Communities and Justice

Core and cluster procurement process

The Core and Cluster Program’s procurement process has been designed to enable service delivery for women and children to commence as soon as possible.

Construction of the new Core and Cluster refuges commenced in late 2022 and will continue over four years, up to 2025-26. Delivery will occur over three tranches.

Each tranche of the procurement process will commence with an Expression of Interest (EOI) to identify proposals and providers for new or additional facilities (asset and/or service delivery).  A Request for Tender process will follow each EOI, consistent with the NSW Government Procurement Policy Framework.

A Probity Advisor has been engaged to ensure procurement is undertaken in an impartial and fair manner, with no party given advantage over another or unfairly discriminated against.

Information about procurement activity will be published on the NSW e-tendering site. Interested parties should monitor this site for the latest information.

Keeping refuge location confidential through the DA planning process

Information directly relating to confidentiality during planning processes for Tranche 3 of the Core and Cluster Program was released in a statement by the Information Commissioner (PDF, 176.9 KB),  Information and Privacy Commission (NSW) dated 13 November responded to recent media relating to the publication of development applications containing the location of refuges by local councils.

Further, an approved media statement from the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, the Hon. Paul Scully indicates:

‘The NSW Planning system does not legally require the full details of a development application to be published online.’

‘Councils can exercise discretion with the level of detail and documentation they include on their DA tracker.’

‘There is nothing under the NSW Planning system that would require council to publicise a DA specifically as a domestic violence shelter.’

Steps providers can take to avoid breaching Core & Cluster Development Data Privacy can be viewed here (PDF, 209.9 KB).

Additional information is located in the Circular from Department of Planning and Environment about ‘Disclosure of information about domestic and family violence refuges (PDF, 138.3 KB)'

Tranche 3

The Core and Cluster Program Tranche 3 has two procurement stages. Expressions of Interest (EOI) followed by a Request for Tender (RFT).

The EOI process opened on 27 April and closed on 25 July 2023. Successful EOI’s were invited to participate in the RFT.

DCJ held Industry Briefings for Tranche 3 EOI. These were held on the Tuesday 9 May and Wednesday 10 May 2023.

Links to the recordings of these sessions:

Tranche 3.2 EOI (Aboriginal led):  10am – 11am Tuesday 09 May 2023 

Tranche 3.1 EOI (General):  11am – 12pm Wednesday 10 May 2023 

Questions from the sessions were answered in addendums on the DCJ Procurement Central Website.

The Request for Tender (RFT) is open from 23 October 2023 and will close 31 January 2024. RFT outcomes will be issued in April 2024.

DCJ held Industry Briefings for Tranche 3 RFT. These were held on Monday 6 November and Tuesday 7 November 2023.

Links to the recordings of these sessions:

Tranche 3.1 RFT (General):  9:15am – 10:15am Monday 6 November 2023

Tranche 3.2 RFT (Aboriginal led):  9:15am – 10:15am Tuesday 7 November 2023 

If you successfully progressed to Tranche 3 RFT, as identified in the Industry Briefings, please submit procurement related questions to the Procurement Central Message board.

Update to existing delivery timeframes for Core and Cluster Program refuges

Tranche 3 seeks to identify projects that can commence from August 2024, have the capital build component of the project completed by December 2025, and service delivery implementation commenced by January 2026.

This change in the project delivery timeframes reflects feedback from the sector and learnings from Tranches 1 and 2, where longer time frames were required to complete capital build programs.

Tranche 3 RFT tenderers can access this information on the ‘RFT Introduction Document for Respondents’ via the DCJ Procurement Central Portal.

Tranches 1 and 2

Tranches 1 and Tranche 2 have now closed. On 21 November 2022, the NSW Government announced 39 proposals for new women’s refuges that have been successful under Tranche 1 and 2 of the Core and Cluster Program.

The selected sites will be the first new refuges delivered under the NSW Government’s record $484.3 million investment for housing and specialist supports for women experiencing domestic and family violence and their children. 

Safe Places Inclusion Round

The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) has been working with Department of Social Services (DSS) to align arrangements for both the Core and Cluster Tranche 3 Procurement and Safe Places Inclusion Round grant opportunities.

Applicants who are invited to apply for the RFT for Core and Cluster may also choose to apply for capital funding as part of the Safe Places Inclusion Round.

If successful, applicants could receive capital funding from the Commonwealth Safe Places Inclusion Round and service delivery funding from the Core and Cluster Tranche 3 funding round.

Services who wish to apply for both Core and Cluster and Safe Places will need to complete the two procurements however where possible, the questions will be similar, allowing services to use the same answer in each procurement application, thereby reducing administrative burden on services applying for two procurements.

What are the time frames for Safe Places Inclusion Round grant opportunity and Core and Cluster Procurement? 

Tranche 3 Core and Cluster RFT will open on 23 October 2023 and close on 31 January 2024.

The exact time frame for the Safe Places Inclusion Round is to be announced. The grant opportunity will open later this year and be available on the GrantConnect website.

How will DCJ assess my application if I don’t know the outcome of my Safe Places Inclusion Round grant yet?

In the RFT, applicants will be asked to tell us about any contributions they have secured towards the project. This will include the option to tell us that you have applied for the Safe Places Inclusion Round grant opportunity.

You do not need to notify DCJ of your Safe Places Inclusion Round grant outcome. DCJ will work with DSS to verify if your application was successful for capital funding through the Safe Places Inclusion Round grant opportunity.

If I secure Safe Places funding for the capital build, do I still need to meet the design requirements for Core and Cluster to secure service delivery funding through Core and Cluster?

Yes. Even if you secure capital funding for your build through another means including Safe Places Inclusion Round, to be eligible to meet the Core and Cluster funding requirements your building must meet the design specifications for Core and Cluster program, as set out in the LAHC Functional Design Brief. DSS will encourage all Safe Places Inclusion Round applicants to demonstrate alignment with state initiatives and design standards, such as the Core and Cluster program and LAHC Functional Design Brief for NSW applicants.

More information about Safe Places Inclusion Round grant opportunity is attached. Organisations interested in the grant opportunity are encouraged to register on GrantConnect to stay updated.

If you have any questions, please email the Core and Cluster Team

Aboriginal procurement

Aboriginal women are at greater risk of domestic and family violence and homelessness. The Core and Cluster Program aims to improve access to culturally safe services and supports for Aboriginal women and children.

A targeted EOI for Aboriginal-led projects was run concurrently alongside the Tranche 2 EOI. The EOI sought to identify Aboriginal-led Core and Cluster projects suitable for implementation or further development, from July 2023.

The EOI was open to registered Aboriginal organisations including Aboriginal Community Housing Providers and Local Aboriginal Land Councils or Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations. Applications received were assessed by DCJ, with shortlisted applicants invited to participate in the following Request for Tender process. 

There will be another targeted procurement process for Aboriginal-led delivery for Tranche 3.

Tranche 3.2 (Aboriginal led):  10am – 11am Tuesday 09 May

Tranche 3.1 (General):  11am – 12pm Wednesday 10 May

Frequently Asked Questions

Further information is provided in the Core & Cluster Sector Capacity and Capacity Building Program Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 429.0 KB)

Last updated:

15 Dec 2023