A NSW Government website

Open space

Open Spaces Program

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

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

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

This investment in quality open spaces in communities across the state 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 three years, the NSW Government is delivering on this commitment to high quality open space through the provision of grant funding, pilot and demonstration projects and the creation of best practice design guidelines.  This will contribute significantly to the NSW Government’s Premiers Priorities  to increase the proportion of homes in urban areas within 10 minutes’ walk of quality green, open and public space by 10% by 2023, and planting 1 million trees across greater Sydney by tree planting by 2022.

What are the program objectives?

The objectives of the Open Space 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 and open spaces to create a lasting community benefit
  • address critical shortfalls in freely accessible public places
  • contribute to the delivery of the NSW Government priority for Greener Public Spaces by increasing the proportion of homes in urban areas within 10 minutes’ walk of quality green, open and public space by 10% by 2023.
Kayaking, Nepean River. Credit: Destination NSW
Kayaking on the Nepean River

Places to Swim

The Places to Swim program will support the creation of places for the community to enjoy Sydney’s rivers, lakes and harbour. We will be working with councils and eligible state agencies to improve access to water for swimming and other passive recreation, such as kayaking and paddle boarding.

For more information, view the Places to Swim guidelines.

Learn more

People walking in park with boy on scooter
Sydney Park

Places to Play

The Places to Play program builds on the commitment that Everyone Can Play. Play projects funded under this program will be expanded to promote adventure play (such as skate parks, pump tracks and mountain biking), water and nature-based play and will offer new outdoor recreation opportunities for all ages and abilities in NSW. These projects will create more and better places for the community to come together, enjoy the outdoors and play.

Learn more

Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk, Palm Beach
Barrenjoey Lighthouse Walk, Palm Beach

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.

Learn more

Applications and timing

When can I submit my application?

Applications for the 2021-22 grant program closed on 4 March 2022. Please keep an eye on this page for 2022-23 grant program announcements

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

Councils and eligible state agencies will have 18 months to start and complete their projects once funding agreements have been executed. Community Garden projects must be delivered within 12 months of execution of the funding agreement.

Assessment

What are the assessment criteria?

How will applications be assessed?

An independent assessment panel will assess the projects using the criteria developed for each program. The assessment criteria will be weighted and following independent assessment, scores will be compiled, and the panel will convene 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 will include external planning and design experts.

Support

What support will be provided in preparing the project proposals?

Program guidelines and fact sheets 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.

Our team will also be available to discuss your project options and provide any advice or assistance you might require.

We also encourage you to look at the NSW Draft Public Spaces Charter (PDF, 8748.13 KB) and Everyone Can Play Guidelines for further guidance around what quality public and open space looks like.

Watch the Open Spaces program Webinar to find out more about the Program.

Contact us

If you have any other questions about the Open Spaces Program, you can contact the team via email:

open.space@planning.nsw.gov.au