Environmental Trust - Major Projects program


Advice provided

Advice date:

July 2019


The Environmental Trust’s Major Projects Program (the program) is one of the NSW Government’s largest environmental funding programs. At the time of evaluation (December 2018), active projects were valued at over $255 million.

In line with good governance, the Trust engaged the Commission to review the program to ensure its decision making processes are sound, fit for purpose and maximise public value from the Trust’s investment.

In July 2019, we provided a final report to the Trust.

We found the Trust has established sound processes to govern the program and there is ample evidence of robust program design and oversight. However, there were opportunities to improve the program's strategic governance in order to better achieve the objectives. In particular, the program does not have a documented logic or strategy to guide its investment. In the absence of a strategy, it is difficult to determine if the priority issues identified in their prospectus process are meeting the program’s investment objectives.

Although Trust’s engagement with participants and sub-committee members was highly valued, there was evidence to indicate insufficient resources to manage the program, with Trust staff experiencing high workloads due to increase in projects to manage.

There was clear evidence of funding priorities, eligibility criteria and merit assessment to support project selection for each funding stream. However, this guidance was not published or easily accessible to stakeholders or grantees to inform their business cases.

We found that the general design of the strategic (formerly sunset) projects, ongoing projects and new government priorities funding streams were sound and should continue to be funded.

We recommended the Trust postpone undertaking an extensive consultation for the 2020 Prospectus process until the program strategy is developed and the funding stream priorities are clarified.

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