Economic Diplomacy

Promote diversity, growth and innovation of Australia's trade and investment relationship with China

3.  Arts and Culture 

Showcase Australian arts and creative industries to Chinese audiences and build closer and broader cultural and artistic partnerships 

Cross-cutting themes

The Council’s grant-making and program activities in the above-mentioned areas will focus on the following three cross-cutting themes:

1.  Mobility

Encouraging greater and more diverse professional mobility between Australia and China, including through support of the New Colombo Plan.

2. Capabilities

Building capabilities of organisations and individuals to enter into partnerships and work effectively with their Chinese counterparts; investing in information resources (including new digital and mobile platforms) that inform Australian communities and relevant sectors about opportunities, practices and risks in engaging with China.

3. New Areas of Engagement 

Identifying and seeking practical solutions to develop new areas of engagement between the two countries.

Step 2 - Application Process

There is a two-stage process for applying for a grant:

Please contact us if you have problems submitting the application online at or on (02) 6261 3818 before the closing date.

Following the assessment of the EOIs by the Council Board assessment committees, a short list of applications will be determined. Those short listed will be contacted and invited to submit a complete application online. Those who are not short listed will be notified in writing.

All applicants for Council funding will be advised in writing of the outcome of their application. Successful applicants will receive the Council's Funding Agreement and will be advised of any additional special conditions which the ACC may specify for the grant.

Funding Scope

Total funding for the ACC grants program is subject to the availability of funds in 2014-15 financial year.

Funding is capped at $40,000 per application. The level of funding for an individual application may only be increased in exceptional circumstances. If requesting more than $40,000, applicants will need to demonstrate significant potential of the project to make a long-term positive impact on the bilateral relationship within the funding priorities of the Council. Applicants are strongly encouraged to carefully consider their project costs and note the assessment committee is unlikely to recommend many projects be funded over $40,000 limit, as it reduces the number of grants to be offered. We encourage applicants planning to apply for grants of over $40,000 to discuss their proposal with us before applying.

ACC grants are intended to be a seed funding to encourage partnerships with other areas of government, corporate sponsors and private donors, and applicants will normally be expected to demonstrate that they are seeking assistance from other sources. Full budget details for the project are required in the complete application form and applicants must declare where they are seeking other sources of funding for the same project, including all Commonwealth, State/Territory and local government funding.

Step 3 - Eligibility requirements



ACC welcomes applications for a wide range of projects that enhance Australia-China relations in the priority funding areas and fall under the cross-cutting themes outlined above. The table below provides some broad examples of activities eligible for funding. The table is not intended to provide an exhaustive list of all activities eligible for ACC funding, and should be used as a guide only:

Cross-cutting themes → Mobility Capabilities New Areas of Engagement
Priority Funding Areas ↓


Projects involving education-related internships, Fellowships, professional placements and visit programs Projects offering innovative and practical solutions to increase interest in Chinese linguistic and cultural studies in Australia, resources and applications  on Chinese language and studies, studying in China guides Innovative projects investigating  and developing new areas of education and science engagement
Economics and Business Projects involving business-focussed internships, work placements, mentoring, reciprocal visits by business leaders Projects producing resources and applications on opportunities, achievements, risks in the economic relationship, outreach, advocacy and professional development programs assisting business community to enter and succeed in China Practical initiatives exploring opportunities in emerging sectors, events on new and emerging areas of the bilateral economic relationship
Arts and Culture Residencies, tours, exhibitions (in-bound and outbound) Project showcasing Australian creativity and artistic capabilities to Chinese audiences,  programs which develop capabilities of Australian cultural institutions and artists to enter and success in China’s cultural sectors  Practical initiatives developing and investigating new areas of cultural exchange, opportunities for Australia in emerging cultural sectors and regions (e.g. second and third-tier cities in China)

Activities Not Eligible for Funding

Step 4 - Examples of Projects

Visit 'Australia-China Relations' - a web initiative by ACC showcasing the diversity and depth of Australia-China ties and projects supported by the Council.

Step 5 - Application Guidelines

How to complete the online Expression of Interest or online Application Form

In order to give your online Expression of Interest or Application the best chance possible, please be aware of the following:

In addition to the points above, following the completion of the online Expression of Interest form, should you be invited to complete the online Application form; the following tips for completing your online Application form are also important:


EOI acknowledgement

All applicants will receive an acknowledgement email when the EOI has been received. The acknowledgement may be sent out before EOIs are checked for eligibility. Receiving an acknowledgment does not mean that an EOI is valid. Please see below for information on the eligibility check.

Short listing

EOIs will be considered by an assessment committee which will make recommendations on a shortlist of EOIs to the committee chair for approval. Shortlisted EOIs will be invited to submit a complete application.

The assessment committee competitively assesses EOIs against the ACC funding priorities, cross-cutting themes and assessment criteria using a rating system.

EOIs will be shortlisted primarily on the basis of the information supplied by the applicant in the EOI form.

Successful EOI applicants will be notified in writing and invited to submit a complete application. Please note that shortlisting does not automatically guarantee a grant.

Unsuccessful EOI applicants will be advised in writing following the completion of the EOI assessment process. Due to limited resources, unsuccessful EOI applicants cannot be given feedback on their EOI and will not be able to seek additional verbal feedback from the ACC Secretariat.

Application acknowledgement

All applicants will receive an acknowledgement email when the application has been received. The acknowledgement will be sent out before applications are checked for eligibility. Receiving an acknowledgment does not mean that an application is valid.

Indigenous content and protocols

Applications with artistic content and/or stated intended outcomes relating to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists, communities or their activities, should provide signed letters of support from relevant Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists and/or communities and/or organisations.

Grant applicants with artistic content and/or stated intended outcomes relating to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artists, communities or their activities, must adhere to the Indigenous cultural protocol guides which are available free on the Australia Council website and can be downloaded from the Australia Council website.

Assessment Process and Criteria


EOIs and Complete Applications will be considered by the ACC Board assessment committees which will competitively assesses EOIs and applications against the selection criteria using a numerical rating system.

Decisions are made primarily on the basis of the information supplied in the EOI and Application, budget and accompanying supporting documentations. The assessment committee will seek additional input from relevant DFAT overseas missions to assist in the consideration of applications. The assessment committee may also take into account information from other sources that it considers appropriate, such as:

While an EOI and/or application may meet the selection criteria, a grant is not guaranteed. Successful applications may not be funded to the full amount requested.

Unsuccessful applicants will be advised in writing following the completion of the assessment process and will be able to seek additional verbal feedback from the ACC Secretariat on request.

Conflict of interest

Assessment committee members and ACC Grants Program staff must disclose any actual or perceived conflict of interest in any matter to be considered in which they are formally involved. Depending on the nature and extent of the conflict, they may be required not to take part in any discussion or decision-making process involving the conflict. Such disclosures will be formally recorded.

DFAT employees are required to comply with the Commonwealth Public Service Act 1999 and the Australian Public Service Values and Code of Conduct. DFAT's Conduct and Ethics Manual ensures that any conflicts of interest, whether actual or perceived, do not influence decision-making. The manual is available online at

Role of DFAT staff

The role of ACC Grants Program staff is to:

ACC Grants Program staff do not make decisions on funding applications.

Assessment Criteria

All applications are assessed against the Council's strategic objectives  - funding priorities, cross-cutting themes and the following 5 key assessment criterions. Applications for grants must therefore follow these guidelines before being submitted for consideration:

1. Relevance

2. Excellence and Quality

3. Sustainability and Continuity

4.  Partnerships

5. Outreach and Publicity

In addition, the Australia-China Council programs and grant-making activities are informed by the following principles:

Step 6 - Responsibilities of Successful Applicants and Grant Conditions

Funding recipients are responsible for the following:

Funding agreement

Grant recipients will be required to sign a legally-binding funding agreement setting out the terms and conditions of the grant and the requirement to provide an acquittal within two months of the completion of the project.

Example of the funding agreement

Grant recipients will be required to provide a tax invoice, in accordance with GST legislation, for each payment of grant funds in accordance with the payment dates set out in the funding agreement. Payment of a grant will not be made until the agreement has been signed by all the relevant parties and the grant recipient has submitted an invoice. Applicants should not start the project until the agreement has been signed by all relevant parties.

Funding must be used for the specific activities outlined in the application and only towards those costs indicated in the budget for ACC funding expenditure. Recipients may request changes to the agreement in writing to the ACC Secretariat, but this does not guarantee the request will be approved. The recipient must repay any unspent funds and/or funds spent on non-approved items promptly.

If a grant cannot be taken up within the specified time period, it may be withdrawn. Any changes to the timing of the project, including delays, should be reported immediately to the ACC Secretariat. If required, a request for extension should also be submitted in writing. Requests for extension will be considered but may not be approved.

Acquittal Report

A condition of funding is that the applicant will provide an acquittal report on the project and an adequate financial acquittal within 30 days of the completion of the activities for which the funding is provided. The acquittal report will include an evaluation of the project and its outcomes, accompanied by supporting evidence and a certified financial acquittal. An audited financial statement may also be required.  Failure to do so will prevent the applicant from being given further funding and may lead to grant recovery action. Acquittal report can be submitted online – the link to the online acquittal report will be sent to all successful grant applicants.

No guarantee of ongoing funding

Unless specified, approval of any grant to an individual, group or organisation does not commit DFAT to any future funding of that individual, group or organisation. Funding will be awarded to those who best meet the selection criteria within the amount of funds available.


Grant recipients are responsible for all administrative costs and arrangements associated with their project including visa and travel arrangements, visa charges, airport taxes, ground transport, travel and health insurance for project participants, medical and hospital insurance cover for visitors not covered by Medicare in Australia (including evacuation and death cover), any necessary insurance for equipment, and accommodation costs and arrangements. Grant recipients must be covered by appropriate insurance, including public liability insurance. DFAT may request evidence of the currency and amount of cover under all relevant policies.

Administering grants

Groups, unincorporated associations and other bodies with no legal status are required to nominate either a member of the group or a legally constituted organisation to take responsibility for administering the grant, should they be successful in receiving ACC grant.

The applicant, the nominated member or an administering body should provide the acquittal once the project is completed (see Acquittal Report section above). Both the applicant and the administering body will be considered responsible for unsatisfactorily acquitted grants. The administering body is not responsible for the artistic direction or the artistic quality of the project. Generally, the administering body would be required to sign the funding agreement.

Grant applicants should enter into a written agreement with their administering body, setting out the respective rights and responsibilities of both parties in relation to the grant's administration and acquittal. The agreement should also contain a dispute resolution clause setting out procedures to be followed in the event of a disagreement between the parties.

An organisation may be the administering body for as many DFAT grants as they see fit. Administering bodies may make grant applications in their own right.

Access and equity services

Applicants may speak with the ACC Secretariat in their first language by telephoning the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 (local call anywhere in Australia) and asking to be connected with the ACC Secretariat.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander applicants may wish to access assistance in submitting an application where English is not their first language. In these cases, applicants may contact an Indigenous language centre for assistance. A list of Indigenous language centres is provided in the National Indigenous Languages Contacts Directory available from:

The Federation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages and Culture (Corporation) (FATSILC)
295 King Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: +61 3 9602 4700
Fax: +61 3 9602 4770

Taxation and grants

Grants paid by DFAT may be considered part of an applicant's income in a financial year and may be subject to tax, including the GST. Individual applicants need to be mindful of the taxation obligations of receiving a grant as an individual. It is the applicant's responsibility to understand their taxation obligations and liabilities. Advice is available from the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 66 or at

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) enables applicants to request documents held by DFAT. If applicants wish to access documents under the FOI Act they must make a formal application. Charges may apply. Access to information under the FOI Act is limited by certain exemptions and an authorised decision-maker will assess any requested documents prior to any release of information.


All personal information provided in support of an application is treated in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988. The information provided in grant applications is used when processing and assessing applications. This information may also be used for training and system testing by DFAT staff and for evaluating the program.

The personal information provided by applicants will be stored centrally and will be available to Commonwealth officers and the government on a need-to-know basis.

Personal information concerning successful grant applicants may be disclosed to the ACC, to other Commonwealth agencies, State and Territory governments, media representatives, members of Parliament and the general public. DFAT may also publish this information in its Annual Report and on its website. DFAT is required to publish information about the ACC Grants Program on its website, including details of each grant awarded (for example, the recipient's name, state, suburb and postcode, the purpose and value of the grant, the date the funding agreement takes effect and the term of the agreement).

Rights and responsibilities

Funding under the ACC Grants Program does not imply or determine that DFAT endorses the views of the artists or participants involved in funded activity. Grant recipients are required to comply with all applicable domestic and international laws, and their activity should not bring DFAT into disrepute.

Travel safety

In planning overseas travel, it is recommended that applicants refer to DFAT's travel advisory service, Smartraveller. DFAT maintains travel advisories for more than 160 destinations, which provide accurate, up-to-date information about the risks Australians might face overseas. This information enables applicants to make well-informed decisions about whether, when and where to travel. DFAT encourages applicants and project personnel to register their travel with Smartraveller. This service can be accessed online at

Notwithstanding any assistance provided by DFAT in facilitating international travel through an ACC grant, applicants are responsible for their own travel insurance and travel at their own risk.

Step 7 - Online Application

The online application system will be accessible on the opening date and will close on the closing date at the times indicated above. Late entries will not be accepted.  We recommend applicants not to wait until the last day to submit their applications.

See also: