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Disaster Ready Fund - Round Two

Disaster Ready Fund - Round Two 2024-25

The Australian Government is providing up to one billion dollars over five years through the Disaster Ready Fund (DRF), from 1 July 2023.

Round Two of the DRF will deliver up to $200 million of Australian Government funding for disaster risk reduction and resilience initiatives, with funding matched by state, territory, local government and other applicants, where possible.

DRF Round Two Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB) were released on 15 December 2023.

Applications for Round Two are now open.

Project proposals must be submitted to Lead Agencies between 9am (local time) Monday 22 January to 5pm (local time) Wednesday 20 March 2024. 

Applicants must contact the Lead Agency in their jurisdiction to discuss proposals, and check the Lead Agency website for information on their DRF application process. 

Lead Agencies will coordinate and consider proposals and will have until 5pm AEST Friday 29 April 2024 to submit applications on behalf of their jurisdiction to NEMA.

Subject to the number of applications received, succesful projects are expected to be announced in the second half of 2024.

For more information, please refer to the DRF Round Two Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions below. 

Please contact your Lead Agency to discuss your proposal.

For general enquiries about DRF please email:  

Lead Agencies

Jurisdiction Lead Agency DRF Contact
Australian Capital Territory Justice and Community Directorate
New South Wales NSW Reconstruction Authority
Northern Territory Northern Territory Emergency Services
Queensland Queensland Reconstruction Authority
South Australia South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission
Tasmania Resilience and Recovery Tasmania, Department of Premier and Cabinet
Victoria Emergency Management Victoria
Western Australia Department of Fire and Emergency Services

Frequently Asked Questions

Disaster Ready Fund (DRF) – General Information

I have an idea for a project – how can I apply?

Proposals must address the eligibility and selection criteria and other requirements outlined in the Round Two Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB) and be submitted through your Lead Agency between 9.00am (local time in each jurisdiction) on Monday 22 January 2024 and 5.00pm (local time in each jurisdiction) on Wednesday 20 March 2024. Please contact the Lead Agency in your state or territory for further information about their submission process.

Can I apply directly to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)?

No. The DRF is delivered in partnership with states and territories, acknowledging the important role they play in emergency management. Each state and territory has nominated a Lead Agency who has responsibility for coordinating proposals within their jurisdiction and submitting applications to NEMA. Lead Agency information is available above.

    How much funding can I apply for?

    There is no minimum or maximum amount of Australian Government funding per project within the $197 million in project funding available in 2024-25 (up to $3 million of the total $200 million is reserved to support Lead Agencies with administering the DRF).  There is no limit on the number of projects a Lead Agency can submit to NEMA for assessment, provided they satisfy the DRF eligibility criteria. 

    When can I submit my project proposal?

    Lead Agencies will open for submissions from 9.00am on Monday 22 January 2024 until 5.00pm Wednesday 20 March 2024 (local time in each jurisdiction). 

    What happens if I cannot lodge my application on time?

    Applicants must submit their proposals to their Lead Agency before the closing date and time specified on the cover page of the Round Two Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB). Each state and territory may have their own policy regarding late applications.  Please contact the relevant Lead Agency if you are unable to meet the closing date of 20 March 2024. 

    Why are there two closing dates?

    There are different processes and dates for Applicants to submit project proposals to Lead Agencies, and for Lead Agencies to submit applications to NEMA for assessment. 

    Applicants must submit project proposals to a state or territory Lead Agency between 22 January 2024 and 20 March 2024. Lead Agencies will be required to consider and screen all proposals to ensure submissions comply with the DRF’s objectives, eligibility criteria and selection criteria. Lead Agencies will categorise all eligible proposals as ‘Highly Suitable’, ‘Suitable’ and ‘Not Suitable’, and may consider projects against state or territory priorities. Only those proposals that are categorised as ‘Highly Suitable’ or ‘Suitable’ and have received the relevant Minister’s endorsement can be submitted to NEMA for assessment (see section 3.2.1). 

    Lead Agencies have until 29 April 2024 to submit their applications to NEMA. Requests to submit a late application should be provided to NEMA before this closing date. Only the Program Delegate may approve the receipt and consideration of a late application, and will only do so when the Lead Agency can demonstrate exceptional circumstances will prevent it from submitting the application on time, and it is fair to allow the application to be received late. 

    How does Round Two differ from Round One?

    There are many similarities with Round One. Round Two will continue as a competitive, merit based approach and will be delivered through states and territories. The broad range of eligible hazard types will not change, as well as DRF objectives and project streams (systemic risk reduction and infrastructure), and the 50 per cent (at least) co-contribution requirement.  Round Two is underpinned by four new investment principles. These principles are reflected in the selection criteria for Round Two and will incentivise projects that are aligned with national, state and local disaster risk reduction and resilience plans. Round Two also provides greater guidance on the process for lodging multi-jurisdictional or national projects and provides a more flexible and streamlined process for applying for a waiver of the co-contribution requirement.  

    Do I need to consult with First Nations communities on my project proposal? How do I go about this?

    Lead Agencies and/or Applicants must meaningfully consult with First Nations communities before submitting any project with a place-based focus (projects that address the needs of a particular location by leveraging existing programs and/or filling gaps in service delivery). This consultation needs to be demonstrated in the application to NEMA.  Depending on the project proposal, it may be appropriate to consult with First Nations communities, organisations, Land Councils and/or academics. As a general rule, the consultation process should be proportionate to the potential impacts of the project.  Applicants should discuss their project proposal’s consultation needs with the relevant Lead Agency in the first instance to ensure DRF consultation can be aligned and the burden on First Nations communities and organisations can be managed where possible.

    How does the DRF support cohorts at disproportionate disaster risk?

    Some cohorts in society are considered to be at higher risk from the impact of disasters due to social and economic factors. Research shows that these cohorts may include but are not limited to: 

    • Children and young people;
    • culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities;
    • First Nations communities (PDF 113 KB);
    • LGBTQIA+ community;
    • migrant and refugee communities;
    • people over the age of 65; 
    • people with a disability;
    • those experiencing homelessness, unemployment or poverty; 
    • women.

    NEMA encourages Lead Agencies and all Applicants to consider the needs and perspectives of cohorts at disproportionate disaster risk in all DRF project proposals.  Project proposals could include, but are not limited to, the development of accessible infrastructure to support cohorts at disproportional disaster risk, risk assessment and education, and the development of inclusive and accessible disaster risk reduction plans including ensuring these cohorts are represented in design and decision making. 

    Applicants may submit a request for a waiver of the co-contribution requirement where it is not possible to secure or raise funds and where the project’s relative public good can be demonstrated (see section 5.3). 

    How do I apply if my project spans more than one state and/or territory?

    Applicants developing projects that involve collaboration and delivery across multiple or all states and/or territories (multi-jurisdictional and national projects) are required to identify and seek the agreement of one Lead Agency to coordinate the proposal (coordinating Lead Agency). The Applicant and coordinating Lead Agency must then work together to consult and reach agreement in writing with the Lead Agencies in other participating states and/or territories on the proposal, including agreement for the project to be implemented in their jurisdiction/s and to any negotiated roles and responsibilities (e.g. respective contributions of the applicant and any delivery partners including each participating state and territory government) for delivery. The level at which this agreement is sought/provided between jurisdictions (e.g. in-principle agreement between relevant agency heads) is at the discretion of Lead Agencies. Only the coordinating Lead Agency must obtain endorsement of the project from its relevant minister.

    Projects that are similar in nature but which lack the collaborative and cross-jurisdictional links described above (i.e. project delivery and success in one jurisdiction is independent of other jurisdictions) should be treated as separate projects, rather than multijurisdictional or national projects, and submitted to relevant Lead Agencies as standalone project proposals (e.g. with separate co-contributions and project plans tailored to delivery in each jurisdiction), following the standard application pathway.

    Further information on multi-jurisdictional projects and the standard application pathway is provided in section 3.2 of the Round Two Guidelines and in the Multi-jurisdictional and national project factsheet.

     Round Two - Eligibility

    Who is eligible to apply?

    Anyone can develop a DRF project proposal for submission to a Lead Agency, providing it meets the eligibility and other requirements outlined in the Round Two Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB). The Lead Agency will consider your proposal and may include it in its application to NEMA. 

    I am from a Non-Self Governing Territory, am I eligible to apply?

    Project proposals for the external territories of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (collectively known as the Indian Ocean Territories) will be considered in Round Two.  Unfortunately Norfolk Island and Jervis Bay Territory are not included in Round Two, but NEMA and the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts are exploring options to enable participation in future rounds.  Applicants from the Indian Ocean Territories must submit projects to the Lead Agency for Western Australia (WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services). Eligible projects will then be considered by the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, and endorsement from the Australian Government Minister responsible for Territories will need to be obtained. The Lead Agency for Western Australia will facilitate this process. Further information is provided in section 3.2.2 of the Round Two Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB).

    If I was unsuccessful in Round One can I apply for Round Two?

    Yes, you may re-apply in Round Two, however you must review the Round Two Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB) to ensure your project meets the eligibility and selection criteria and adapt your proposal if necessary. You may wish to consider strengthening your proposal by including additional justification and evidence to address the selection criteria. Proposals should be discussed with your Lead Agency in the first instance.

    What hazards will the fund target?

    A broad range of natural hazards are eligible. Section 3.3 of the Round Two Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB) explains eligible hazard types, and projects can target more than one hazard type.

    Can I apply for funding to help my community manage drought?

    No. Drought, biological (including biosecurity) hazards, and cyber-attacks are ineligible, however projects which increase resilience in these areas are not excluded if they primarily target eligible natural hazards (see section 3.3).  The Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund provides $100 million each year to support initiatives that build drought resilience.

    What type of projects are eligible under Round Two?

    As outlined in section 3.3.3 of the Round Two Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB), the following are some examples of the project types which may be eligible under the DRF streams. Please note, this list is not exhaustive:  Stream One ‘systematic risk reduction’ examples might include, but are not limited to: 

    • the establishment of jurisdiction-wide hazard-based information systems, 
    • updating state and/or creating local government hazard resilience strategies, 
    • hazard research to assist states and developers eliminate inappropriate land sources ahead of construction, and
    • supporting community sector organisations to develop systems, train staff or have materials in place prior to the impact of a natural hazard. 
    Stream Two ‘infrastructure’ examples might include, but are not limited to:
    • the construction of flood levees, fire breaks or cyclone shelters,
    • the construction of artificial reefs or sand nourishment on vulnerable coastlines,
    • tsunami warning systems, 
    • bushfire warning systems. 
    These are examples only. Applicants are encouraged to explore the full range of options available to them, including developing innovative solutions against each of the six activity categories under Stream One and against each of the five activity categories under Stream Two.
    I did not apply through an Expression of Interest process, can I still apply?

    The DRF is managed in partnership with Lead Agencies in each state and territory. To help identify suitable proposals and give proponents more time to prepare their applications, Lead Agencies in several states ran Expression of Interest (EOI) processes. The EOI processes were not a requirement of the DRF Round Two Guidelines and were run independently by Lead Agencies.

    For more information, please contact the relevant Lead Agency.

    Round Two – Strategic Alignment

    What are the DRF Investment Principles and how to I apply them in my proposal?

    Round Two of the DRF is underpinned by four investment principles that will guide DRF investment decisions. The Investment Principles are detailed in section 2.4 of the Round Two Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB). The Investment Principles are reflected in Selection Criteria One and Two. You are encouraged to demonstrate how your project addresses these criteria in detail and with evidence where appropriate. 

    DRF Investment Principles (section 2.4 of the Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB)) How the principles are operationalised

    1. Risk informed: Proposals draw on evidence of disaster risk (e.g. risk assessments) when outlining case for funding. 

    (Section 7.1 in Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB)): Selection Criterion One 

    Project alignment with disaster risk

    The project proposal must demonstrate how the project reduces disaster risk, increases resilience, adaptive capacity and/or preparedness to disaster risk, and/or contributes to understanding of disaster risk. 

    2. Aligned with plans: Proposals align with existing national, state and territory, and local hazard mitigation and resilience or adaptation plans, or provide evidence that the planning process is underway. Where plans do not exist or are in development, proposals could support the development of those plans. 

    3. Priority targeted: Proposals demonstrate alignment with the Second National Action Plan National Actions.

    (Section 7.2 in Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB)): Selection Criterion Two 

    Alignment with existing plans or development of plans

    Project proponents must demonstrate the project’s alignment with existing plans or how it will contribute to the development of plans. This includes identifying if and how the project aligns to any of the National Actions outlined in the Second National Action Plan. 

    4. Diverse and equitable: Investment decisions support outcomes across a broad range of natural hazard and project types, geographic areas (including both urban and regional/remote locations), domains (including the social, built and natural environments), and consider the DRF’s potential population impact (including a project’s relative per-capita benefit). 

    (Section 9.3 in Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB)) 

    The Assessment Panel/s may apply Investment Principle 4 (‘diverse and equitable’, section 2.4) by giving consideration to equity with respect to the types of projects, the appropriateness of the geographic and thematic split of projects, and relative benefit per capita (population impact), in acknowledgement that the DRF is national in scope with a variety of project activity types. ‘Equity’ does not mean an equal split of funding. 

    What does alignment with plans mean? What plans does this refer to?

    Projects are required to align with national, state and territory, and/or local hazard disaster risk reduction or hazard mitigation plans (or similar), or support the creation or implementation of these plans. This could mean that your project addresses a specific risk or need identified in the plan, or accords with actions required under the plan. If you are unfamiliar with the relevant plans in your state/territory, please contact your Lead Agency.

    What is the Second National Action Plan and does my project need to address it?

    The Second National Action Plan (PDF 6.46MB) is Australia's guiding authority to reduce disaster risk. It is also our implementation plan for the National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework. The Plan has been endorsed by all Emergency Management Ministers from the federal, state and territory governments. The plan enables and provides a pathway for all governments, sectors and members of the Australian community to take action to build resilience, reduce disaster risk and work towards common goals. Under the DRF Investment Principles and Selection Criterion two, DRF project proposals are encouraged to demonstrate alignment with National Actions under the Second National Action Plan; however, projects that do not align with the Second National Action Plan are not excluded. 

    Round Two – Co-contributions and costings

    Do I need to provide a co-contribution?

    Yes, Applicants and/or Lead Agencies must provide a financial or in-kind co-contribution of at least 50 per cent of the total project costs, or submit a request for a waiver (or partial waiver) of this requirement in exceptional circumstances. A formal request for waivers must be made before the closing time for applications. Co-contribution requirements are detailed at section 5 of the Round Two Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB). 

    Who is responsible for providing the 50 per cent co-contribution?

    Co-contributions can be made from a variety of sources, however Australian Government funding from any source (including historical) cannot be used (with the exception of financial assistance provided to local government under the Australian Government’s Financial Assistance Grants program). Applicants should consider the co-contribution requirement when developing project proposals – including whether they can provide or fundraise the amount, or reprioritise other funding – and discuss options with the Lead Agency.

    What are in-kind and in-principle co-contributions?

    If it is not possible for a Lead Agency and/or an Applicant to provide a financial co-contribution, they can instead provide an in-kind contribution of equal value (section 5.1). This may include but is not limited to wages directly attributable to the delivery of the project, and/or supplies, materials, and specific equipment required to execute the project.

    The Lead Agency will need to outline the proposed in-kind contribution and how its value was calculated in the project budget template when submitting applications to NEMA (Applicants to provide this information to Lead Agencies with their project proposals where relevant).

    An in-principle co-contribution (section 5.2) refers to a contribution (financial or in-kind) that is pending formal approval by the Applicant. Applicants may offer an in-principle co-contribution with the consent of the Lead Agency while the Applicant goes through formal internal approval processes to secure the formal (actual) co-contribution.

    All co-contributions must be confirmed (i.e. the Applicant must be able to commit to the co-contributions) prior to the signing of Federation Funding Agreement Schedules (if projects are successful). This approach gives Applicants more time to secure co-contributions through internal processes.

    Do administrative and contingency costs need to be factored into my proposal costing?

    The $200 million in Commonwealth DRF funding available in 2024-25 is expected to be fully allocated. The Australian Government will not provide further top-up funding or fund project cost overruns. To minimise the risk of cost overruns, it is important that Applicants factor allowances for contingencies and escalation into project costings. Guidance on best practice approaches to cost estimation is available as part of the Commonwealth Investment Toolkit on the Department of Finance website. Reasonable project administration costs incurred by an Applicant should be factored into proposal costings. The proportion of administrative costs for a proposal will be considered as part of the value for money component of Selection Criterion 3. The 1.5 per cent DRF program administration funding available to the Lead Agencies under section 6.2 of the Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB) cannot be used by Applicants to administer individual projects, and should not be included in individual project proposal costings. Program administration funding will be captured through each Lead Agency’s Application Cover Sheet.

    I can’t raise a co-contribution, can I still apply?

    The DRF is designed to encourage greater investment in disaster risk reduction and where possible, Applicants are expected to provide co-contributions. However, requests for waivers or partial waivers of this requirement will be considered in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the Assessment Panel. Information about waivers is detailed in section 5.3 of the Round Two Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB). Applicants should discuss with the relevant Lead Agency as soon as possible if they will need to request a waiver. Lead Agencies will lodge requests for waivers as part of their application to NEMA. 

    Can my co-contribution be a mix of contribution types (e.g. financial vs. in-kind)?

    Yes, co-contributions can be a combination of contribution types. For example, you may provide a 20 per cent financial contribution and a 30 per cent in-kind contribution (where all contribution eligibility criteria are met). Both financial and in-kind contributions may be offered 'in-principle' at the time of application submission, but must be confirmed (i.e. result in an 'actual' contribution) prior to the signing of FFA Schedules.

    Can funds already invested in a project be included in my co-contribution? If so, how do I record this in my application?

    In accordance with Section 5 of the Round Two Guidelines, co-contributions may include Applicant or Lead Agency funds already invested in a program or project on or after 1 July 2020 (past investments), but only where the Australian Government’s contribution from the DRF is expected to extend or enhance that program or project. Funds invested prior to 1 July 2020 cannot be counted towards co-contributions, nor can Australian Government funding be used to fund project cost overruns.

    Applicants wishing to include past investments as part of their co-contribution must record this in their Indicative Budget. Detailed instructions on how to do this are provided in the Indicative Budget template and Application How-To Guide, available from Lead Agencies.

    Round Two – Waivers of the co-contribution requirement

    How are waivers assessed and granted?

    Waiver requests will be considered by the Assessment Panel/s which will make recommendations to the Minister for Emergency Management. Section 5.3 of the Round Two Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB) states waivers are more likely to be successful where exceptional circumstances are a result of several factors contributing to the inability to raise a co-contribution, and/or where the public benefit associated with the project is clearly demonstrated and evidence is provided to support this claim.

    Can I apply for a partial waiver?

    Yes, waivers can be requested for the total or a proportion of the 50 per cent co-contribution (i.e. An Applicant may be able to provide a 25 per cent co-contribution, but will seek a waiver of the remaining portion). 

    Round Two – Assessment

    How are applications assessed?

    Applications are considered against the DRF eligibility criteria, as specified in the Round Two Guidelines (PDF 1.08MB). Only eligible applications will proceed to the assessment stage and be assessed by the DRF Assessment Panel/s (section 9.2). The Panel will assess applications against the selection criteria (sections 7 and 9.3) and provide applications with an overall rating. The Minister for Emergency Management will make the final decision on the projects to receive funding under the DRF.

    Round Two – Outcome Notification and Implementation

    When will I be notified about the outcome of my application?

    NEMA anticipates notifying Lead Agencies of the outcome of applications in the latter half of 2024, subject to final application numbers. 

    Your Lead Agency will let you know the outcome or your application. 

    When can my project commence?

    Lead Agencies must have an Implementation Plan endorsed by NEMA before projects in their jurisdiction can formally commence. Each Lead Agency must develop an Implementation Plan in collaboration with successful Applicants which encompass all projects in its jurisdiction that will receive funding, and provide it to NEMA for endorsement no later than three months after the commencement of the Schedule (funding agreement).  Applicants and Lead Agencies are encouraged to start work on their Implementation Plan as soon as they are notified that they have been successful.

    If my project is successful, when will I receive funding?

    Funding for Round Two of the DRF will become available in 2024-25. While all efforts will be made to ensure projects can commence as soon as possible, it can take some time for funding to be provided to the Applicant.  Once successful projects are announced in the second half of 2024, the Lead Agency will work with the NEMA to negotiate a funding agreement under a Schedule to the Federated Funding Agreement (Environment). These agreements need to be signed by the relevant Australian Government Minister and the relevant state or territory minister.  Once the agreement is signed by both ministers, the Australian Government will make payments to the states and territories who will be responsible for making payments to Applicants in accordance with their individual funding agreements. Lead Agencies are responsible for developing individual funding agreements with Applicants. Please note, projects cannot formally commence until the Lead Agency’s Implementation Plan is endorsed by NEMA.

    Disaster Ready Fund Round Two Factsheets