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LG Research & Development Scheme - How to apply

The Local Government Research and Development Scheme funds specific projects that are "strategically for the benefit of Local Government as a whole". Since 1998, research funded by this Scheme has delivered real benefits to SA communities, in the form of increased efficiencies, improved service delivery, and greater accountability.

With resources exceeding $1.5 million annually, this South-Australian-based scheme is unique in Australia. No other State has anything like this available for the benefit of Local Governments or their communities.

Two Funding Calls per year

A funding call in March each year is confined to projects initiated by the LGA.  In July each year, a funding call is opened to eligible applicants, being:

  • Local Governments;
  • Regional Local Government Associations;
  • Universities & other educational institutions;
  • Local Government Professional Bodies;
  • Local Government Unions;
  • State or Federal Government Agencies; or
  • Any other organisation interested in collaborating with Local Government.

Decisions regarding funding for proposals are made in accordance with the Principles and Purposes of the Scheme by the LGA Board (acting on advice from an Advisory Committee) in May and September each year.

Guidelines - How to Apply for Scheme Funding, 2018

On 17 May 2018, the LGA Board is due to set a global budget for all applications for Scheme funding in 2018-19.

Proposed projects by the LGA Secretariat in 2018-19 will be considered by the Board at the same meeting.

For those applying from the local government sector (i.e. anyone other than the LGA Secretariat) applications for funding will open in late May 2018 and close at 5pm on Friday 27 July 2018.

Here are the 2018 Guidelines for applicants. LGRDS Guidelines for Applicants - March 2018(315 kb)

To apply, please go to

Research your topic!

Project proponents are expected to undertake research on their project topics to ensure that their proposals build on previous work carried out locally, nationally and internationally in their topic areas - rather than reproducing work already available.  The Guidelines document contains a list of web addresses which may assist proponents to carry out this research.

Previous round, 2017

In 2017-18, the Board set a budget of up to $614,710 for 'sector' projects.

24 applications were received, seeking total funding of $880,368

These 24 applications were considered by the Local Government Research and Development Scheme Advisory Committee at its meeting on 1 September 2017.  Recommendations from the Advisory Committee were put to the LGA Board at its meeting on 28 September 2017.   Applicants were advised of the Board's decision shortly afterwards.  All those who received funding offers chose to take up their offer and their projects began shortly afterwards.   They can be viewed among the list of "current" projects here:


Annual Business Plan

The Local Government Research & Development Scheme Advisory Committee is required, under its Terms of Reference (see below) to develop an Annual Business Plan designed to focus the attention of potential proponents of proposals for funding on matters that will contribute to the advancement of Local Government for that year.

The 2018-19 Local Government Research & Development Scheme Annual Business Plan was approved by the LGA Board on 25 January 2018.

LGRDS 2018-19 Annual Business Plan - approved(148 kb) 

Principles, Purposes and Policies of the Scheme


The following 'Principles' have been agreed between the Minister for Finance and the President of the LGA as follows:

  • That in complying with the statutory requirements, the Scheme be applied for 'Local Government Development Purposes', and that the money be used strategically for the benefit of Local Government as a whole.
  • That the disbursement of Scheme funds should not result in any unfair competition advantage to the LGFA

Purposes of the Scheme

The 'Purposes' agreed between the Minister for Finance and the President of the LGA are:

  • Grants or services to help Councils access electronic information and other strategic development of Local Government Information services
  • Grants or services to help Councils with performance assessment, measurement and benchmarking, and with performance improvement
  • Development or provision of services, training, handbooks, guides or codes related to the administration of legislation under which Councils operate
  • Grants or services to help Councils promote understanding of the role, purposes and functions of Local Government, including development of materials for schools
  • Grants for Local Government research and development projects:
    • in priority areas for research and development specifically identified on an annual basis following consultation by the LGA with Councils, or
    • concerning innovation in Local Government administration or services.
  • Agreed programs for consultation throughout the Local Government sphere on projected legislative changes affecting Local Government
  • Grants, research, information or services to help Councils with the introduction and implementation of reforms to service delivery, within Local Government and between State and Local Government
  • Funding of proposals by regional Local Government organisations to strengthen their ability to provide services to their members and communities and to engage effectively in intergovernmental discussions and negotiations. "Regional Local Government organisations" includes both rural and metropolitan regional groupings as possible beneficiaries for funding of initiatives with potential sector wide benefit
  • Payments for which Local Government, through the LGA, is liable under legislative provisions requiring the LGA to pay or contribute to the costs of specified statutory activities undertaken for Local Government purposes
  • Grants or services to assist Councils with planning for the development/maintenance of infrastructure and undertaking asset management planning. 

These Purposes are subject to annual review by the Local Government Research and Development Scheme Advisory Committee.  The agreement enables the LGA to delete or add a Purpose as required, with the support of Councils and the Minister.


In addition, the Local Government Research and Development Scheme Advisory Committee has adopted policies (consistent with the Principles and Purposes of the Scheme) to which the Committee refers when considering applications and administering the scheme.   These policies are:

  • Income Generation from LGR&DS Project Outputs
  • Commencement, Progress Reporting, Completion and Evaluation
  • Applications Seeking Funding for Training Programs
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Low Cost Provision of Publications to Tertiary Students
  • Funding Applications for Incentive Prizes

See the LGR&DS Policy Manual: Local Government Research and Development Scheme Policies(313 kb)

Management of the Scheme

The Scheme is managed pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the LGA and the Minister for Finance.  The MOU, originally signed September 2015, was revised by agreement on 21 July 2016.   The current version is:

25.01.01 - LGR&DS Memorandum of Understanding - MOU - between the LGA and the Minister for Finance - varied July 2016(776 kb)

Broadly, the MOU includes the principles and purposes (listed above) and provides a mechanism to review the purposes from time to time. The MOU places responsibility on the LGA for the administration of the Scheme and for the management of projects and activities.

The MOU recognises the existence of the Local Government Research and Development Scheme Advisory Committee (the Advisory Committee) to provide advice, consult with Councils and manage the activities and projects supported by the Scheme.

The Advisory Committee meets twice per year to make decisions within its Terms of Reference and to recommend proposals to the LGA Board.

Other Grants

The Local Government Research & Development Scheme is available for Local Government "development purposes".

For information regarding general grants available to Councils for community projects, see the Grants Page.

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