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Office of Sport

General Questions

Applying for the Centre of Excellence Fund is a simple process using the SmartyGrants platform: 

Before you apply, please read the guidelines and related materials including the 2021/2022 application checklist to make sure you understand all relevant requirements. You can find the relevant information at  

Applications must be lodged by 1pm on Friday 11 February 2022, via the Office of Sport’s grants online system.

Eligible applications will be assessed against the Fund’s objectives, focus, and aim and the following assessment criteria:

  1. talent and development pathways
  2. community engagement
  3. exemplary facilities that are inclusive
  4. value for money
  5. project deliverability and applicant capability.  

Assessment criteria is detailed in the Centre of Excellence Fund Fact Sheet.

Eligible applicants must prepare a NSW Government compliant business case.

A sound business case assists in resource allocation decisions by documenting an investment proposal and its contribution to NSW Government priorities to provide:

  • confidence that a project is sufficiently well developed to be ready for funding and that the capability exists to deliver it effectively
  • a road map for the project that sets out how it will be delivered and how its achievement against the Fund’s objectives will be assessed, to help increase the likelihood of the funding delivering value for money.

A business case must be prepared in line with NSW Government Business Case Guidelines and include a case for change, cost benefit analysis, financial analysis, commercial analysis and management analysis. The complexity and the size of the business case should be proportional to the scope, value and complexity of the project.

No. The application process is competitive. It is anticipated there will be multiple applications competing for the available funding in 2021/22. Successful applications will be those that best meet the objectives, focus and aim of the Fund and the assessment criteria.

Unsuccessful applicants may wish to apply to the 2022/23 Fund.

The sporting organisations recognised by the Office of Sport and Sport Australia as the pre-eminent bodies for the development of their sport in NSW and Australia.

Yes. All projects must have a letter of support from the relevant State/National Sporting Organisation. Where the facility provides for a number of sports, a letter from each State/National Sporting Organisation is required. Where a letter of support has not been provided, the Office of Sport reserves the right to recommend to the Grant Assessment Panel to set the application aside from further consideration, at its absolute discretion.

Letters of support that demonstrate project need can also be provided by MPs, councils, National/State and local sporting clubs and associations, schools and community groups where available.

Yes. Australian Universities with a campus in NSW can apply for funding. Universities are encouraged to partner with sporting and other organisations to ensure their project satisfies the Fund’s objectives including the role of the facility in supporting talent identification and development pathways, improving community access and engagement, and being inclusive.

No. The Fund aims to support the capital construction cost of a project.


Sport is defined as physical activity that can be undertaken by a team or an individual in a social or competitive environment in pursuit of a result. It can be organised or less formal with a greater focus on social outcomes.

Active recreation is defined as physical activity for the purposes of relaxation, health and wellbeing or enjoyment which can be self-directed or facilitated by a provider or organisation.

Yes, however, only where project delivery has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and/or significant new and additional scope is to be delivered.

No. The co-contribution must be a financial contribution.

The grant amount requested by an applicant must be a minimum of $5 million and cannot exceed $15 million.

We expect the amount requested will exceed the funds available per annum and that the available funds will be fully committed.

No. While projects that have Development Application approval (where applicable) are encouraged the Office of Sport recognises that many projects will be in the preliminary planning phase and reliant on confirmation of project funding before submitting a Development Application. Applicants should clearly outline the activities associated with obtaining planning approval (e.g. Development Application or Complying Development Certificate) and the estimated project timeline.  

Yes. Applicants must provide a signed letter of consent from any landowners for the project on the land on which the facility is to be developed.

Where a letter providing landowner consent has not been provided, the Office of Sport reserves the right to recommend to the Grant Assessment Panel to set the application aside from further consideration at its absolute discretion.

No. As councils are expected to also apply, they cannot have access to information on other applications.

No. Applications should be limited to constructing new or enhancing existing Centres of Excellence. Centres of Excellence typically include the following components:

  • high performance training environments - indoor (e.g. gymnasium and hard courts) and/or outdoor (e.g. playing fields)
  • aquatic and non-aquatic recovery facilities
  • athlete lounge, learning and wellness areas
  • education theatres and other meeting and multipurpose spaces
  • sports science and medical facilities
  • athlete change and preparation areas
  • property and storage areas
  • administration and associated amenity areas.

Yes. Applicants can submit up to three (3) applications, with each requesting up to a maximum of $15 million per round. It is up to the applicant if they would like to advise project priorities. As part of the assessment process projects will then be assessed in line with the guidelines.

No. For example, providing a new gymnasium at one site, playing field upgrades at another and new amenities at a third site will not be eligible. Packaged up projects will only be accepted if integrated Centres of Excellence that include multiple facility components are proposed to be delivered within a sporting precinct.   

No. The statutory functions of P & C Associations are aimed at assisting the school with which they are associated and promoting the welfare of the students of that school.

Inclusive design keeps the diversity and uniqueness of everyone in mind and allows maximum use, by the widest range of people, without the need to adapt or add accessories. It includes the incorporation of universal design principles and providing safe, dignified and equitable access through functional space. Designs should be beyond Building Code of Australia or Access standards to ensure facilities are accessible to more people.

For further information:

Design for Dignity Guidelines

NSW Government Architect

NSW Government Architect - Urban Design for Regional NSW

One of the Fund’s primary objectives is to support the enhancement of dedicated female programs and facilities to improve pathways for women and girls, in line with the NSW Government’s women in sport strategy Her Sport Her Way. A project is not eligible if it does not substantially address this objective.

There is an expectation that facilities are universally designed and have considered the specific needs of women and girls to create functional, safe, accessible, fit-for-purpose and welcoming environments. Projects should lead to additional participation and program content/scheduling for women and girls and/or improved inclusiveness. For further information refer to the Fund Guidelines and Fact Sheet and the Office of Sport’s Women in Sport Strategy, Her Sport Her Way.

The Office of Sport’s Women in Sport Strategy, Her Sport Her Way (2019-2023) aims to build a stronger sport sector where women and girls are valued, recognised and have equal choices and opportunities to lead and participate. It provides a clear role for the NSW Government to work with the sector and new partners in innovative ways to shape the future of women’s sport. 

Please visit:

A primary objective of the Fund is to support talent identification and development pathways (i.e. athletes moving from pre-elite to elite). Where possible and appropriate, projects should provide accessible and adaptive, best-practice training and competition environments that support athlete development. For further information refer to the Office of Sport’s Future Champions Strategy and the pathways and development section of the Office of Sport’s website.

Please visit:

No. Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified at the same time. Outcomes of applications under the Fund are expected to be advised from March 2022.

A sample template for State Sporting Organisation / National Sporting Organisation support is available on the website. A Statement of Support must be included for all projects.

Letters of support that demonstrate project need can also be provided by MPs, councils, National/State and local sporting clubs and associations, schools and community groups where available.

A single lead applicant is required to submit the application and if successful will become the grant recipient responsible for entering into a funding agreement with the Office of Sport. The Fund encourages applications based on partnerships e.g. sport(s) and a Council. If an eligible sporting entity applies, it can arrange for Council to manage the project delivery on their behalf. The application will need to outline the partnership model and the proposed delivery strategy including agreements to be put in place.

The more progressed a project’s design the greater level of confidence there will be in project cost, risk profile and delivery schedule. Applicants are encouraged to present schematic or detailed design plans, however concept design plans will also be accepted.

Project governance (including the establishment and operation of a Project Control Group to oversee project delivery) and planning activities (e.g. activities associated with obtaining planning approval including submitting a Development Application) must commence within three months of the execution date of the funding agreement. Project construction is to commence by March 2023, and project construction is expected to be completed within two years of commencing. 

The assessment process will consider project scale and relative size. Consideration will be given to overall impact, relative economic and non-economic benefits of a smaller project.

All successful applicants will receive detailed information about how they must acknowledge NSW Government funding for infrastructure projects. Projects funded by the Centre of Excellence Fund will typically require a statement of funding acknowledgment in the applicant’s annual reports and media releases and the NSW Government logo included on building signage, related websites and invitations and other funding related materials. Successful applicants will receive full guidelines, logo and signage template files.

Further details about acknowledgment of NSW Government funding for infrastructure projects can be found here.

CoEF FAQs update – December 2021

Business cases should include a cost benefit analysis that identifies all material benefits and costs that are expected to arise and who the beneficiaries are from each option. Forecasts of estimated outcomes from each option should also be included.

As per the NSW Government Guide to Cost-Benefit Analysis (TPP17-03), the key results of a cost benefit analysis are presented through:

  1. Net Present Value (NPV); and
  2. Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR).

The NPV and BCR should be reported for all options assessed. Forecasts of estimated outcomes from each option should also be included. The number of options considered in your CBA should be proportional to the scope, value and complexity of the project. However, Office for Sport suggests at a minimum this should include the proposed option and a status quo (do nothing) option. For larger, more complex projects this may include one or two alternatives in addition to above. The Fund does not require a BCR of greater than one.

The complexity and the size of the business case should be proportional to the scope, value and complexity of the project

All applications should address the publicly available assessment criteria and will be assessed against the criteria.

Yes. The expectation is that the co-contribution will be for infrastructure capital costs. This may include non-sport infrastructure construction works eg. sport facility car parking, pathways and core service infrastructure.

CoEF FAQs update – January 2022

No. The purpose of this fund is to directly invest in the capital construction of a sport facility project.

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