A NSW Government website

Open Spaces Program

We’re creating quality public open spaces to enhance community well-being and make our places more liveable.

Access to great public open space near where you live has never been more important.

New and improved public open spaces to swim, play, roam, ride and connect with nature are being delivered across NSW through a $50 million investment by the state government.

This investment in quality public open space infrastructure supports the delivery of a pipeline of new homes with improved neighbourhood spaces to connect, unwind, relax and play. It will also deliver jobs, stimulate businesses and encourage recreation and visitor economy.

Over 3 years, the NSW Government is delivering to high-quality open space through grant funding, pilot and demonstration projects and the creation of best practice design guidelines.


The objectives of the Open Spaces Program are to:

  • support community health and wellbeing for NSW residents
  • contribute to the post pandemic economic recovery of NSW through the creation of jobs, stimulating businesses and the recreation and visitor economy
  • support investment in the creation of high-quality public open spaces
  • address shortfalls in freely accessible public places.

Places to Swim

The Places to Swim program supports the creation and improvement of places for the community to enjoy rivers, lakes, dams and inland waterways across NSW. We work with councils and state agencies to improve access to water so that more people can get in, on and around water.

Places to Swim is about connecting people to water in the places that need it most. Getting in, on and around water is an invitation for people of all ages, abilities and cultures to come together and enjoy water.

Swimmer at Lake Parramatta. Credit: Dillon Seitchik-Reardon

Places to Play

The Places to Play program funds innovative adventure, water and nature based places for people of all ages and abilities across NSW, building on the commitment of the Everyone Can Play program.

Projects funded under this program will offer new and improved outdoor recreation opportunities and create more and better places for the community to come together, enjoy the outdoors and play.

Young boy riding a Jubes mountain bike

Places to Roam

The Places to Roam program will deliver a series of open space, greenway and community garden projects across Greater Sydney; making new great walks, more outdoor recreation, nature, open space and waterways more accessible to communities.

Couple bushwalking down a track

Applications and timing

When can I submit my application?

Applications for both the Place to Swim and Places to Play Grant Program 2022/23 have closed. Successful applications were announced in early 2023.

Applications for the Places to Roam 2022-23 grant program are closed. Successful applications were announced in December 2022. No future rounds have been announced.

How long do applicants have to start and complete a project?

Successful projects must be completed and acquitted before 1 June 2024. Community Garden projects must be delivered within 12 months of execution of the funding agreement.


How will applications be assessed?

An independent assessment panel assessed the applications using the criteria developed for each program. The assessment criteria is weighted, and following independent assessment scores are compiled, with the final stage convening the panel to discuss and agree on the successful applicants.

Applicants may be contacted during this phase to clarify aspects of their submission or request additional information.

Who is on the assessment panel?

The assessment panel will be made up of NSW Government representatives from different agencies and external planning and design experts.


What support will be provided in preparing the project proposals?

Program guidelines are available on this page that provide guidance around project eligibility, assessment criteria and other considerations that will assist you in preparing a robust proposal.

We also encourage you to look at the Public Open Space Strategy for NSW and Everyone Can Play Guidelines for further guidance on creating spaces that are inclusive.

If you have any other questions about the Places to Swim and Places to Play programs, email the team at [email protected]

If you have any other questions about the Places to Roam program, email the team at [email protected]