Minor Low Interest Heritage Loan Program - Policy Guidelines

These guidelines explain eligibility for our Minor Low Interest Heritage Loan Program.

These guidelines should be read in conjunction with the explanatory notes.

The main function of the City of Greater Geelong Minor Low Interest Heritage Loan program is to assist owners of recognised heritage value to the City of Greater Geelong to undertake appropriate works to retain and enhance the heritage qualities of individual properties and heritage areas.

The assistance is in two parts:

  1. low interest loans and

  2. free technical advice.

Policy guidelines

The following guidelines set out the properties which are eligible to apply for restoration loans and the criteria on which applications will be assessed. Notes given in brackets after points provide further explanation.


Eligibility for City of Greater Geelong loans is limited to buildings, places or structures (Note 1) that are:

  • located in areas which are subject to Geelong, Geelong West, Newtown and Bellarine Urban Conservation Studies and Greater Geelong Outer Areas Heritage Study

  • of recognised heritage value to the community (Note 2).

All loan approvals are at the discretion of City of Greater Geelong and compliance with these guidelines does not necessarily mean a project will be approved. All applications will be assessed on individual merit.


Loan applications should include woks that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Conservation works of preservation, restoration or reconstruction to publicly accessible or visible areas; (Note 3)

  • Works to prolong the life of the heritage asset, not including routine maintenance (Note 4); and

  • Works which provide a community benefit, such as increasing public awareness on the heritage matters or improving streetscape appearance. (Note 5)

In assessing a loan application City of Greater Geelong may take into consideration the urgency of the works required and the need for funding assistance in a particular circumstance.

All works must be undertaken in accordance with The Australian ICOMOS Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Significance (The Burra Charter).

Desirable locations

In assessing the loan application, City of Greater Geelong shall take into consideration a desire to meet the following conditions:

  • Loans should be a range of building types representative of the building stock in the Urban Conservation Studies

  • Works should demonstrate sound energy conservation principals where applicable

  • Loans should be distributed reasonably even across the Urban Conservation Study areas, recognising the relative numbers of heritage areas in each study

  • The amount of any individual loan shall be determined by City of Greater Geelong but a balance should be retained between large and small projects.


Loans shall not be approved where:

  • Work has already been undertaken and is not a satisfactory standard;

  • The standard of documentation submitted is not satisfactory; and

  • The work would usually be carried out as standard maintenance (Note 4).


  • Loans to be repaid within a four year (4) period or to be paid in full prior to the property being sold, whichever is first.

  • Work to be carried out to the approval of the Heritage Advisor.

  • All necessary building and planning permits must be obtained from Councils City Development Unit prior to the loan money being made available. (Approval for a loan does not imply that permits will necessarily be granted)

  • The owner of the building must enter into an agreement with City of Greater Geelong which will specify the works which are to be undertaken, repayment details, and the date by which the works are to be completed. The details of the individual arrangements are set out in the loan agreement.

  • The current interest rate offered shall be 1.5% per annum for all types of projects. The interest rate may be varied without notice by the City of Greater Geelong and may differ from the printed interest rate. However, the rate of interest established at the outset of the loan is fixed for the duration of the loan.

  • Loans shall be secured by an arrangement to the satisfaction of City of Greater Geelong.

  • In event of a dispute arising from works done with a City of Greater Geelong loan, City of Greater Geelong will not necessarily take part in any action or claim or take part in any dispute arbitration over those works.

  • For properties of regional or greater significance or for complex sites, city of Greater Geelong may require the submission of a conservation Management Plan to direct and prioritise the works (Note 6).

  • Works to rectify water penetration or structural problems, particularly where identified as a priority in a Conservation Plan, shall be considered for loan funding where they make up 25% or less of the total works proposed.

  • Where a loan applicant is carrying out the works instead of paying a tradesperson, the amount of the loan shall only cover material costs not labour. In this case only costings for material are required as part of the application for a loan.

  • In making a loan application, the applicant must satisfy City of Greater Geelong that a reasonable attempt has been make to get a number of detailed quotes and provide evidence of why one quotation is preferred.

  • Both City of Greater Geelong and Heritage Advisor retain the right to inspect the works funded by a City of Greater Geelong loan to ensure satisfactory progress and completion. Invoices are ONLY paid after the property has been inspected and works are in accordance with the loan agreement.

  • Both City of Greater Geelong and Heritage Advisor retain the right to publicise the location and type of work covered by the loan. Details of amounts of money involved, names of applicants or unsuccessful loan application details will not be published without the consent of the applicant.

  • The City of Greater Geelong may require the applicant to provide an up to date title search prior to considering an application.

Explanatory notes 

1. Range of eligible properties

A wide range of heritage places are eligible for assistance through a City of Greater Geelong loan. These include buildings, gardens, structures, public art works or monuments and cemeteries etc.

[Back to Eligibility]

2. Recognised heritage value to the community

The definition of recognised heritage value to the community shall for the purpose of these guidelines include the following:

  • Properties affected by heritage controls in planning schemes;

  • Properties identified in the Geelong Regional Historic Buildings and Objects Study;

  • Properties where City of Greater Geelong accept that the heritage significance of the property could warrant inclusion in the planning scheme upon the recommendation of the Heritage Advisor and where the applicant agrees to assessment at a future date.

Loan applications with properties listed as of State Significance in the studies should be encouraged to apply to Heritage Victoria (HV) for inclusion on the Victorian Heritage Register. They would then be eligible to apply for low interest loans and grants from HV.

Priority should be given to individually listed buildings within areas with statutory controls related to heritage. However, all listed properties are eligible for consideration.

Non-listed buildings within heritage control areas are eligible to apply but applicants must demonstrate that the proposed works would make a contribution to the heritage ara. The proposed works must be of a type, which would require planning approvals relating to heritage.

[Back to Eligibility]

3. Conservation works

Acceptable conservation works are those that meet the criteria set out in The Australian ICOMOS Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Significance (The Burra Charter). Refer to attachment 1 which is an extract from the Burra.

[Back to Criteria]

4. Works to prolong life

The types of works which are acceptable under this criterion are works to rectify water penetration or structural problems, rewiring and restumping. Refer to the Conditions section for an explanation of the percentage of total works in a loan application that can be made under this criterion.

[Back to Criteria]

5. Works providing community benefit

Works improve the quality of the streetscape or heritage area shall be regarded as providing benefits to the community. Examples include exterior painting, and construction of sympathetic features which enhance the heritage property, such as a front verandah or fence, works which increase public awareness of heritage in the region, such as the erection of interpretative signs shall be regarded as being of community benefit.

[Back to Criteria]

6. Conservation Management Plan

A Conservation Plan is a document which sets out management priorities for a site, retaining its cultural significance but addressing concerns such as use and finances. The Heritage Advisor can assist the applicant with a Conservation Management Plan.

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Page last updated: Friday, 25 February 2022