The OCA supports the development and operation of outback communities through Community Affairs Resourcing and Management (CARM) Agreements and community grants.

A CARM Agreement is negotiated annually, for a financial year, with an association representing its community and agreed to by the wider community.

CARM Agreements are between the Outback Communities Authority and an incorporated association representing a community.  The term of a CARM is for one financial year.

A CARM Agreement spells out how the OCA will provide financial support for specific local services and can be a catalyst for a community contribution scheme.

A Community contribution scheme is based on a fixed charge relative to the level of service sought by the community.  A community contribution cannot be based on property values.

The OCA is required to efficiently and effectively use available resources for the benefit of the public.  CARM Agreements define the OCA’s financial commitment to specific services and ensure that there are accountable and transparent processes for the disbursement of resources and funding arrangements.

The OCA implemented a significant change to the CARM Agreement process in 2016-17.  The change was to make compliance less onerous on a community group and at the same time more clearly define the relationship between the two parties.  Associations entering into a CARM Agreement are required to meet milestones throughout a financial year.  Once milestones have been met, funding is released – Associations are no longer required to submit reimbursement forms to receive funding.

When submitting annual budget plans, Associations are asked to include municipal service expenses and community development project expenses.  When allocating funding to Associations, the OCA considers each Association’s financial year budget and funding is subject to the OCA’s budgetary process and assessed against established funding guidelines.

Eligible communities, groups and organisations must be:

·         incorporated (or supported by an incorporated body*), and

·         not for profit,  and

·         representative of the community for which funding is sought.

* Community Development Project funding only.

The OCA’s Community Funding Policy has been transitioning into the OCA’s business since July 2015 and was fully operational during 2016-17.  Associations seeking funding support from the OCA are strongly encouraged to read the Policy.