Protecting our Places grants

The Protecting our Places program is currently closed. The program will open again in 2018.

The Protecting Our Places Program is a contestable grants program for Aboriginal community groups and organisations, seeking to achieve long-term beneficial outcomes for the NSW environment.

Funded by the NSW Environmental Trust, the program encourages and empowers Aboriginal communities to protect, conserve and restore cultural landscapes and waterways that are of importance to local Aboriginal communities.

Aim of the program

The aim of the Protecting Our Places Program is to empower and provide opportunities for Aboriginal organisations to undertake projects that contribute to both ongoing sustainable management of significant Aboriginal cultural landscapes in NSW, and to healthier environments and communities. Through these projects, we aim to develop the project management capabilities of Aboriginal groups and encourage new collaborations and positive relationships with other organisations, government and stakeholders.


The objectives of the Protecting Our Places Program are:

  • To facilitate the sharing and protection of Cultural knowledge with and between Aboriginal groups, government and public stakeholders, to contribute to the improvement and the management of environmental and cultural resources on country.
  • To increase the amount of culturally significant Aboriginal Land protected, restored, enhanced and managed by local Aboriginal groups, land managers and stakeholders and support connection to country.
  • The Protecting our Places program is an appropriate, effective and sustainable mechanism to deliver Government policy, priorities and outcomes.


Grants of up to $65,000 are available over two stages:

  • Stage 1: Planning – up to $10,000 (plus $5000 for capacity building)
  • Stage 2: Implementation – up to $50,000

Eligible applicants

The following NSW Aboriginal community organisations/groups can apply:

  1. NSW Legislated organisations
    • NSW Local Aboriginal Land Councils (NSW Land Right Act 1983)
    • NSW Registered Native Title groups (NSW Native Title Act 1994)
  2. NSW Registered Incorporated/Corporate organisations
    • NSW Aboriginal incorporated community organisation (CATSI Act 2006)
    • NSW Registered incorporated non-profit group (CATSI Act 2006)
  3. Unincorporated aboriginal organisations and groups supported by administrators.

Changes to the program

The Trust has redesigned the Protecting Our Places Program in line with the recommendations of the recent program evaluation. Other than changes to the program objectives, outcomes and eligible organisations, the following changes have also been made to the program:

1. Available Project grant funding

  • The new funding model offers grants of up to $65,000
  • Specific funding limits for each stage of the project
  • $5000 is specifically set aside for organisational capacity building and mentoring support
  • $1000 of approved grant funds will be quarantined within the project budget to cover the cost of independent financial auditing.

2. Project timeframes

  • Fully implemented project will now last 3 years
  • Project implementation will be a two-stage process divided into:
    • Stage 1: Planning – 6 to 12 months in duration
    • Stage 2: Implementation – 18 to 24 months in duration.

3. Grantee support and capacity building

The new program seeks to provide opportunities for grantees to build the capacity of their organisation, staff and members and to improve their ability to manage their project. Support mechanisms (e.g. capacity building and mentoring) will occur during the Stage 1 – Planning phase.

Answers to some Frequently Asked Questions relating to the redesigned Protecting Our Places Grants Program is available.

Forms and guidelines

The Protecting our Places program is closed to applications. The forms and documents below are for reference and information only.

 StageOpening dateClosing dateForms
Application (one-stage process)
Closed Closed

2017 Program Guide

(PDF 977KB)

2017 Application Form

(PDF 629KB)


2017 How to Complete your Application Form

(PDF 934KB)

Past recipents

The last round of the program was run in 2014. A total of 48 applications were received requesting $1,501,144. The Environmental Trust awarded 18 projects totalling $586,065.

Program evaluation

In line with the Trust’s policy of independent evaluations of all of its contestable grant programs, the Protecting our Places (POP) program was the focus of an independent evaluation in late 2015.

The evaluation was undertaken by Inca Consulting who have extensive experience in evaluating government initiatives across a variety of sectors, and more importantly, strong credentials in evaluating programs aimed at Aboriginal people and working with Aboriginal communities across NSW. The evaluation focussed on the delivery of the program, and projects funded by it, between 2009 and 2014.

The evaluation Final Report (and its recommendations) was considered and accepted by the Trust in March 2016. An Administrative Response was also developed to address the issues raised in the evaluation. This includes suggested changes to the funding model for the POP program to align it with the recommended approach.  These reports have been made available through the links below.

Additional resources and information

In addition to the Program Guidelines and How to Complete your Application Form documents provided above, further information that may be helpful in preparing a Protecting Our Places project application is available and also under the Additional Resources section within the Trust’s Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting page.

For information on all previous grants awarded please select the relevant program from the side navigation menu.

Environmental Trust
PO Box 644, Parramatta 2124
Phone:   02 8837 6093

Page last updated: 18 September 2017