Australian Cultural Diplomacy Grants Program 2016 Guidelines

1  Introduction

The Australian Cultural Diplomacy Grants Program (ACDGP) aims to deliver high-quality, innovative arts and cultural projects to an international audience. The ACDGP funds projects that strengthen Australia's reputation as a sophisticated, creative nation and that foster ongoing collaborative international exchange.

Cultural diplomacy plays a vital role in international relations, offering unique opportunities to foster mutual understanding and build relationships. Projects that establish networks, stimulate collaboration, enhance market access and promote Australian expertise in the arts may consider applying for funding. Applications for funding should be developed with consideration to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Public Diplomacy Strategy.

Activities must promote Australia as an innovative, creative, diverse and tolerant nation that is an attractive place to live, work study and invest. More information is available on the ACDGP webpage.

The 2016 round of the ACDGP is now closed. Late applications will not be accepted. Successful applicants will be notified in July 2016. The next round of the ACDGP will open in early 2017.

1.1  Cultural Diplomacy Outcomes

Projects should engage audiences, establish ongoing networks and promote collaboration and exchange.

  • Expand audiences and markets for Australian artistic work and creative products.
  • Promote Australian expertise in arts production and management.
  • Leverage public-private partnerships.
  • Recognise the role of cultural actors as authentic and accessible barometers and agents of social change.
  • Influence perceptions of Australia at home and abroad.

1.2  ACDGP Objectives

We will achieve these outcomes by:


  • Supporting innovative collaboration and exchange.
  • Promoting our economic, artistic and cultural assets to an international audience.
  • Supporting cultural diplomacy initiatives in future Focus Country’s (Germany 2017 and Japan 2018).
  • Fostering collaborative people-to-people links internationally.
  • Leveraging existing partnerships and fostering engagement with key stakeholders in line with our economic diplomacy objectives.

1.3 Outcome indicators

To ensure that cultural diplomacy objectives are being met, funded projects will be assessed against the following key performance indicators upon completion:

  • Establishment of new professional relationships, enhancement of existing business engagement and engagement with local community.
  • Critical and/or audience response to events.
  • Follow up inquiries/subsequent interest and ongoing linkages.
  • Quality and quantity of media coverage.
  • Social media engagement.

1.4 Selection Criteria

Applicants should address each of the following selection criteria.

  • Contributes to Cultural Diplomacy Outcomes.
  • An innovative project that promotes Australia as a contemporary, diverse nation and a source of excellence.
  • International collaboration and the potential for enhanced engagement in line with our economic diplomacy objectives.
  • Proven experience in delivering best practice projects overseas.

2 Process

2.1 How to apply

Applications should be submitted online via Smartygrants by midday AEST Monday 11 April 2016. The application process has been streamlined and will be a one step process in 2016-17. Late applications will not be accepted. Applicants will need to register on Smartygrants and will receive acknowledgement that their application has been submitted by an automatically generated email. Please contact us if you have problems submitting the application online or on 02) 6261 9052 before the closing date.

Applicants must:

  • Address each of the four selection criteria (see above) in 150 words or less.
  • Liaise with Australian Government representative in the countries in which they will deliver their project and gain in principle support.
  • Contact details for Australian embassies and consulates overseas.
  • Present a well-planned and achievable project that:
  • Contributes to cultural diplomacy outcomes.
  • Has clearly defined objectives.
  • Identifies risks.
  • Is aligned to DFAT's Public Diplomacy Strategy.
  • Meet legal and financial obligations.
  • Provide a detailed budget.

All applicants will be advised in writing of the outcome of their application. Applicants may request feedback following announcement of grant recipients. Feedback will be provided on a case by case basis according to operational requirements.

2.2 Funding

Successful applicants will be notified in July 2016. Funding recipients will be required to sign a legally-binding agreement detailing terms and conditions of the grant.

Applicants may apply for multi-year funding of up to three years and at a maximum of $60,000 per year. Funding is dependent on DFAT budgetary constraints. In previous years the total ACDGP has been capped at less than $500,000.

Applicants are encouraged to seek funding from other sources, including other areas of government, corporate sponsors and private donors.

2.3 Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for funding applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Individuals and organisations may apply for grants.
  • Applicants must be Australian citizens or Australian permanent residents and hold an ABN or provide DFAT with a completed ATO Statement by a Supplier form. Proof of citizenship or residency may be required.
  • Applicants must provide evidence of professional excellence and experience that will contribute to expanding audiences and markets for Australian artistic work overseas.
  • Grants may not be provided to organisations or individuals that have failed to meet legal and financial obligations of Commonwealth funding.

2.4 How to complete the online application form

In order to give your online application the best chance possible, please be aware of the following:

  • The applicant should be the owner of the bank account into which the grant (if successful) will be paid. This person or entity will be required to enter into a funding (grant) agreement with the Commonwealth of Australia (represented by DFAT), and will be legally responsible for the proper acquittal of any funds awarded. Persons signing application and funding acceptance forms must be duly authorised to do so.
  • The start date for the project should take into account project preparation time and should commence after 1 September 2016 and before 30 June 2017.
  • The amount applied for should be exclusive of GST. If you are registered for GST, DFAT will add that amount to your grant.
  • On-line application form must be received before the closing date/time.
  • Provide a detailed and accurate budget.
  • Unspent grant funds must be returned to DFAT upon completion of the acquittal process.

3 Assessment Process

3.1 Decision-making

Applications will be considered by the ACDGP assessment committee which will competitively assess applications against the selection criteria. Committee members comprise senior DFAT officers and representatives from other government agencies including the Ministry for the Arts and the Australia Council for the Arts.

Decisions are made primarily on the basis of the information supplied in the application, budget and accompanying supporting documentation. The selection committee will seek additional input from relevant DFAT representatives overseas 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:

  • communication with other areas of government, including federal, state and territory agencies; and
  • previous DFAT grant acquittals (including any overdue or unsatisfactory acquittals).

While an application may meet the selection criteria, funding not guaranteed. Successful applications may not be funded to the full amount requested.

3.2 Conflict of interest

Assessment committee members and DFAT officers 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

4 Terms and Conditions

4.1 Responsibilities of successful applicants and grant conditions

Funding recipients are responsible for the following:

  • All administrative costs and arrangements associated with their activities, including visa and travel arrangements, visa charges, airport taxes, ground transport, travel and health insurance and accommodation.
  • Making arrangements regarding any taxation liabilities, which may arise from the award of funding. Payment will only be made after receipt of the signed Funding Acceptance letter, and a Tax Invoice (with GST included in the case of GST-registered funding recipients).
  • Funding recipients who do not have an ABN are required to provide DFAT with a completed ATO Statement by a Supplier form.
  • Applicants should read the conditions contained in the Funding Agreement carefully if successful in their application. DFAT reserves the right to withdraw funding if a grant recipient fails to comply with the ACDGP funding agreement.
  • Variations to approved activities, or significant variations to approved budgets, require prior written approval from DFAT.

4.2 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 acknowledge support and provide an acquittal within two months of the completion of the project. Successful applications will be required to acknowledge the Australian Government’s support for any activities that have been made possible as a result of the ACDGP funding through the use of DFAT branding and/or the below text on relevant material, including but not limited to websites, promotional materials, exhibition invitations and exhibition signage:

  • Supported through the Australian Cultural Diplomacy Grants Program, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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 commit to expenditure of ACDGP funds 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 ACDGP funding expenditure. Recipients need to request changes to the agreement in writing. 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 DFAT.

4.3 Reporting requirement

A condition of funding is that the applicant will provide an acquittal report on the project and a financial acquittal within 30 days of the completion of the activities. 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. The acquittal report can be submitted online – the link to the online acquittal report will be sent to all successful grant applicants.

4.4 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.

ACDGP funding is capped at $60,000 per application for a single year. ACDGP also provides the opportunity to apply for multi-year funding of up to three years and a maximum of $60,000 per year.

4.5 Insurance

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.

4.6 Administering grants

Groups, unincorporated associations and other bodies with no legal status are required to nominate either a representative to take responsibility for administering the 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.

4.7 Taxation

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. 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

4.8 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.

4.9 Privacy

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.

Information concerning successful grant applicants may be disclosed to DFAT staff, to other Commonwealth agencies, State and Territory governments, media representatives and members of Parliament. DFAT may publish this information in its Annual Report and on its website. DFAT is required to publish information about the ACDGP 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).

4.10 Rights and responsibilities

Funding under the ACDGP does not imply or determine that DFAT endorses the views of the recipient 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.

4.11 Travel safety

In planning overseas travel, it is recommended that applicants refer to DFAT's travel advisory service, Smartraveller. DFAT encourages applicants and project personnel to register their travel with Smartraveller.

Last Updated: 27 June 2016