The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment administers the NSW Environmental Trust, an independent statutory body created by the Environmental Trust Act 1998. The Trust awards grants for environmental projects and supervises how they are used.
The Trust is chaired by the NSW Minister for the Environment and its members are the Chief Executive of the department and representatives of local government, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW and NSW Treasury.
The objects of the NSW Environmental Trust are:
- encourage and support restoration and rehabilitation projects in both the public and private sectors that will, or are likely to, prevent or reduce pollution, the waste stream or environmental degradation, of any kind, within any part of NSW
- promote research in both the public and private sectors into environmental problems of any kind and, in particular, to encourage and support:
- research into and development of local solutions to environmental problems
- discovery of new methods of operation for NSW industries that are less harmful to the environment
- research into general environmental problems
- assessment of environmental degradation
- promote environmental education and, in particular, to encourage the development of educational programs in both the public and private sectors that will increase public awareness of environmental issues of any kind
- fund the acquisition of land for national parks and other categories of dedicated and reserved land for the national parks estate
- fund the declaration of areas for marine parks and related purposes
- promote waste avoidance, resource recovery and waste management (including funding enforcement and regulation, and local government programs)
- fund environmental community groups
- fund the purchase of water entitlements for the purposes of increasing environmental flows for the state's rivers, and restoring or rehabilitating major wetlands.
The Environmental Trust also reimburses NSW Treasury for approved forestry restructuring payments under the Forestry Restructuring and Nature Conservation Act 1995.
The Annual Report provides information to Parliament and the public on the activities, performance and finances of the NSW Environmental Trust, as required by the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 and the Annual Reports (Statutory Bodies) Act 1984.