New funding round open to innovative projects in the City Centre

23 Aug 2022

Creative projects designed to increase visitation and boost economic activity will share in almost $1 million as part of City of Newcastle’s annual Special Business Rate (SBR) program.

Applications are now open for the new City Centre and Darby Street funding round, with funding available for projects that deliver the most innovative and effective ideas to boost local businesses.

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said the SBR program provided invaluable support for the city’s CBD business precincts, with economic outcomes that flowed right through to the wider Newcastle area.

“Whether it's through the lasting impacts of the Big Picture Festival's beautiful murals across the city centre, or the immediate boost through visitation to Newcastle Food Month, our SBR program is delivering real economic benefit for local businesses,” Cr Clausen said.

“More than $1.6 million was distributed through the SBR program in 2020/21 to 19 projects successful under the contestable funding rounds, as well as funding and support services for Business Improvements Associations in the five precincts.

“Modelling by REMPLAN shows last year's SBR funding generated a total economic impact of $5.8 million for the city with a return on investment of 349%.

"We're looking forward to seeing what creative applications come from the City Centre and Darby Street SBR round as we continue to provide locals and tourists more reasons to get out, enjoy their city and visit local businesses.”

Key categories for City Centre and Darby Street funding in 2022/23 include: industry and business development; place activation and events; beautification and infrastructure development; and promotion, with between $4,000 and $500,000 available per application.

Applications for the City Centre and Darby Street funding close on 16 September 2022.

More information about the program and funding opportunities can be found at