As part of the Year of Outback Tourism, the Queensland Government has launched the $3 million Year of Outback Tourism Events Program.

In 2019 and 2020, grants will be available for new events or to extend existing events, which contribute to enhancing the profile of Outback Queensland and attract new or increase the number of visitors.

Event and festival promoters, local governments, community organisations and local businesses are invited to apply and help grow tourism in their local communities.

Funding from $1000 to $100,000 (exclusive of GST) is available per event. Program funding may provide up to 50% of overall event costs. Events must be delivered on or before 31 December 2020.

In May 2019, the Premier announced the first round of events funded through the Year of Outback Tourism Event Program, collectively amounting to $1.1 million in funding. Discover these exciting events.

Round two is now closed and successful recipients will be announced in September 2019. Round three will open in October 2019.

In Queensland, 2019 is the Year of Outback Tourism. This Queensland Government initiative reinforces the state’s position as a world-leading tourism destination and supports economic, social and cultural growth in Outback Queensland.

This is an opportune time for outback communities. Each year, more and more local and international tourists are discovering the fun and far-flung events and festivals of regional Queensland, with almost 900,000 visitors travelling to the outback yearly.

The Year of Outback Tourism will see these numbers continue to grow in years to come and create sustainable jobs for people in the outback.

Outback Tourism Infrastructure Fund

The $10 million Outback Tourism Infrastructure Fund will help establish much needed tourism infrastructure in Outback Queensland. Fifteen projects have been awarded funding—from Adels Grove and Cobbold Gorge in the north, all the way down to Roma and Cunnamulla in the south.

Find out more about the Outback Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

Outback events and experiences

Visit Tourism and Events Queensland for more information on events and experiences in Outback Queensland.

More information about Outback Queensland

Outback Queensland is defined as the event host location within the Local Government Areas of: Balonne Shire Council, Banana Shire Council, Barcaldine Regional Council, Barcoo Shire Council, Blackall–Tambo Regional Council, Boulia Shire Council, Bulloo Shire Council, Burke Shire Council, Carpentaria Shire Council, Central Highlands Regional Council, Cloncurry Shire Council, Croydon Shire Council, Diamantina Shire Council, Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council, Etheridge Shire Council, Flinders Shire Council, Longreach Regional Council, Maranoa Regional Council, McKinlay Shire Council, Mornington Shire Council, Mount Isa City Council, Murweh Shire Council, Paroo Shire Council, Quilpie Shire Council, Richmond Shire Council, Winton Shire Council, Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council.

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The following organisations are eligible to apply:

  • local councils operating in Outback Queensland
  • Regional Tourism Organisations
  • event managers and/or event promoters
  • incorporated associations or bodies
  • corporations including those operating on a not-for-profit basis
  • community and festival organisations.

Please note, for the purposes of this program, Outback Queensland is defined as comprising 27 local government areas (see map).

Eligible applicants must have a valid Australian Business Number (ABN) or Australian Company Number (ACN).

The following organisations are ineligible to apply:

  • state or federal government departments
  • individuals
  • entities without an ABN or ACN
  • political parties.

View the Year of Outback Tourism Events Program guidelines (PDF, 3.11MB).

Applications are currently closed. Round three will open October 2019.

Please note for future rounds:

Applications can only be submitted through the online grants portal SmartyGrants. Applications that are received by person, post, email or fax will not be accepted.

Applicants will need to create a free SmartyGrants account in order to apply. Through this online application form you can regularly save your work, close it and return to your application as many times as you like before the closing date.

  Round opens Round closes Applicants notified
Round one Closed Closed May 2019
Round two Closed Closed September 2019
Round three October 2019 November 2019 February 2020
Round four February 2020 March 2020 May 2020
All events must be delivered by 31 December 2020.

In round one, the program awarded more than $1.1 million to 26 festivals, sporting events, cultural experiences and more across Outback Queensland.

Discover the details of these exciting new events.

To celebrate the 26 events funded through the first round of the Year of Outback Tourism Events Program, Queenslanders had the chance to win a four-night trip for two to Mount Isa and spectacular Adels Grove. The prize package included unforgettable visits to Boodjamulla National Park, Harry’s Hill, Lawn Hill Gorge and the World Heritage listed Riversleigh Fossil Fields.

Congratulations to competition winner Jackson B. of Brisbane.

Thank you to all who entered and shared which Year of Outback Tourism Events Program event they would love to attend.

Outback Queensland is defined as the event host location within the Local Government Areas of: Balonne Shire Council, Banana Shire Council, Barcaldine Regional Council, Barcoo Shire Council, Blackall–Tambo Regional Council, Boulia Shire Council, Bulloo Shire Council, Burke Shire Council, Carpentaria Shire Council, Central Highlands Regional Council, Cloncurry Shire Council, Croydon Shire Council, Diamantina Shire Council, Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council, Etheridge Shire Council, Flinders Shire Council, Longreach Regional Council, Maranoa Regional Council, McKinlay Shire Council, Mornington Shire Council, Mount Isa City Council, Murweh Shire Council, Paroo Shire Council, Quilpie Shire Council, Richmond Shire Council, Winton Shire Council, Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council.

Click to enlarge

‘Outback Queensland’ is defined as the event host location within the Local Government Areas of:

  • Balonne Shire Council
  • Banana Shire Council
  • Barcaldine Regional Council
  • Barcoo Shire Council
  • Blackall–Tambo Regional Council
  • Boulia Shire Council
  • Bulloo Shire Council
  • Burke Shire Council
  • Carpentaria Shire Council
  • Central Highlands Regional Council
  • Cloncurry Shire Council
  • Croydon Shire Council
  • Diamantina Shire Council
  • Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council
  • Etheridge Shire Council
  • Flinders Shire Council
  • Longreach Regional Council
  • Maranoa Regional Council
  • McKinlay Shire Council
  • Mornington Shire Council
  • Mount Isa City Council
  • Murweh Shire Council
  • Paroo Shire Council
  • Quilpie Shire Council
  • Richmond Shire Council
  • Winton Shire Council
  • Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council.

View a map of the above Local Government Areas.

The Year of Outback Tourism Events Program differs from the QDEP program via:

  Year of Outback Tourism Events Program Queensland Destination Events Program (QDEP)
Event type New or extend existing events in Outback Queensland Criteria to enable eligibility status
Event host location Outback Queensland only Statewide
Funding amounts Available funding between $1000 to $100,000 Available funding between $10,000 to $25,000 (Destination Event Funding) and $25,000 to $100,000 (Significant Event Funding)
Funding ratio Up to 50% of total event budget can be applied for Up to 25% of total event budget can be applied for
Eligible costs Broader scope of works to include audio hire, headline artists etc. .

Eligible costs

  • Marketing and advertising (e.g. advertising, promotional collateral, marketing activities, public relations, graphic design, associated printing costs)
  • Salaries/wages for tradespeople, professionals, external suppliers and short-term personnel (with a valid ABN) who are engaged to deliver the project
  • Transport—bus/coach hire if reasonable and integral to the project
  • Bands and musical accompaniments, speakers, artists, performers and other fees associated with securing event talent and content
  • Freight (must be directly related to the event)
  • Interpretive/information signage/installations
  • Venue and equipment hire (external to the applicant organisation) including audio, visual, rigging, generator hire, fencing, toilets, traffic management, hire equipment (marquees, chairs, tables, staging), waste management and wet weather contingencies
  • Capital expenditure relating to the purchase or upgrade of assets for ongoing use by the organisation that will continue to drive economic outcomes for this host community e.g. toilet blocks and lighting towers.
Predominantly marketing, strategic plans, short‑term specialised personnel, temporary infrastructure
Responsible agency Department of the Premier and Cabinet Tourism and Events Queensland

The Queensland Government recognises the importance of event tourism. There are a number of available options for your event that include:

Yes. Program funding is available for specific purposes. For example, you may receive funding from Tourism and Events Queensland of $15,000 for a tourism consultant to produce a strategic plan, and you may receive $50,000 in funding from the Year of Outback Tourism Events Program for multiple headline artists to drive attendance to your event.

Yes. You may receive funding in each round. However, only a maximum of $100,000 program funding, per event.

For example, if you host an annual event, you are entitled to apply for up to $100,000 in funding for each year.

The application must be for between $1000 and $100,000 (exclusive of GST). The program may provide a maximum of 50% of the event budget.

A budget template is provided in the guidelines and as part of the application process. Use the template to itemise:

  • the applicant’s contribution
  • the project’s total income (detailed by local or federal government funding, donations, ticket sales, value-in-kind and cash sponsorships)
  • all expenditure (including what the requested money will be spent on. Any information including quotes are useful).

The applicant must provide a comprehensive breakdown incorporating all income and expenditure. To demonstrate that all costs have been considered, total revenue must equal total expenditure in the budget. The project budget is part of the assessment criteria and needs to be accurate. Please note all costs must be listed as GST exclusive.

Yes, the Year of Outback Tourism Events Program was previously known as the Premier’s Outback Events Program. The name changed in May 2019 to better align with the broader suite of Year of Outback Tourism initiatives.

Applicants do not need to be registered for GST. If applicants are GST registered, 10% GST will be added to the grant amount. Applicants who are not GST registered will have the opportunity to apply for reimbursement of the GST incurred by the organisation for agreed expenditure items as listed in the funding agreement (up to 10% of the funding support).

For advice on GST, please contact a tax advisor or the Australian Taxation Office on 13 28 69 or via its website at www.ato.gov.au.

The taxation implications of any payments made to an applicant under the program may differ depending on the applicant’s circumstances. The Queensland Government is unable to provide taxation advice and accordingly recommends consulting your own professional adviser to determine any taxation implications that may apply.

The Australian Taxation Office has publicly available guidance that may also assist you. This information can be accessed via its website at www.ato.gov.au. For example, guidance in relation to GST treatment of financial assistance payments can be found in GST Ruling 2012/2.

If an organisation is unable to complete the project or wishes to withdraw from funding for any reason it must notify the Events and Engagement Unit, Department of the Premier in Cabinet, in writing as soon as possible. Contact should be made via email at outbackevents@premiers.qld.gov.au.

Each application will be assessed in line with the eligibility and assessment criteria. Applications may be verified with relevant organisations such as landowners, Regional Tourism Organisations and local councils. The application is also subject to due diligence checks.

SmartyGrants is an online grants administration platform. Applicants will need to create a free SmartyGrants account in order to apply for the program. For help using SmartyGrants, please review their Help Guide for Applicants and Applicant Frequently Asked Questions.

Funding will not be granted retrospectively. The event date must be after 30 September 2019.

If you wish to progress with expending the items proposed in your application, your organisation must be willing to underwrite these costs should your application not be successful.

For any queries, please contact Events and Engagement, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, by email at outbackevents@premiers.qld.gov.au or on telephone (07) 3003 9200.