Environmental Trust - Contaminated land management


Advice provided

Advice date:

May 2017


It is estimated that in NSW the cost for addressing all notified contaminated sites is between $100 million and $200 million per year. The Environmental Trust has been funding a contaminated land management program in some form since 2001. Most recently, the Trust provided $12 million over six years to investigate and remediate specific types of contaminated sites.

The Trust asked the Commission to evaluate the most recent six-year period of the program, which was delivered under two business plans. Our evaluation considered how the program was delivered against these plans, as well as how the program strategically aligns with Trust objectives and principles, and fits within the broader contaminated land context.

In May 2017, we provided a final report to the Trust.

We found that some positive outcomes have been achieved, such as providing “seed funding” to respond to large urgent contamination issues.

However in its current form, the program is not fully consistent with the Trust’s policies or the principles of good practice, and is not the most effective use of Trust funds. We recommended that the Trust re-evaluate if, and how, it should invest in contaminated land management.

Further, any future programs should be redesigned to better target funds to areas that are more likely to achieve desired outcomes and to better align the program design, governance and administration with good practice.

We made further recommendations to improve program delivery and design, including: administrative and financial oversight; improving risk-based program design; clarity of program logic; monitoring and reporting requirements and adaptive management; and governance arrangements.

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