Linear Reserves Program
In 2022, the Trust engaged the Natural Resources Commission to evaluate the Linear Reserves Program to assess whether and to what extent, intended program outcomes were achieved and to identify lessons for future projects.
Between 2016 and 2020, the Trust funded the Linear Reserves Program (the Program) to improve the management of the conservation values of linear reserves. The Program consisted of 2 separately funded projects:
The $4.75 million Managing Travelling Stock Reserves for Sustainable Conservation Outcomes project, delivered by Local Land Services, in partnership with the former Office of Environment and Heritage (now Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water).
- The $2.08 million Council Roadside Reserves project, delivered by Local Government NSW.
The evaluation found that both projects have made a positive contribution to larger and longer-term efforts to enhance the management of linear reserves.
The evaluation also provided recommendations to consider when undertaking similar programs in the future, such as the need to manage risks from high staff turnover along with integrating a more strategic focus into site assessments and future planning beyond the life of the project.
A copy of the evaluation report can be found below, along with responses from the Trust, Local Land Services and Local Government NSW.
Protection of koalas in Murrah Flora Reserves
In 2021, the Trust engaged the Natural Resources Commission to evaluate the Forestry Corporation of New South Wales’ project Protection of koalas in Murrah Flora Reserves. Between 2016 and 2019, the Trust provided $2,503,546 to the Forestry Corporation of New South Wales to secure long-term protection of native flora, important koala habitat and Aboriginal cultural heritage within 3 state forests on the NSW far south coast. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service were a key project partner.
The evaluation found that the project delivered the expected outcomes, and no recommendations were made to Forestry Corporation of New South Wales. However, certain risks have been identified, and recommendations made to manage these risks for similar Trust investments.
A copy of the evaluation report can be found below, along with a joint response from the Trust administration and National Parks and Wildlife Service. Forestry Corporation of New South Wales was satisfied with the evaluation report and is not required to respond to the recommendations.
Research Review and Recommendations for Management of Bell-Miner Associated Dieback in New South Wales
In 2018, the Trust engaged Gingra Ecological Surveys to evaluate the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water’s project Research Review and Recommendations for Effective, Whole of Government Management of Bell-Miner Associated Dieback (BMAD) in New South Wales. Between 2016 and 2017, the Trust provided $105,000 to the department to conduct a systematic review of scientific knowledge on Bell-Miner Associated Dieback, increasing understanding of its scale, effects and management strategies for intervention.
The evaluation found that the project was effective in furthering the science surrounding Bell-Miner Associated Dieback and identified issues that may affect future work on the topic.
A copy of the evaluation report can be found below, along with the response from the Trust and the department.
Treated Timber Initiative
The Trust engaged Aegis to evaluate the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) Treated Timber Initiative project. Between 2014 and 2016, the Trust provided $330,000 to the EPA to fund a community awareness campaign about the risks, appropriate use, management and disposal of timber treated with Copper Chrome Arsenate (CCA).
The evaluation found that the program experienced a range of risks which reduced its capacity to effectively and efficiently achieve its intended outputs and outcomes.
Read a copy of the evaluation report, along with the response from the Trust and EPA.
Green Corridors: Linking Landscapes
In 2017/2018, the Trust engaged the Natural Resources Commission to evaluate the former Office of Environment and Heritage’s (OEH) Linking Landscapes through Local Action Program, which was part of the $40 million Green Corridors Program. The Trust provided OEH with a $10,170,680 million grant over four years between 2012-2016.
Overall, the evaluation found the Program demonstrated the potential long-term effectiveness of BioBanking for achieving conservation outcomes on council-owned reserves. However, it also raised some concerns around cost-effectiveness and non-delivery of key outcomes.
The evaluation report and responses from the Trust and OEH are available on the NRC website.
Roadside Vegetation Implementation Project
The Trust engaged the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to undertake an evaluation of Stages 1 and 2 of the Roadside Vegetation Implementation Project. The Trust provided approximately $2.35 million in funding in 2 stages between 2011 and 2014. The evaluation assessed the appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency of the project. We have accepted, wholly or partially, all the recommendations.
The NRC also provided advice on investment priorities for a possible third stage of the project. The reports and our response are available on the NRC website.
Contaminated Land Management Evaluation
The NRC evaluated the NSW Environment Protection Authority's (EPA's) Contaminated Land Management (CLM) Program. The Trust has provided $13.1 million in funding to the program since 2001. In May 2017, the NRC found a demonstrable need for funding for CLM, but recommended that the Trust re-evaluate if and how it should continue to invest in CLM. The report and responses from the Trust and EPA are available on the NRC website.
Land Acquisition Program Evaluation
Since 2000, the Trust has provided $91.5 million to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to purchase private land for management under the national parks estate in perpetuity, meeting object 7(d) under the Environmental Trust Act 1998.
Guided by a rolling 5-year Business Plan, the program aims to protect various habitats, flora, fauna and places of cultural importance through the purchase of high conservation value land, ensuring the connectivity of fragmented reserves, meeting state and federal conservation goals.
An independent evaluation was undertaken by Aegis to ascertain whether the program was meeting intended outcomes and deliverables and to identify any risks to the program.
The evaluation undertaken by Aegis found that the project objectives were achieved. It also recommended that the Trust continue to fund the program as the mechanism to fulfil its statutory object and that NPWS continue to manage the program following the Reserve Establishment Guidelines.
The evaluations also recommended the Trust consider increasing funding to reflect the estimated average annual increases in NSW rural land prices and for funding to be more consistent with the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.
As recommended, the Trust has continued the program and increased annual funding to $10 million for the next 4 years. Key priority acquisition themes are protecting koala habitat, connectivity conservation and efficient management of parks.
The report is available on the Aegis website (PDF 702KB) and you can download the response from National Parks and Wildlife Service: National Parks and Wildlife Service response to AEGIS Consulting Group evaluation of the land acquisition program.
Sustainability Programs Evaluation
Since 2013, the Trust has provided $12 million over 3 years to the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water to fund a Sustainability Program. The program aimed to increase the capacity of business, NSW Government, Local Government, consumers and communities to contribute to the 2 core program goals: removing market barriers to resources efficiency and clean energy and; strengthening location based environmental management and resilience to climate change.
In December 2015, the Trust approved the transfer of funding for the program to the department as the program was more aligned to its core business.
A mid-term independent evaluation was conducted in September 2016. The evaluation undertaken by Aegis found that ambiguity in the objectives posed risks to the project. It was recommended the program refine objectives, target mid- and long-term outcomes, undertake regular performance reviews, and increase consistency with recommendations from the Productivity Commission on government service delivery.
You can download the evaluation report: Mid-Term Evaluation of the Sustainability Program.