Major projects

The NSW Environmental Trust funds projects that tackle large or complex issues. Major projects are identified and designed through consultation with key stakeholders.

About the program

Projects funded under the Environmental Trust's major projects funding stream are designed to tackle large-scale and/or complex issues. The Trust identifies and designs these projects through consultation with key stakeholders. 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.

There are 3 major projects funding streams as below:

Ongoing major projects

These projects are ones that the Trust has historically funded on an 'ongoing' basis for an extended period. They generally address priority environmental issues identified by the Trust as being worthy of continuous funding as they remain an unfunded priority issue or relate directly to the Trust's statutory objects. The need for ongoing funding for these projects is reviewed on a regular basis and are subject to Trust requirements to provide new business plans for approval.

More information on this funding stream

Strategic major projects

These projects represent the Trust's 'proactive' projects. Under this category, the Trust funds multi-year projects, based on the Trust's agreed priorities. Funding is guided by a biennial major projects prospectus.

More information on this funding stream

New government priorities

From time to time, the Trust has been asked to fund new priorities of government. These are generally high priority issues that address point-in-time environmental issues or complement new policy or legislative frameworks.

More information on this funding stream

Planning and reporting

Major Projects staff will provide you with the necessary planning and reporting documents.

Acknowledgement requirement

You must prominently acknowledge the Trust’s assistance in all publications and promotional material relating to the project by using the following statement:

This project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust.

You also need to use the New South Wales Government logo. See Funding acknowledgement and logos for details.

Program achievements

Learn about current major projects from the NSW Environmental Trust Annual Report.


Consistent with what we ask of grant recipients, the Trust regularly undertakes independent evaluations of its programs and projects. This helps us assess how well intended outcomes are met and how programs and projects could be improved in the future. These evaluations may also help to inform new funding programs.

Treated Timber Initiative 

The Trust engaged Ageis 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 Planning and Environment 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.