ACCAN Grants Program Banner - Woman researching at libraryThe Panel assesses applications to ACCAN's Independent Grants Program and recommends the strongest applications to the ACCAN Board for funding. The Panel meet to discuss proposals and hold separate reviews of grant applications as needed. 

ACCAN Grants Program Banner - Woman researching at library

What happens after I make an application?

Once you submit an Expression of Interest it will be assessed by the Independent Grants Panel against the criteria listed in the Guidelines.

All applicants will be notified according to the timeline in the Guidelines. Unsuccessful applicants have two weeks to seek individual feedback on their application.

Successful applicants will be invited to submit a Full Application which will also be assessed by the Panel. The panel may provide feedback on specific areas of your application to strengthen or develop. Full Applications will also be assessed against the criteria listed in the Guidelines.

Generally, all Full Application applicants will be notified of their outcome late June, with projects able to begin from 1st July. 

 Entering into a contract with ACCAN

If you are successful, you (if you are an individual applying with an ABN in your own name), or the organisation you work for, will enter into a formal agreement for the delivery of the project.

The Deed and Schedule below highlight the information required before the project can commence. Please review this, or send it to your legal team if you have one, to ensure you and/or your organisation are able to accept these conditions, should you be recommended for funding. Your award is granted based on the deliverables you stated in your application. You will be expected to deliver according to the outputs, milestones, timelines etc you indicated in your application. Payments are milestone-based, meaning you will be expected to show that you have delivered on the agreed milestone, prior to each payment being released. 

Download :docACCAN Grant Deed 2021_template.doc145 KB

Working with ACCAN

ACCAN considers itself a hands-on funder, deeply committed to getting the best out of the projects it funds. You will have regular meetings with ACCAN staff, usually a few weeks before significant milestones are due. ACCAN assigns a member of its Policy Team to each project, and encourages you to take advantage of ACCAN's consumer expertise. 

Acquitting an ACCAN grant

As part of your contract with ACCAN, all grantees are required to acquit the project on completion. This includes a statement that all funds were spent in accordance with the Deed. You are required to keep auditable records. 

Acquittal forms are completed via SmartyGrants, via the same account you used to submit your application.





ACCAN Grants Program Banner - Woman researching at libraryACCAN is committed to best serving telecommunications consumers by administering a high quality Grants Program that is responsive to consumer needs. We have a two-stage application process, and also offer Streams depending on the type of work you are planning to do. 


First, choose your Stream

You can apply under one of two Streams:

1. Research Stream

Applications in this stream are predominantly consumer-focused research and may request up to $70,000.

2. Education and Representation Stream

Applications in this stream are for work that is predominantly consumer education and/or representation. The lead applicant must be from the community sector, or demonstrate strong community sector partnership. Applications may be for up to $50,000.

Expression of Interest stage

Expressions of Interest are completed via a shortened application form and assessed according to the Guidelines by the Independent Grants Panel. 

Step 1 - Read the Guidelines and Strategic Plan.

Step 2 - Create a rough draft of your project idea.

Step 3 - Contact the grants team to review the idea and get advice on whether it is likely to be considered eligible:

Email: grants @

Call: 02 9288 4000.

If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service:

Step 4 - Thoroughly plan out your project, then complete the questions on the SmartyGrants online Expression Of Interest form. (You will need to register for a SmartyGrants account if you don't already have one.)

Step 5 - Submit your application online  by the due date stated in the Guidelines. Late applications will not be accepted.

Word version of the Expression of Interest form

It can be useful to prepare your answers offline and share the document with your team. Download the Word version below for this purpose. Do NOT submit this sample form. You must submit your application online via the SmartyGrants online EOI form.

Download: docx2021 ACCAN grants EOI form81.60 KB

Full Application Stage

If your Expressions of Interest is successful, you will be invited to submit a Full Application, also via SmartyGrants. Use the same login details as you used at the EOI stage.

It can be useful to prepare your answers offline and share the document with your team. Download the Word version below for this purpose. Do NOT submit this sample form. You must submit your application online via the SmartyGrants online Full Application form.

Download: docx2021 ACCAN Grants Full Application form103.92 KB

We strongly encourage all Full Application stage applicants to consult the Guidelines and to contact the ACCAN Grants Team to discuss your application to ensure it is eligible and competitive. Please note that answers in the Full Application form do not have to match those given at EOI stage - applicants are able to change their answers to strengthen their applications by adding further detail, clarifying any areas, or changing approach; this also applies to the budget question as the requested amount can be adjusted.

Supporting documents

If the Assessment Panel needs more information such as annual reports or other documents, they will request it. They do not need to be uploaded at the time you make the application.

What should I put in the budget?

You are required to submit a budget with your application. You must think of all the income components from every source. You must think of, and reasonably estimate, each cost (expense) necessary for your project.

Income and expenditure need to add up to the same amount: you can't spend more than the project receives, and you can't spend less either.


The income table is a summary of all other sources of funding you will be using for this project (e.g. if your organisation is contributing cash or in-kind support). If you have another grant for this project, show that grant in the list. Each source should be listed separately. Make sure your Total Income is the same amount as Total Expenditure. These two figures need to equal each other.


In the expenses table, list all costs directly associated with the project. You may need to buy or rent equipment, fund a research worker, pay for travel, printing, or even room hire. Think through all the things you will need to make your project a success. If you have included in-kind in the income, then make sure you include it as part of the total expenditure. Expenditure is the list of things that are expended as part of the project.

Only include travel that is absolutely necessary for your project and this needs to be well justified. Simply presenting results at a conference is not sufficient justification as the activities must form an integral part of the project.

Will ACCAN fund overheads?

ACCAN won't fund overheads, such as administration levies, general office space and so on. We do not cover normal operating costs for an organisation to do its business either. Check the complete list of exclusions in the Guidelines. The grant program funds clearly defined projects and project activity towards specific outputs.

We do cover all costs that are directly attributable to the project itself, e.g. project labour, project management, project accounting, or even office space and room hire if it can be justified as directly attributable to the project.

It all depends on how clearly the cost is related to the project - If you were not  doing this project would the cost still exist? If yes, then we will not cover it. Is it an arbitrary levy added by your organisation on top of the project? If yes, we won't cover it. We only cover costs for activities inside the project.

Do I include GST?

No. All amounts you put in the budget should exclude GST. If you are successful, GST will be paid in addition to the amount you apply for.

Top Tips

  • Ensure your project fits: Is it really a telecommunications project? Does it satisfy one of the listed priorities? Read the Guidelines well, and contact us to discuss your project idea.

  • Write in clear, simple English: avoid jargon and long-winded sentences. Say exactly what you're going to do.

  • Be specific: Rather than "a large number of consumers will benefit" say "150 consumers in the Armidale community will access tailored digital literacy training programs."

  • Balance your budget: Income needs to equal expenditure. Include all cash and in-kind contributions. Be realistic about what time and resources you will need. This shows you have thought things through.

  • Demonstrate that you understand the context for your project  - what gap are you filling in terms of the research and other work that already exists? Check other published work, including ACCAN's research, and government bodies such as communications regulators.

  • Clearly explain how your project differs from other related projects that exist. This is particularly important for projects involving cyber-safety and digital literacy training. This is because the Australian government and other not-for-profits are addressing these issues through various training programs. If you see a gap or a limitation to these resources, explain why and how your project is addressing a significant gap. Ensure you refer to the ACCAN resources already available. If you are developing new materials, how will they complement what's already 'out there'?

  • Clearly explain the future your project will have after our funding ceases. Do you expect the work to continue in any way? What provisions have you included in your planning to ensure this can happen?

  • Look through our previous grants projects to get a better understanding of what and who we fund.

Additional resources

ACCAN Grants Program Banner - Woman researching at library2021 Round is now closed, but we've left all the info here so you can see what to expect in future. As always, please Contact Us if you have any questions or have a project idea that you'd like to discuss. 

Below you will find all information about the Round, including timelines for notifications and Guidelines.

2021 Round Guidelines

Consult the Guidelines for everything you need to know about how the ACCAN Grants Program works, including eligibility, how to apply, the timeline and what to expect. These guidelines contain the rules for the Program and the assessment approach.

2021 Guidelines:

Download: pdfACCAN Grants Program Guidelines 2021.pdf

Download: docACCAN Grants Program Guidelines 2021 accessible.doc

2021 Round Priority Themes

If you are applying under the Research Stream, you will need to demonstrate alignment with one of the below Priority Themes. Priorities are formulated in consultation with ACCAN's stakeholders and change year to year. 

Education & Representation Stream applications still need to be framed in terms of a specific consumer problem aligned with ACCAN's strategic plan, but do not need to fit under the below Priority Themes. 

2021 Priority Themes: 

  • Telecommunications issues for particular communities 
    • eg. small business, aged care, remote access, CALD communities

  • Issues of limited choice and competition
    • ‘Embedded networks’ in buildings such as aged care facilities, apartment blocks and non-NBN fixed network areas
    • Telecommunications Consumer Data Right
    • Suitability of existing broadband services for low income consumers

  • Emerging communications technology 
    • eg. working from home, video-conferencing, access for people with disability or rural, regional, remote consumers.

  • Telecommunications consumer privacy and security
    • Cyber-security
    • Family violence

  • Other topics which can demonstrate direct alignment with ACCAN’s strategic plan


2021 Round Timeline

Expressions of Interest round OPENS

28 Jan 2021 
Expressions of Interest round CLOSES

25 Feb 2021 5pm AEDT 
EOI Applicants informed of outcome

30 March 2021 
Full Application round OPENS
(for invited applicants only)

30 March 2021 
Full Application round CLOSES

20 April 2021 5pm AEST 
Full applicants informed of outcome

30 June 2021
Funded projects can begin from

1 July 2021
Funded projects must complete by

30 May 2022

Who can apply?

Eligible projects come from a range of applicants, such as individual researchers, community organisations, local councils and universities – all you need is an ABN and some great ideas. Check our website to see previous grant recipients. We strongly encourage partnerships, so if you're interested in a partnership with industry, a community organisation or university, get in touch with us as we may be able to make an introduction.

What is eligible?

Eligible projects address telecommunications consumer issues. A telecommunications consumer issue is one that is systemic, persistent and generally widespread, affecting consumers in their use of telecommunications and internet services. The issue could be something that affects the general public or it might be an issue affecting a particular part of the community such as children, older people, or people with disabilities, but preferably one where multiple sectors would benefit from a solution.

It could be a project that addresses consumer rip-offs or people getting into debt over their phone or internet usage. Or you may be studying the regulatory space for telecommunications services in Australia. These are just some examples. Whatever your project, it fills an identified gap and improves telecommunications goods, services or information for Australian consumers.

Make sure you have a look at ACCAN's strategic plan, our policy priorities and website before applying.

What won't get funded?

We often see applications which use apps, websites or other technologies to benefit Australian consumers in some other way eg. to improve their health, educate them about community services, or deliver arts or wellbeing programs to Australians in need. While these are all worthwhile projects, they do NOT fall within ACCAN's remit and would be deemed ineligible under the ACCAN Grants Program. Your project needs to demonstrate outcomes for telecommunications consumers.

Questions to ask yourself include:

  1. How does my project improve the purchase or use of phone and internet services in Australia?

  2. What are the outcomes for the telecommunications sector? Is my project directed at telcos, telecommunications regulators, government or consumers with regards to their telecommunications use?  - If so, then your project is likely within scope. If your aim is to improve other sectors, then your project is ineligible.

 ACCAN's scope generally does NOT include content, unless that content is related to telecommunications eg. phone plans, billing, privacy of telco contracts, consumer rights with regard to phone or internet services.

If you're unsure if your project fits our Program, or even if you're sure it does, talk to us. If you give us enough time, we may even be able to provide feedback on application drafts.

For the full list of eligibility criteria, see the Guidelines.

Will ACCAN fund overheads?

ACCAN won't fund overheads, such as administration levies, general office space and so on. We don’t cover normal operating costs for an organisation to do its business either. The grant program funds clearly defined projects and project activity towards specific outputs.

We do cover all costs that are directly attributable to the project itself, e.g. project labour, project management, project accounting, or even office space and room hire if it can be justified as directly attributable to the project.

It all depends on how clearly the cost is related to the project - If you weren’t doing this project would the cost still exist? If yes, then we won’t cover it. Is it an arbitrary levy added by your organisation on top of the project? If yes, we won't cover it. We only cover costs for activities inside the project.

Contact us

We strongly encourage prospective applicants to phone or email ACCAN's grants team to discuss your project idea. Remember, applications are assessed independently, so we are able to help you develop your idea and hone it appropriately for the ACCAN Program. We're also available for any other questions you might have about ACCAN Grants.

Email: grants @
Phone: 02 9288 4000
Or contact us via the NRS. 

This is a resources page.

ACCAN Grants Program Banner - Woman researching at library2021 Round 

The 2021 Round was open for applications in February, for projects running July 2021 - May 2022. Please take a look around the following pages for Timeline, Guidelines and other hints and tips. 

Contact Us

We encourage you to talk to us before applying for an ACCAN Grant. The Grants Team is available to help develop your project idea, ensure it's within scope, and with enough notice, we may even be able to review a draft and help you make the most of your application.

We are currently working remotely so the best way to reach us is via email - let us know a good time & number to phone you, or simply pop your questions & project ideas into the email. We will get back to you as soon as we can: 

Email: grants @

Phone: 02 9288 4000 (ACCAN reception) or via the NRS:


To keep up to date with all things grants related and to better understand ACCAN's work, subscribe to the mailing lists below:


University of Technology Sydney

The project will map out policy options for developing a complaint-handling framework for digital platforms, addressing a critical need for the satisfactory resolution of complaints from consumers. The features of effective and accountable internal dispute resolution schemes and the options for an external complaint-handling scheme will be assessed.

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)

The ability of small businesses (those with less than twenty employees) to adopt advanced digital services such as e-commerce solutions and cybersecurity services is vital for these businesses and for the economy. Recent surveys indicate that many are struggling to adapt to sudden changes due to Covid-19. This project aims to investigate how small retail businesses can enhance their growth and efficiency through the better use of advanced digital services from telecommunications providers.

Charles Sturt University

Telecommunications accounts cannot be held jointly by multiple parties. "Family Plans" are commonly promoted as an economic option for multiple users. These plans have multiple devices (with multiple users) contracted to one person as the 'Customer'. This project investigates the surveillance risks (including call, message and location monitoring) that Family Plans present during ongoing relationships, in particular those at risk of domestic violence.

University of Melbourne

This project is an extension of research funded by the Melbourne Social Equity Institute (MSEI), undertaking a survey and focus groups with the residents (representing 39 language groups) of Carlton Public Housing Estate in central Melbourne to analyse their strategies for coping with limited connectivity. The ACCAN grant will be used to conduct one-on-one interviews with 12 residents and provide interpreting services.

University of Melbourne

Telcos are increasingly using chatbots and other forms of automated assistants to respond to their customers. There may be gains for consumers, but there are also the risks of harms, and this project seeks to investigate and recommend strategies to assist consumers to navigate these risks.

Wamboin Communications Action Group Inc.

This project assisted regional and rural areas to effectively engage with their local communities and build a business case for the implementation of network capabilities to support their current and future needs. The project delivered a set of resources that can be applied across regional, rural and remote areas to help communities identify local requirements to achieve better Internet connectivity to support their economic and social growth.2 photos blended: one of a row of country letterboxes, the other a view over a valley, with a large eucalypt in the foreground