Statement of Affairs

Structure and functions of the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust


The Trust consists of the following Branches:

  • Development and Planning
  • Domain and Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
  • The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan
  • The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah
  • Science and Public Programs

A comprehensive overview of the Trust’s organisational structure is outlined in the 2012-2013 Annual Report, or obtain by writing to the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney NSW 2000.


When acting in pursuance of its Objects, the Trust is required to give particular emphasis to encouraging and advancing the study of systematic botany, and to plant conservation.

The Trust's Mission is ‘to inspire the appreciation and conservation of plants.’

The Trust is part of the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH). The Trust maintains a level of independence due to its status as a Trust. It has its own statutory reporting requirements and budget, with strategic and performance measurements reviewed by the Board of Trustees.

How the functions affect the public

The Trust is responsible for the management and stewardship of four public estates, which has direct impacts on the public when exercising and performing the duties and functions required under its legislation, for example

  • specifying what scientific, educational, historical, cultural or recreational activities can take place on Trust lands 
  • maintenance of the property of the Trust
  • charging and receiving fees for services provided in relation to exercising its powers and functions under the Act
  • impose a penalty for any breach of a regulation.

Public participation in policy making

Individuals, customers, special interest and community groups may make representations on policy and other issues at any time. The Trust may also seek public submissions from time to time when developing and reviewing policies, plans and programs. The public has been included in decision making processes through representation on advisory committees, or by submission to publicly displayed plans or agreements.

The Trust provides a comprehensive list of contact points for particular aspects of the Trust’s functions - see Contact us - and a feedback form through the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water website.

Documents held by the Trust

The Trust deals with a large number and range of documents. Some of these are held for a limited time while others are retained on a permanent basis. While many documents are available for inspection or purchase, access to some documents may require an application under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 1989, the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 or the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002.

Policy documents

Trust policies include corporate policy documents, scientific policies and manuals, field policies and procedures, and planning guidelines. Many of these documents are freely available to the public - see policy documents. The Trust also provides a list of policy documents for the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water Summary of Affairs, which is published each June and December in the Government Gazette and on the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water website.


The Trust produces two regular scientific journals: Telopea (a journal of systematic research) and Cunninghamia (a journal of plant ecology for Eastern Australia), each published twice a year and available by subscription or on exchange to other organisations. Trust research is also published as academic papers in a range of journals.

Obtaining information from the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust

The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1989 on 1 July 2010. The GIPA Act introduces a new right-to-information system. This gives you the right to be given access to information you ask for unless there is an overriding public interest against its release. It addresses personal and non-personal information held by government.

There are four ways in which the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust makes its information available under the GIPA Act.

1. Mandatory disclosure
The Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust is required to provide the following open access information free of charge:

  • current Publication Guide 
  • policy documents 
  • information formally released under the GIPA Act (disclosure log of formal access applications - these are maintained by the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water) 
  • register of government contracts valued at $150,000 or more
  • information about the Trust contained in any document tabled in Parliament by, or on behalf of, the Trust - other than any document tabled by order of either House of Parliament
  • the Trust’s record of open access information (if any) that it does not make publicly available on the basis of an overriding public interest against disclosure
  • a list of major assets (other than land holdings) - to be included in Annual Reports from 2009-2010
  • the total number and value of properties disposed of during the previous financial year - to be included in Annual Reports from 2009-2010 
  • Guarantee of Service
  • Code of Ethical Conduct

2. Proactive release
The Trust will proactively release as much information as possible; however, sometimes this may not be possible, for instance if the information concerns another party’s affairs. You can ask what further information we will make available, in addition to the information already publicly accessible. Contact the Trust if you require further details.

3. Informal release
You can ask for specific information (including your personal information) on an informal basis. Contact the Trust if you require further details.

We will give you a decision as quickly as possible. If we can't provide a final decision within 20 working days, we will let you know when to expect a decision.

There is no right of review if you are not happy with an informal decision. If you make a formal application for the information, you will then have review rights.

4. Formal release
This is a last resort. You should first see what information is publicly available or will be made available. There may be public interest reasons why the information may not be released informally, or a third party may need to be consulted in relation to the release of their business or personal information, in which case a formal application should be lodged. 

For more information on accessing information under the GIPA Act, including personal information, contact the Office of Environment and Heritage Right to Information/Privacy Officer at PO Box A290, Sydney South 1232, phone (02) 9995 6080 or (02) 9995 6497. Further information can also be obtained via the OEH website or the Office of the Information Commissioner.

Privacy applications

The Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 regulate the way the Trust deals with personal and health information and gives people a legally enforceable right of access to their information. Applications can be made for personal information that may be held by the Trust. Applications may also be made to amend personal information that may be incomplete, incorrect, misleading or out-of-date. If you believe that the Trust has breached your privacy, you can ask us to investigate what occurred.

Other information services

Plant Identification & Botanical Information Service
The Trust provides comprehensive plant identification and botanical information through its Plant Identification and Botanical Information Service, available over the counter at the National Herbarium of New South Wales, Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney NSW 2000. For further information on costs and contact details see Plant Identification & Botanical Information Service.

Plant Disease Diagnostic Service
The Plant Disease Diagnostic Unit provides a range of plant pest and disease identification services to industry, government and private customers, including
disease diagnosis 
fungal isolation 
advice and treatment recommendations
For further information on costs and contact details see Plant Disease Diagnostic Service.


Heritage and conservation
Section 170 of the Heritage Act 1977 requires all NSW Government departments to have a Heritage and Conservation Register. The Trust’s register contains details of the moveable, built and landscape heritage it manages within its estates, including:

  • Archaeological finds
  • Archival material and manuscripts
  • Artwork
  • Audio-visual
  • Built landscape elements
  • Furniture
  • Geological natural elements
  • Heritage buildings
  • Industrial objects and toolsL
  • Landscape development - the Australian Botanic Garden
  • Landscape development - the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden
  • Landscape development - Royal Botanic Garden and Domain, Sydney
  • Maps, plans and charts
  • Memorabilia
  • NSW Herbarium
  • NSW Seedbank
  • Photographic
  • Publications (produced by the Trust)
  • Rare books
  • Significant individual plantings
  • Significant groups of plantings
  • Statues, fountains and monuments

At present, none of the heritage collections at the Trust have been nominated for inclusion on the State Heritage Register.