On 7 January, the Australian government announced its initiative, the Data Retention Industry Grants Programme (the Programme). It will operate over three years from 2015-16 to 2017-18. We explain below what is it, how it helps, who it helps and the application process involved.

How Does it Help?

The Programme provides assistance to telecommunications service providers in satisfying their data retention obligations under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015 by contributing to the typical up-front costs they incur in compliance. Eligible businesses can receive a maximum of $128.4 million in funding in the form of single one-off grants and 50% of their grant allocation upfront, as soon as they enter into a Funding Agreement with the Australian Government. The second and final instalment will be made after the business meets the Funding Agreement’s reporting obligations, including any technical evaluation required for assurance purposes.

Who Does it Help?

Only eligible businesses may apply for assistance. To be eligible, a business must at the time of application:

a. Have a valid ABN; and

b. Offer at least one eligible service, as specified in the Programme guidelines; and

c. Own or operate, in Australia, infrastructure that enables the provision of any of its eligible services; and

(i) Have a Data Retention Implementation Plan (DRIP) in place; OR

(ii) Where the applicant doesn’t require a DRIP, submit a Statement of Work in the Application Form detailing activities undertaken between 30 October 2014 and 13 October 2015, to become fully compliant; and

A. Have incurred or will incur direct costs associated with delivering their DRIP or Statement of Work since October 2014.

How to Apply

You must submit your application for funding under the Programme by the closing date listed on business.gov.au where you can also find:

  • The Programme Guidelines;
  • Application Form;
  • Customer Information Guide; and
  • Other customer documents.

What Happens if You’re Successful?

If you’re successful, you will be entitled to receive a grant for an amount determined by the Programme guidelines. You will also be required to enter into a Funding Agreement with the Commonwealth which will set out the terms on which the grant will be provided.

In Short

The Australian government has many grants in place to assist SMEs.  If you are a telecommunications service provider, then this grant could be relevant for you.  If you have any questions or require any assistance in determining whether there are any grants applicable to your business, let our startup lawyers know on 1300 544 755. 

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