Grant win delivers major upgrades for Central Highlands sports, entertainment and airport facilities

News from Peak | April/May 2024

Grant win delivers major upgrades for Central Highlands sports, entertainment and airport facilities


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By Zoe Dark, GPrincipal Advisor and Manager, Grant Office in collaboration with Central Highlands Regional Council 

People living, working, or visiting the Central Highlands Region of Queensland, will soon get to enjoy a beautified botanic garden, entertainment centres, sports fields & clubhouse, and a new aquatic centre, thanks to almost $30 million in funding. Anyone needing the help of the Royal Flying Doctor Service will also benefit from smoother and safer access. 

These upgrades and new builds are part of a $28.2 million funding package for six major community projects secured by Peak Services for the Central Highland Regional Council through the Resources Community Infrastructure Fund. 

Peak Services was pleased to help council apply for the funds to upgrade the McIndoe Park Sports Field Facilities, Emerald Airport RFDS Apron and Central Highlands Regional Entertainment Venues, redevelop the Emerald Regional Botanic Gardens, and build the Springsure Aquatic Centre 17 Metre Pool ($5 million) as well as the Bridgeman Park Club House.  

Council spokesperson, Leisa Donlan, said she believed a major factor in the successful grant applications was the high level of collaboration between council’s Project Teams and Peak Services' Grants Management Team, who worked together to develop robust business and community cases for each project. 

“We recognised that we didn’t have the resources internally to produce the full suite of documentation in such a competitive grant environment and so we partnered with Peak Services Grants Team. Despite the very tight timeframes, our teams worked together to establish clear communication channels, robust processes, and meticulous document control.  Council was delighted with the applications and the quality of the work, and the results speak for themselves – or they will shortly!"  Ms Donlan said”.

Ms Donlan emphasised the importance of being prepared for grant applications and the preparedness should start well before funding rounds are released. 

“My advice to other Councils is to know your strengths and weaknesses, and if grant writing isn’t your strongest point - then get expert help. Make sure you have your projects well planned to define the needs, specifications, budget and costs. Evidence of community support is essential, so make sure you have a means of gauging community and business input. Government funders also look for strong links to national, regional and local strategic plans and, increasingly, evidence of sustainability within each project,” Ms Donlan said. 

“It’s also really important to have a strong track record in project and risk management and delivery. 

“The Peak Services Grants Team helped us pull all this together and put forward a cohesive and compelling case for our community and region.”  

Head of Peak Services Grants Management Office, Zoe Dark, said their team develops strong working relationships with councils and is always delighted when funding is successfully secured for council. 

“We’re always thrilled when applications we have worked on are successful. It’s a win for the communities and the councils, and it’s very fulfilling for our team. We form quite close bonds with council staff as we work through all the documentation required for a strong grant application, and we get very attached to the individual projects too. We can work with all levels and stages of documentation, but we find we get the best results when councils have prepared a case to show the need for the project, have detailed quotes and plans and have an experienced project management team. But we can also help councils start building a case from scratch – as long as there is enough time to meet the often very tight grant lodgement deadlines,” Ms Dark said. 

Central Highland Council’s application package was for $28.2 in Round 3 of the Queensland Government’s Resources Community Infrastructure Fund. The fund aims to improve access to essential services, enhance community wellbeing, and address social inequality in Queensland's resource communities. Additionally, it seeks to boost community safety and support disadvantaged groups while supplementing the state's infrastructure investments to deliver new, beneficial projects. 

Central Highlands Regional Council was awarded the following: 

  • McIndoe Park Sports Field Facilities Upgrade - $3.19 million 
  • Springsure Aquatic Centre 17 Metre Program Pool - $5 million 
  • Emerald Regional Botanic Gardens Redevelopment - $7 million 
  • Emerald Airport RFDS Apron Upgrade - $6 million 
  • Bridgeman Park Club House - $1.5 million 
  • Central Highlands Regional Entertainment Venues Upgrades - $5.5 million 

The application process involved the full suite of documentation and included evidence of project need and benefit, detailed designs, approvals, site plans, full costings, cash flow summaries, project plans, works schedules, cost benefits analyses, evidence for stakeholder support, evidence of links to relevant strategic plans, sustainability, risk management and evidence of capacity to deliver. 

We’re here to support you with your grant planning and applications. If you’d like to know more, get in touch with Zoe Dark at  

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