Stakeholder Update | March 2021

In this edition:
Pictured: Recent site visit to Bundanon with Shoalhaven Tourism, Destination NSW and Tourism Australia

Welcome to our latest industry update!

Shannan and Aaron recently attended a site visit at Bundanon, which is undergoing significant development in the northern Shoalhaven. Joining them for the visit were representatives from Shoalhaven Tourism, Destination NSW and Tourism Australia to hear more about the tourism opportunities for the site. Read more about the impressive development and their masterplan here.

There is a remarkable amount of funding available at the moment, if you have any questions or would like assistance, particularly for the Destination NSW programs please don’t hesitate to reach out to Aaron, by phone: 0402 324 951 or via email:
[email protected]

Thank you again to everyone who joined us for our Visitor Economy Symposium in Kiama late last year. Following the success of the day and with the support of the Commonwealth Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, we are pleased to be hosting another event in the coming months – further announcements soon. We’d love to hear your feedback on how you found the last event and what you would like to see on the next program, we invite you to complete our short survey.

As always, we will be out in region over the coming months so please contact us if you would like to catch up.

Chat soon,
The DSSS team


Planning Amendments to support Agritourism

The NSW Government is proposing to simplify the planning process and approval pathways for those who wish to do small business activities, such as agritourism, and low-impact agricultural development on NSW farms. Read the media release here.

Agritourism is a tourism-related experience or product that connects agricultural products, people or places with visitors on a farm or rural land for enjoyment, education, or to participate in activities and events.

The proposed changes are open for public feedback until 19 April 2021. To view exhibited materials, visit the NSW Government planning portal

Federal Government announces $1.2 billion tourism support package

Australia’s airlines, hotels and caravan parks, restaurants and bars, travel agents and tourism operators are set for a rush of hundreds of thousands of tourists as part of a new $1.2 billion support package from the Federal Government.

The half-price ticket program will initially operate to 13 key regions. Flights, routes and the total number of tickets will be driven by demand and are subject to final discussions with the airlines. The discounts will be off the average fare and will be available on airline websites from 1 April. 

The Federal Government will also expand and extend its ‘SME Loan Guarantee Scheme’ as part of its commitment to support up to $40 billion in lending to small and medium enterprises.

The SME Recovery Loan Scheme will benefit from an increased Government guarantee, increasing from the current 50/50 split between the Government and the banks to an 80/20 split. This will encourage more banks to support small businesses and demonstrates the Government’s commitment to back those businesses that are prepared to back themselves.

The expanded Scheme will also increase the size of eligible loans, increasing from $1 million under the current Scheme to $5 million. Businesses with a higher turnover will also benefit under the expanded Scheme, with the maximum eligible turnover increased from $50 million to $250 million.

Read the full media release for details and visit Austrade for tactical industry advice.

Nominations now open for NSW’s 2021 Top Tourism Town Awards

NSW Tourism Industry Council is on the search to find New South Wales’ Top Tourism Town and New South Wales’ Small Tourism Town of the year. The Top Tourism Town Awards will showcase the value of tourism to the towns and communities across NSW and celebrate their commitment to encouraging tourism and increasing visitation to their destination.   

Nominations are now open and close on Monday 22 March, with full submissions due Monday 26 April. Winners in each category will be announced in partnership with Local Government NSW at the LGNSW Destination & Visitor Economy Conference in Port Macquarie from 26-28 May. 

For information and to nominate, go to the NSW Tourism Awards website

New representative for DSSS on the AVIC Industry Advisory Group

The Accredited Visitor Information Centre (AVIC) Industry Advisory Group recently announced Izabella Lane as the new representative for the Sydney Surrounds South region. Izabella is the Tourism Coordinator at Wingecarribee Shire Council and oversees the Southern Highlands AVIC in Mittagong.

DSSS is very pleased to have Izabella representing the region and we congratulate her on her appointment to the role!

For more information about the group, visit Destination NSW’s website.

Support for Small Businesses to be Mentally Healthy is a new digital hub developed to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australian small business owners.

The Ahead for Business team at Everymind will be working with small business owners and those who support them in the tourism industry until June 2021, and invite you to the following:

  • Focus Groups: share your insights into current mental health supports available and needs of small business owners in your area, and help develop new resource tools and training on Ahead for Business.
  • Free Online Wellbeing Workshops: join an online training session and learn about mental health and wellbeing in small business.
  • Share Your Story: Share your knowledge, experiences and tips to inspire and support others in your community to look after themselves while managing the unique stressors of owning a business.

Dates and links to register are available on the Tourism Communities page of their website. For further information please contact the Ahead for Business team:
[email protected]

Pictured: Guests enjoying food and drink at Bannisters Pavilion, Mollymook Beach. Credit: Bannisters Hotel.

Regional Business Event Development Fund

Grants of up to $30,000 are available to eligible applicants to create, attract and support business events for regional NSW, and to motivate business event owners to incorporate regional NSW in their plans. Applicants may apply for funding based on the following scale:
  • Up to $15,000 (excluding GST) for a business event with up to 150 delegates (projected attendance)
  • Up to $30,000 (excluding GST) for a business event with over 150 delegates (projected attendance)

Applications are now open and close 30 April 2021. For more information visit the Meet in NSW website.

Tourism Product Development Fund

Refresh and Renew Fund
Grants of $10,000 (excluding GST) are available to successful applicants for eligible activities. While matched funding is not required, it is expected the projects will cost greater than $10,000 (excluding GST).

Experience Enhancement Fund
Funding of between $50,000 and $150,000 (excluding GST) is available per applicant, on a matched dollar-for-dollar basis for eligible project costs.

Applications for both funding programs are now open and close at 9am (AEDT) on 31 March 2021.

For more information visit the Destination NSW website.

Helping hotels lower their power bills

Provided by the Morrison Government, the Hotel Energy Uplift Program provides grants to support small and medium hotels with 1 to 99 guestrooms to reduce their energy use, improve energy productivity and deliver carbon abatement. The program aims to assist hotels to upgrade equipment to reduce energy consumption, upgrade the building fabric to save energy such as improving windows, drapes or insulation, undertake energy management activities and assessments.

Applications are now open and will close at 5pm (AEDT) on 1 April 2021 or earlier if funding is exhausted. The minimum grant amount is $10,000 and the maximum grant is $25,000. The grants amount will be up to 100% of eligible project expenditure.

More information can be found on

$20 million Regional Events Acceleration Fund now open

To support the social and economic recovery of our regions, the NSW Government’s $20 million Regional Events Acceleration Fund helps organisations to attract new major international and domestic events to regional areas and supports existing regional events to grow even bigger and better.

Events hosted between March 2021 and June 2022 can apply for two streams of funding:

  • Stream One supports existing regional events by funding operational improvements and infrastructure needed to boost event attendance and improve visitor experience. Applications can request funding support between $50,000 and $200,000.
  • Stream Two supports the attraction of major international and domestic events to regional locations, with a particular focus on major sporting events that provide national or international exposure. Applications for Stream Two can request funding at a minimum of $100,000.

Applications for the Regional Events Acceleration Fund are now open and close at 5pm on Friday 17 December 2021, or when funding is fully committed.  

For further information about the fund, including program guidelines, applications and eligibility, visit

$40 million Indigenous Tourism Fund now open to assist recovery

Applications are open for the Indigenous Tourism Fund (ITF), which provides business support and grants for Indigenous-owned tourism businesses.

The comprehensive package of business support and grants under the $40 million Indigenous Tourism Fund includes: 

  • $10 million will go towards a National Indigenous Tourism Mentoring Program to offer businesses individualised support 
  • Up to $12 million under the Tourism Grants for Indigenous Business Program to help businesses and community organisations develop new products, and purchase systems and equipment  
  • Up to $17 million will be available for States and Territories to co-invest with the Commonwealth on significant Indigenous tourism projects, creating opportunity to expand the range of Indigenous tourism experiences available across Australia 
  •  $1 million for the establishment of a National Indigenous Tourism Advisory Group consisting of successful Indigenous experts from a variety of fields and advise on priorities for the sector and the implementation of the fund.

Applications close 22 March 2021. For more information and to apply, visit the website

Jobmaker Hiring Credit Business Subsidy

Businesses that are creating new positions and employing young Australians may be eligible for a new wage subsidy called the JobMaker Hiring Credit, paid by the ATO. Employers that are increasing both their headcount and payroll can receive up to $10,400 per year for each new job they fill with an eligible employee aged 16 to 29 years, and $5,200 for each eligible employee aged 30 to 35 years. To be eligible, new employees must: be 16 to 35 years old, commence employment between 7 October 2020 and 6 October 2021, work or be paid for an average of at least 20 paid hours per week during the reporting period, and have received the JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment or Youth Allowance (except if they are receiving the allowance because they are undertaking full-time study or are a new apprentice) for at least 28 consecutive days in the 84 days prior to starting employment.
Find out more via the ATO website.

Funding for Councils to engage youth

Children and young people across the state will enjoy more opportunities to engage and participate in their communities, thanks to a funding boost from the NSW Government ahead of Youth Week. Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said local councils will receive a share in $335,000 to help run events in their communities. “Now more than ever it is so important for our young people to stay connected. COVID-19 has presented so many challenges and Youth Week gives young people an outlet to avoid social isolation,” Mr Ward said. The NSW Government will support local councils across the state to run locally-led community events, including an additional $76,000 provided to rural and remote councils to encourage even more young people from these areas to participate. NSW Youth Week 2021 will be celebrated from 16 – 24 April. For more information, visit the Youth Week website.


Tourism businesses to grow with Google

Google is hosting a three-part digital event series for tourism businesses to help expand their reach and grow their impact online. Grow with Google OnAir Australia is designed to help small to medium businesses show up and stand out online.

The events will cover how to create and manage a Business Profile on Google, how to grow brand awareness using Google Ads, and how to turn data into actionable insights with Google Analytics. 

Sessions will stream on Thursday 11, 18 and 25 March at 2pm. Register at Google.
Header images:
1. Friendly koala at Symbio Wildlife Park, Helensburgh. Credit: Destination NSW
2. Aerial overlooking Blowhole Point Rock Pool, Kiama. Credit: Destination NSW
3. Food and wine available at Bendooley Estate, Berrima. Credit: Destination NSW