Environmental Trust - Roadside vegetation implementation project


Advice provided

Advice date:

December 2014


The Environmental Trust provided approximately $2.35 million of funding for the Roadside Vegetation Implementation Project, completed in two stages between 2011 and 2014. The Trust requested the Commission undertake an independent evaluation of the project to understand the appropriateness, cost effectiveness and results achieved from the first two stages of the project.

In December 2014, we provided a final report to the Trust.

Overall, we found that the project was successful in delivering local on-ground projects and we observed examples of capacity building within local governments. While it is too early to fully assess environmental outcomes, visits to 11 project sites indicated the on-ground activities are likely to lead to environmental improvements. Even with limited reporting, the majority of on-ground projects delivered proposed outputs, with many exceeding them.

However, rapid development of the project led to limitations in the project design, governance and administration, including a lack of project logic and limited knowledge sharing. Reporting was insufficient to provide an accurate assessment of cost-effectiveness, and the long-term sustainability of outcomes is uncertain.

Administration of the project was devolved to Local Government NSW. There was lack of clarity between Local Government NSW and the Trust regarding the roles and responsibilities, particularly in regards to knowledge sharing and capacity building.

The experiences from the first two stages of funding provided insights to inform future investment in roadside vegetation by the Trust. In particular, future projects need clear, achievable objectives that match the size of the project, sound project logic, investments coordinated at a regional scale for an appropriate time period, and clarity around expectations of delivery partners.

We recommended revising the project design, strengthening project delivery and updating governance and administrative arrangements.

In July 2015, the Trust provided a response to our report and accepted most of the recommendations.

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