A NSW Government website

Greening our City grant 2022


The 2022 round of grant funding awarded more than $9.9 million in grant funding to 21 projects in 17 councils across Greater Sydney.


As a result, Greater Sydney will have over 17,000 newly planted trees to boost urban tree canopy where there is low canopy coverage. This round will also plant over 35,000 m2 of green cover.

The grant funding will help address canopy deficits by planting trees in suburbs with low canopy cover and increased exposure to heat. Planting more trees to enhance tree canopy will provide vital shade that reduces ambient temperatures for local communities and help mitigate the urban heat-island effect.

Importantly, the funding provides councils the support to plant trees and ensures a successful establishment period of 12-months. Councils then continue to care for the trees as part of their routine maintenance programs.

Successful grant recipients

Read more on the successful grant recipients and projects funded by the grant.
People sitting at the park. No image credit.

Grant guidelines and supporting information

Program guidelines

The guidelines provide further details about eligibility and the assessment process.

Data to inform applications and assessment

Data about urban canopy cover (2019) and urban heat (2016) are available to view on the NSW Government’s SEED portal. These datasets and the below summary of suburb level data may assist in the preparation of grant applications and will be used in the assessment process as part of the merit assessment. High merit projects in suburbs with lower canopy levels will be prioritised for project funding.

Water efficiency report

A water efficiency study was commissioned to provide guidance for councils to support responsible tree planting. Applicants are encouraged to draw on this study as part of their application.

Frequently asked questions

Is it possible to use grant funds for contractors to manage projects?

Grant funds may be spent on contractors to undertake any part of the project. However, grant funds cannot be allocated to staff costs paid through councils’ salary or wages payroll systems, even if they are employed on a ‘contract’.

Councils are responsible for overarching grant project management including reporting, and communication with Local Government NSW (LGNSW) and/or the department will be through council. Councils are encouraged to estimate the value of staff time working on grant projects and include that as ‘in-kind’ in grant application budgets.

Can grant funds be utilised for internal staff costs associated with the planting of trees?

No. Grant funding cannot be used for internal staff costs, including the planting of trees.


Is there a tree to green cover ratio or do they just need to be combined?

There are no required ratios of green cover to trees, as all sites are different. However, the focus of the program is on tree planting and therefore this should be central to the proposal. Grant assessors consider all information provided in applications. Applicants are encouraged to include detailed rationale for proposed plantings.

Are green walls eligible for grant funding? What if trees are planted around the periphery of the building as well?

Green cover, including on walls, is not ineligible for grant funding, however, projects should be designed primarily around tree planting. Applications to fund green cover costs should be in addition to central tree planting components. Councils may consider covering or contributing to the costs associated with a green wall as their contribution to the overall project. For all applications, including those with green walls, council must be satisfied the proposal meets all relevant building codes and has the necessary approvals.

Is contractor maintenance eligible for grant funding, and can the maintenance period be greater than 12 months?

The maintenance of the trees and green cover by a contractor is not ineligible for grant funding where it occurs within the funded project period (24 months).

Regardless of whether contractor maintenance occurs as part of the project, councils will be required to commit to a 12-month establishment period to commence following project acquittal where all grant funding has been accounted for.

Can grant funds be used for a consultant to manage engagement for council?

Yes, grant funds can be used for consultants to undertake community engagement. Applicants are advised to keep the program’s focus on tree planting in mind, when designing projects and proposing budgets.

What are some examples of partnerships in previous rounds?

Partnerships are encouraged in the program objectives. Projects funded in previous rounds have included other State and federal funding agencies, universities, utility providers, other councils, regional organisations of councils and the private sector. Lists of previously funded projects can be downloaded on the LGNSW website and viewed on a map on the Social Pinpoint website.

Can an application be linked to another grant if the other grant isn’t confirmed yet?

Applications for projects connected with other unconfirmed funding may be submitted. This situation and any dependencies should be clearly identified in the application. Grant assessors could recommend grant funding be contingent upon other funding sources being confirmed. Please ensure your application includes up-to-date information and submit it before the 21 November 2022 closing time.

Can applications include costs for more complex plantings where concrete cutting, traffic blisters etc. are required to get trees into areas where there is no verge such as in confined space etc?

Yes, funding for all those items may be included in an application and fall under site preparation.

Is it worthwhile applying for the grant if my LGA already has high canopy cover?

Yes. The aim of the program is to increase tree canopy cover across the whole of Greater Sydney. While areas with low tree canopy cover are prioritised, areas with high canopy cover are still considered.

Is there an opportunity to use grant funding for aerial bundled cabling, co-funded by an electricity provider?

The program is primarily a tree planting program. For an application including costs for aerial bundled cabling, it is recommended that the application shows tree planting as central components, and that any costs for aerial bundled cabling are demonstrated as necessary for viable tree planting and improved urban greening outcomes. Applicants may decide to include aerial cable bundling costs as cash contributions to an application.

Is tree removal due to senescence eligible for grant funding?

The program is primarily a tree planting program. Grant assessors may consider tree removal costs eligible as part of site preparation, however, the focus for grant funds is on tree planting. Budgets will be closely examined by assessors to ensure value for money. Councils may wish to include tree removal costs as a cash contribution.

Will there be consideration that tree stock may be limited, and costs may increase due to the large investment from DPE?

Councils are encouraged to build contingencies into budgets to cover any unexpected price increases and to plan projects in such a way as to mitigate price increases, as much as possible.

Increases in stock price will be considered during the evaluation of the grant program. With the program running over a number of years, is there a mechanism by which lead times can be extended to allow councils to order and purchase stock?

This round allows projects up to 24 months in duration. This is in response to feedback received on previous rounds. Councils are encouraged to make improvement suggestions as part of grant reporting, as well as directly to Local Government NSW, email [email protected] and the department, email [email protected]

Are there restrictions on tree species and are exotic species eligible?

Projects cannot plant weed or invasive species. Councils are encouraged to check both council and neighbouring councils’ weeds lists. Exotic species are eligible.

Projects should consider ‘the right tree in the right place’ when designing projects. Councils are encouraged to provide reasons for species selection in applications. Councils are encouraged to refer to resources such as Which Plant Where, Gardening Responsibly and Woody Meadows when choosing species.

Can council plant on land owned by others, such as State-owned land?

The grant guidelines say eligible projects include “tree and green cover planting on council-owned or council-managed land”. For council-managed land, supporting material, such as planning documents, copies of correspondence, etc may be included which show there are not any landowner intentions that may negatively impact grant-funded trees in the future.

If there is doubt about the longer-term security of land on which trees are proposed for planting or are unable to include land-owner confirmations of that security, council may wish to exclude that land from the grant application. Alternatively, council may wish to make a separate grant application to plant on land that is not under council’s longer-term control. That way any doubt about less secure land may not disadvantage council’s other applications to plant on more secure land.

Is there a minimum canopy height required for a tree?

The grant guidelines provide the following definition of a tree: ‘For the Greening our City program, a tree is a tall, long-lived, woody plant that casts shade and provides a cooling effect.’ No minimum height is included in the definition.

Is there a minimum or maximum size required for a tree to be when planted, i.e. 45L or 300L?

No, this is left to councils to determine what’s appropriate. Council may wish to check tree stock availability particularly for the larger trees.

Are councils best to include all projects (or planting locations) in the one application, or submit multiple submissions for each project (or planting locations)?

If the projects have the same objectives, councils are encouraged to include them in one application, however, there is nothing preventing multiple applications from the same council.

Are site surveys to identify optimal street tree planting locations eligible for grant funding?

Proposed planting suburbs must be identified in the application. Any additional work required to identify exact planting locations within these suburbs may be funded through the program.

Can grant funding be used to plant green cover beneath or surrounding trees planted in previous Greening our City rounds?

Green cover is eligible as part of a project where tree planting is the central component of the project. Should council wish to provide green cover in areas where tree planting is not proposed, this should be clearly identified in their proposal for consideration by the assessment panel.

More information

This grant round is being administered by Local Government NSW on behalf of the department. For enquiries or more information, contact the team at [email protected]