Environmental Trust prospectus

The Trust is seeking input from experts and stakeholders to help develop a new prospectus to guide investment in environmental projects.

The prospectus

Today's environmental challenges are significant, complex and rapidly changing. At the NSW Environmental Trust, it's our job to engage with the latest expertise, understand the needs of stakeholders and support informed decision-making for investment in our environmental future.

Which is why – every 2 years – the Trust produces a plan detailing proposed projects that address serious and significant environmental issues affecting New South Wales. Known as the prospectus, the goal is to maximise environmental outcomes in New South Wales by investing in projects that are high priority, cost-effective, collaborative, and designed by experts.

Current status

We are in the process of developing Prospectus 2021.

In August 2020, the Trust began Stage 1 by asking stakeholders via an online survey what they consider are the most significant environmental issues affecting New South Wales. We received an overwhelming response to the survey with 1275 stakeholders participating. The results have been analysed and a survey report has now been produced which contains the key findings.

We are anticipating Stage 2 will commence in early 2021 once the Trust board has considered the survey findings and determined which issues will be scoped further. In-depth consultation will continue to occur throughout the prospectus process, in each of the distinct stages throughout 2021.

The stages

We have developed the prospectus through an evidence-based, stakeholder-led process delivered in three stages. Each stage provides robust information to enable the Trust board to make decisions. The board's decisions then guide the next stage's development and the approval of the final prospectus.

Stage 1 identifies and prioritises issues to be included for consideration in the prospectus. A broad base of stakeholders is consulted on current and emerging environmental issues and gaps – all within the context of the Trust Objects and the Trust's recently released Strategic Plan 2020-24.

Information is gathered through an online survey which aims to capture a diverse range of stakeholders' views. Independent social researchers are engaged to design, distribute and analyse the survey results.

A summary of issues from the survey is presented to the Trust's board for discussion. The board then selects a subset of issues to scope further in Stage 2 guided by Trust strategic priorities.

During Stage 2 the selected issues are developed into concept proposals with key stakeholders through focus groups. Subject matter experts are engaged to develop these proposals. Project concepts are then analysed according to cost-effectiveness and funding selection criteria.

Concept proposals are presented to the Trust board for consideration and approval. The board selects those that will undergo detailed business planning in Stage 3.

In Stage 3, the approved project concepts are developed into detailed business plans. Trust administration co-design these plans with stakeholders and experts. Each plan is fully costed. Business plans are reviewed by independent technical subcommittees to ensure they are fit for purpose and represent value-for-money for the people of New South Wales.

A draft prospectus of completed business plans is then finalised and presented to the Trust board for consideration. The board determines which projects will be funded from the prospectus ensuring alignment with our strategic priorities. Successful projects are announced by the Minister.

The 2018-2020 prospectus

Seven projects worth more than $36 million were addressed in the previous prospectus. These projects included invasive species impacting on biodiversity, such as feral deer, cats and hawkweed, and also addressed knowledge gaps for issues including tree dieback, coastal rivers and wetland health, and seed diversity for ecological restoration.