Protecting Our Places Grants Program: Frequently Asked Questions

Program overview

Q: What is the Protecting Our Places program?

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

The program encourages and empowers Aboriginal communities to protect, conserve and restore cultural landscapes and waterways that are of importance to local Aboriginal communities.

Applications close 3pm Monday 4 September 2017.

Q: What is the Protecting Our Places program attempting to achieve?

  • Encourage strong participation in the management and caring of country.
  • Create opportunities for communities to take part in on-ground environmental projects.
  • Develop and maintain partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations, stakeholders and governments.
  • Build capacity to enhance and support Aboriginal organisations and communities undertaking ecologically sustainable activities.
  • Recognise, promote and raise awareness of cultural land management practices and the use of cultural resources.
  • Management of Aboriginal land in a way that both enhances and protects environmental and cultural values.
  • Encouraging private and public land managers to work with Aboriginal people and their communities to improve management and protection of, cultural objects and resources, places of importance and lands of significance.

Eligibility and scope

Q: Who can apply?

The following NSW Aboriginal community organisations/groups can apply:

  • local Aboriginal Land Councils
  • registered Native Title groups
  • Aboriginal incorporated community organisation
  • registered incorporated non-profit group.

If you are an unincorporated Aboriginal organisation, or an organisation that does not have the capacity or resources to manage the financial aspects of the project, you may still apply as the lead applicant (grantee). However, you must be supported by another incorporated organisation (as the project administrator).

Q: What is a project administrator and what do they do?

A project administrator is another organisation that can help out with the management of your grant, if needed. The administrator must be an incorporated or registered organisation, and they are responsible for overseeing the financial management of your grant.

The Grant Agreement (or contract) between the grantee and the Trust is signed by the administrator on the behalf of the grantee, and all grant payments are made to the administrator. The administrator is responsible for preparing all financial reports and payments related to the project on the grantee's behalf.

The grantee is responsible for actually implementing the project.

Q: Who can not apply?

The Trust will not fund the following organisations:

  • non-Aboriginal groups or organisations
  • individuals
  • industry joint ventures
  • profit-distributing corporations (limited by shares).

If you unsure whether your organisation is eligible to apply, please contact the Trust on 02 8837 6093 or

Q: Can we apply if our organisation already has an active Protecting Our Places grant?

Yes. All applications will be assessed on their merit. However, previous grantee performance will be taken into consideration by the Technical Review Committee when recommending successful projects for funding. An organisation/group's past performance record may also be considered when determining additional conditions for inclusion in the grant agreement.

Project funding

Q: How much funding can we apply for?

The Protecting Our Places program is offering grants of up to $65,000 over 3 years.

Q: What is the funding structure of the program?

The program has a multi-stage funding model where project activities are divided into 2 separate stages:

Stage 1: Planning

  • This stage will last for 6 to 12 months and focus on the planning elements of the project.
  • Maximum funding of $15,000, with up to $5000 set aside for organisational capacity building, and a maximum of $10,000 for project planning activities.

Stage 2: Implementation

  • The implementation stage of the project will be delivered over 18 to 24 months.
  • Maximum project funding of $50,000 to implement and complete all on-ground works.
  • This includes $1000 for an independent project financial audit.

More information is available on page 7 of the Protecting our Places Program 2017: 2017–18 Program Guidelines (PDF 977KB).

Q: Do we need to contribute matching funding?

No. However, while there are no requirements for matching funds, co-contributions by applicants and their project partners will improve your chances of success.

There are two types of co-contributions:

  1. Financial – actual cash contributions by the applicant and/or project partners towards the costs of delivering the project.
  2. In-kind – The donation of goods or services, time or expertise, rather than cash. This includes goods, use of services and facilities, professional services or expertise in the form of staff time, provision of or access to equipment, and/or special materials.

Q: What type of activities will be funded?

The Protecting our Places guidelines provide a clear outline of the type of activities that are eligible for funding.

It is important to remember that different activities are eligible in Stage 1 and Stage 2.

  • Stage 1 – activities that relate to the planning and preparation of your project.
  • Stage 2 – activities that implement the on-ground elements of the project.

Support and collaboration

Q: What support is available?

Support mechanisms will be available to assist grantee and project partners during the project.

Capacity Building (Stage 1: Planning)

  • assessment of organisational capacity, training and/or support requirements
  • development of a capacity building training plan
  • identifying training providers (e.g. TAFE, Certified training providers etc.)
  • implementation of the training plan using up to $5,000 in specific funding.

Trust Support (throughout life of project)

  • assistance to prepare project plans (inclusive of the monitoring and evaluation items)
  • recurring project management support and advice over the life of the project.

Q: Who can be involved in our project?

All projects must be led by an Aboriginal organisation, however all applicants are encouraged to consider partnering with other relevant stakeholders. These include other Aboriginal groups, the local council, state agencies (eg. Local Land Services, Office of Environment and Heritage, Department of Primary Industries), non-governmental organisations (NGO), local community groups, universities, private businesses, and landholders.

Including other partners in your project brings in additional expertise and resources, and increases the likelihood of long term success. It is important that all project partners have a demonstrated role in the project delivery and are not just included in name only. Roles and responsibilities will identified and agreed to within a formal agreement developed as part of your Stage 1: Planning activities.

For more information on Partnerships please refer to page 14 of the Protecting our Places Program 2017: 2017–18 Program Guidelines (PDF 977KB).

Q: If we cannot find any project partners, can our organisation/group still apply for a grant by ourselves?

Yes. If your group/organisation is an eligible applicant, you intend to implement eligible activities and your organisation can manage the financial and reporting aspects of the project, then you can apply without any project partners. Partnerships are strongly encouraged.

Assessment process

Q: How will our application be assessed?

Selection for Environmental Trust grants is a state wide, merit-based process. All projects will be assessed against specific program assessment criteria. This will be undertaken during both phases of project funding: Stage 1: Planning activities and Stage 2: Implementation.

For more information, please refer to the flow chart on page 15 of the Protecting our Places Program 2017: 2017–18 Program Guidelines (PDF 977KB).

Q: Who will assess my application?

An independent Technical Review Committee (TRC) consisting community, industry and government representative will assess all applications. The majority of the TRC members are Aboriginal.

Q: What will the technical review committee be looking for?

The TRC will assess all eligible applications against the assessment criteria set out on page 16 (Stage 1: Planning) and page 17 (Stage 2: Implementation) of the Protecting our Places Program 2017: 2017–18 Program Guidelines (PDF 977KB).

Prior to submitting your application, its recommended that you review it to determine whether you have adequately answered the following questions:

  1. what is the environmental outcome you seek to achieve?
  2. what are the types of activities you intend to implement and your expected project outcomes?
  3. what is the planning processes you intend to implement and how you intend to monitor both implementation and identified risks?
  4. have you described the experience, commitment and capacity of your group/organisation or partners (if any) to deliver a successful project?
  5. does your project represents good value for money (i.e. acceptable expenditure to achieve a realistic environmental benefit within your cultural landscape)?

Important Note: Progression from Stage 1: Planning to Stage 2: Implementation is not guaranteed. At the end of Stage 1, each project will be individually assessed against the Stage 2 assessment criteria to determine whether it is suitable to progress.

Applications close 3pm Monday 4 September 2017.

Do you need more information?

Please contact the NSW Environment Trust:

Telephone: 02 8837 6093
Contact: Des Madden, Aboriginal Programs Officer

Page last updated: 30 June 2017