City Activation Grants Program

What is the City Activation Grants Program?

The City Activation Grants Program is a grant opportunity to help organisations and businesses to deliver a place activation to reactivate and re-energise central Melbourne.



The City of Melbourne and Victorian Government have partnered to deliver a $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund that will reactivate the central city. As part of the plan towards a COVID-safe reopening for Melbourne, this funding provides businesses and organisations with an opportunity to deliver place activations in the City of Melbourne that will activate and reenergise the city. This is an important and positive step in our journey to regenerate our city’s economy and safely welcome people back.

The program will deliver new and exciting activations within the City of Melbourne, bringing communities and consumers into the city’s local precincts to support local businesses.



The City Activation Grants Program are designed to support businesses to deliver place specific activations in a COVID-safe manner that drives innovation, increases economic activity and attracts people to the precinct area.

The key objectives of the program are to:

  • deliver activation that will increase and drive visitation to the precinct area;
  • increase economic activity and spend for city businesses; and
  • celebrate the precinct offering through bringing innovative activities to the area



Grants of up to $50,000 are available to support:

  • businesses to implement free public accessible COVID-safe activation initiatives to drive visitation to the City of Melbourne
  • delivery of innovative COVID-safe activation initiatives to bring customers back to deliver benefits for the city
  • activations that are to be delivered between 1 January 2022 to 30 June 2022.

The program prioritises activations in the most severely affected precincts, including:

  • Docklands
  • Lygon Street Carlton
  • Central Business District (CBD)
  • Errol Street North Melbourne.


Eligible Projects

The City Activation Grants Program will fund:

  • Ongoing operating or general maintenance costs such as remuneration, rent, utilities bills, stock and personal expenditure are not eligible for funding.
  • Activities that do not deliver on the program objectives or related to the submitted proposal.
  • Expenditure incurred prior to the program open date.
  • Proposals that do not hold the relevant permits required for the activity.
  • Activations that are single business focussed (I.e. related to attracting visitation to a single business within a precinct rather than the broader precinct).
  • Funds must be spent in accordance with approved budget in your application.
  • Any changes to approved activations will need to seek approval, including but not limited to, date, programming and/or duration. Changes are not guaranteed to be accepted for funding.


Eligible Applicants

Applicants for our City Activation Grants Program must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Have a valid Australian Business Number (ABN). Noting a business, as defined by its ABN, will be considered eligible for one grant only.
  • Currently have or can obtain if successful current public liability and professional indemnity insurance policies.
  • Align with sustainable business practices in line with the Australian ethical charter.
  • Activations must be available free to the public and accessible to all people of all abilities. 
  • Demonstrate an engagement with the relevant precinct association in the area that their activation is proposed to be delivered in. The City of Melbourne will engage with the relevant precinct association on the applicant’s behalf with regards to how a proposed activation aligns to the vision of the precinct (see section 6 of the SmartyGrants application form).
  • Demonstrate compliance with all acts, regulations and statutory instructions in regards to current COVID-19 restrictions in the execution of the COVID-safe activation. 
  • Hold relevant permits to conduct the activity. Note: permits that may be required for the activation are not guaranteed even if successful for a City Activation Grant.



Applications close 12 November 2021. 


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