Office of Environment and Heritage

Culture and heritage

Culture is a way of understanding and living in the world. Heritage is the environment, objects and places that we inherit from the past and pass on to future generations to use, learn from and be inspired by. Together these frame our understanding of the past and influence the decisions we make about what is worth keeping. The Office of Environment and Heritage, in partnership with our government agencies and Aboriginal people, has a role in protecting and promoting Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal culture and heritage environments of NSW.

Environmental issues

The NSW community is faced with many significant issues due to the demands placed on our environment. Education, compliance and regulation all play a part in improving our environment. The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) works together with the NSW community to help protect the environment. OEH has a regulatory role in relation to biodiversity, Aboriginal cultural heritage, waters and rivers, wildlife management and native vegetation and continues to undertake active programs to contain and reduce soil degradation and invasive pests and weeds. The Environment Protection Authorityexternal link (EPA) focuses on minimising pollution and any risks to human health associated with use of hazardous materials, pesticides and waste, and on improving water quality, reducing the impacts of waste, air emissions and noise and regulating our forest activities.

Prepare NSW for unavoidable changes in our climate

NSW 2021: A plan to make NSW number one includes a target to minimise the impacts of climate change in local communities.

The Government has worked with the ACT Government and the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW to provide local-scale projections of future changes in temperature, rainfall and other climate variables for the whole of NSW and the ACT. These fine-scale projections will help local government, business and the community to build resilience in the face of future extreme events and hazards by helping them to understand the impacts of climate change in their local areas.

By understanding climate impacts, the community, business and government can better manage risk and take actions to adapt.

OEH’s climate change adaptation programs  are aimed at building the resilience of the State’s natural environment, economy and communities by:helping communities adapt (including assessing regional communities’ vulnerability)

  • preparing for the impacts of climate change
  • protecting ecosystems and natural resources
  • managing water resources.

The NSW Adaptation Research Hub researches the best adaptation responses for NSW under the themes of coasts, biodiversity and communities.

To understand some of the risks, the NSW Climate Impact Profile provides an assessment of projected biophysical changes across the State. The profile has helped decision-makers with their planning and response strategies.

In the NSW 2021 Regional Action Plans there are also 19 related commitments for the delivery of climate information and the identification of opportunities to increase resilience in local communities.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in NSW

The NSW Government is working to deliver economically efficient and environmentally effective policies and programs that do not duplicate initiatives of the Australian Government. They include:

  • understanding NSW emissions
  • providing financial support through the Climate Change Fund
  •  promoting energy efficiency
  • promoting clean and renewable energy
  • promoting soil carbon sequestration


NSW 2021 sets goals and targets that support practical action to tackle climate change. They include:20% renewable energy by 2020

  • help for businesses and households to realise annual energy savings of 16,000 gigawatt-hours by 2020 compared with ‘business as usual’ trends
  • support for 220,000 low-income households to reduce their energy use by up to 20% by June 2014
  • an increase in the share of commuter trips made by public transport, including increasing the proportion of journeys made to work by public transport in the Sydney Metropolitan Region to 28% of the total by 2016
  • targets to increase walking and cycling
  • planning policy to encourage job growth in centres close to where people live and to provide access by public transport.

The NSW Government has outlined a series of plans and strategies to deliver these goals and targets. They include the Renewable Energy Action Plan, the NSW Energy Efficiency Action Plan, the Long Term Transport Master Plan and the draft Metropolitan Strategy for Sydney.

In July 2014, the NSW Government launched the Government Resource Efficiency Plan (GREP) to reduce the environmental impacts of its departments and improve departmental cost-efficiency.
NSW Climate Change Council

The NSW Climate Change Council provides independent, expert advice to OEH on matters relevant to the NSW Government’s response to climate change.