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About the LG Research & Development Scheme

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 $1.8 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.

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 2020-21 Local Government Research & Development Scheme Annual Business Plan was approved by the LGA Board on 5 February 2020.

LGR&DS Annual Business Plan for 2020-21(309 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: Policies of the Local Government Research and Development Scheme(314 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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