Special Community Assistance and Local Employment (SCALE) 2019-20

The one off $7.1 million Special Community Assistance and Local Employment (SCALE) program in 2019-20 is to provide immediate funding to assist with council employment and operating costs, support jobs creation and maintenance opportunities in communities, provide targeted rates relief, and assist with COVID-19-related compliance and management costs.

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The objectives of the program are to:

  • Support the employment of Territorians.
  • Encourage and facilitate partnerships between councils, the Northern Territory Government, Australian Government, business and community sectors to create effective locally-based responses to and recovery from COVID-19.
  • Assist in the continued delivery of local government essential services.
  • Assist to improve sanitation in council areas and of council assets and infrastructure.
  • Assist with engaging local communities in activities that are in accord with the latest COVID-19 government announcements and directives.
  • Assist with providing messaging and signage in council areas regarding COVID-19.

Councils are encouraged to partner with local businesses, other councils and LGANT, and other spheres of government to develop effective and innovative locally-based initiatives that strengthen their communities’ protection and recovery from COVID-19.

This program is available to Northern Territory local government councils that meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a recognised local governing body established under the Local Government Act 2008.
  • Certify council will resolve to adopt and apply the Public Benefit Concessions Policy for Commercial Ratepayers in relation to waiving and deferring rates for commercial ratepayers based on hardship in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

  • The total funding pool is $7.1 million.
  • The SCALE funding will be paid in 2019-20.
  • The funding is only payable to municipal, regional and shire councils.

  • Where a regional council has unspent and uncommitted funding under the Local Authority Project Funding (LAPF), this funding may be repurposed to the SCALE program and spent on initiatives in local authority communities, with an intention of expenditure by 30 September 2020, unless approval is granted by the Department.
  • Where regional councils choose to redirect LAPF funds into the SCALE program, details of the unspent and uncommitted funding is to be provided to the Department by 30 June 2020.

Note: Where the two year time limit for expenditure under the LAPF program expires on 30 June 2020, councils are encouraged to repurpose funds to the SCALE program.  The Department will be exercising the clause in the LAPF funding agreement, regarding the requirement for councils to fully spend funds within two years. The balance of all unspent funds will be requested to be repaid unless approval has been granted by the Department to extend the 30 June 2020 due date.

  • The balance of unspent and uncommitted funding under either the SPG or SIF programs may be retained by council and repurposed to the SCALE program.
  • By 30 June 2020 councils are to report to the Department details of the balance of unspent and uncommitted funding under the SPG and SIF programs to be repurposed to the SCALE program.

  • Regional councils must allocate a component of this funding to each of its local authority communities.
  • Local authorities’ input is to be sought from each local authority on the kinds of initiatives to be delivered in each local authority area. If it is not possible to convene local authority meetings, input from locally-based local authority members is to be obtained where possible.
  • Municipal and shire councils are to ensure funding is spent within their respective council areas.

The grant supports the development of business and industry in the Northern Territory and support for Territory enterprises.

When using the funds to acquire goods and services, councils are encouraged to acquire those goods and services from a Territory enterprise, unless it can be proven through a competitive process that:

  • there are no Territory enterprises willing or able to provide the good or service; or
  • the Territory enterprise did not provide best value for money.

A Territory enterprise must satisfy all three elements of the definition:

  • Operating in the NT – the enterprise is currently engaged in productive activities (for example, production of goods or delivery of services) within the NT.
  • Significant permanent presence – the enterprise maintains an office, manufacturing facilities or other permanent base within the NT.
  • Employing NT residents – the enterprise employs Territorians. An enterprise which relies exclusively on transient, interstate / international labour or a fly-in, fly-out workforce will not satisfy this element.

Further information on this condition can be found at:

The following non-exhaustive list provides examples of the types of expenditure that would be eligible as the expenditure has a connection to COVID-19 measures:

  • Assist with employment costs of Territorians to ensure the continued delivery of local government essential services, and / or local job creation / retention.
  • To stimulate local economies.
  • To purchase materials or equipment to support local government business continuity (e.g. video conferencing equipment to assist with convening meetings).
  • To meet the cost of additional cleaning, disinfecting and sanitising of council communal places (this can include the purchasing of cleaning equipment and products from local suppliers).
  • To establish washing, sanitising stations or other cleaning facilities for the local community.
  • To raise and promote public awareness of COVID-19 in council facilities, ensuring information is consistent with the most up to date Northern Territory Government information.
  • To undertake innovative initiatives to engage community members in socially appropriate health and wellbeing activities (e.g. free Wi-Fi or video broadcasting of story times, or online competitions).
  • To create and place signage in council areas reminding community members to follow COVID-19 government announcements and advice such as personal distancing and washing of hands regularly.
  • To support community-based COVID-19 protection and recovery initiatives.

  • Payment of employment or other operating costs already covered under another grant program.
  • Reimbursement of costs already incurred by council.
  • The purchase of vehicles (passenger carrying / recreational vehicles – 4WDs, troop carriers, utes, buses, quad bikes, etc.).

Local government councils will receive a Letter of Offer from the Department.

The letter will comprise the total grant amount offered and conditions of the grant funding. Councils will need to return the signed acceptance form to the Department of Local Government, Housing and Community Development.

  • The SCALE grant funding must be fully expended by 30 September 2020. However, councils may request the Department for an extension to this timeframe. Each request will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Department.
  • The balance of unspent funds is to be returned to the Department.
  • Funding from the Northern Territory Government must be acknowledged in initiatives delivered under this program.
  • The acquittal requirement will require a certification statement that provides information about initiatives undertaken with the funding. Please complete this form for municipal and shire councils or this form for regional councils and email to lg.grants@nt.gov.au.  Regional councils are to also report on the amount allocated to each local authority area and the types of activities funding was spent on.
  • A certification statement is to be laid before a council meeting. A copy of the minutes is to be provided to the Department.
  • All projects are to be procured in accordance with the Local Government Act 2008, Local Government (Accounting) Regulations 2008 and the Northern Territory Government “Buy Local” policy, if applicable.

Contact details

If you require further information, please contact:

Donna Hadfield
Manager Grants Program
08 8999 8820

Omor Robin
Grants Officer
08 8999 8576

Email: lg.grants@nt.gov.au

Last updated: 12 May 2020

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