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Protecting our precious places

The Stephenson Fund for Covenant Enhancement

Established by Queen Elizabeth II National Trust and officially launched on 9 May 2017.


  • To provide strategic support with the management and enhancement of open space covenants
  • To provide support for covenantors faced with covenant management issues that are beyond their control. For example:
    • Increases in pests (such as deer, wasps, wallabies)
    • Severe damage caused by extreme natural events (such as major fires, floods,earthquakes)
    • Overwhelming regional-wide weed issues or other incursions (such as plant diseases) that are threatening the health of covenants.
    • Serious health or financial burdens.

What can the funds be used for?

  • Pest animal and ecological weed control
  • Fencing enhancements (for example, deer top-ups)
  • Revegetation programmes
  • Signage or infrastructure to support recreational use
  • Specialist advice about the values protected in a covenant
  • Recovery support for covenants that have been badly affected by unforeseen extreme events (for example, slips, floods, fire, earthquake damage).

What can’t the funds be used for?

The fund may not be used as part of a consent process or in lieu of a landowner’s obligations under their covenant agreement (however, an application may be considered for the latter example if special circumstances apply, for example, hardship or health burdens).

Where do the funds come from?

The National Trust has set up this Fund using income from other sources such as bequests, donations, and revenue from its investment portfolio.

Resources for the Stephenson Fund are limited. The National Trust intends to run fundraising campaigns and seek sponsorship and bequests in the future to help support and grow the Fund.

The Stephenson fund is not funded by taxpayer money.

What do you need to know?

  • The Stephenson Fund is a contestable fund.
  • Applications for funding support are made by the landowner.
  • Successful applicants can potentially receive up to 50% of the total cost of their project costs.
  • A minimum of $2,000 and a maximum of $20,000 including GST can be requested.
  • Proposed work must benefit the purpose and objectives of the applicant's covenant agreement.
  • All plantings must be ecosourced.
  • Applications are for a single year purpose and the grant must be used within the year of allocation or be forfeited. Subsequent multi-year projects may be approved for the same site (but approval is not guaranteed).
  • Funds must be spent as outlined in the application.
  • The Fund is not responsible for additional costs a project may incur.
  • Before and after photos are required for revegetation and weed control projects less than $3,000.
  • Projects over $3,000 must be inspected by your Regional Representative before payment can be approved.
  • Applications are expected to include a 50% financial or in-kind contribution towards total project costs from the applicant or other source, unless hardship or an adverse event is cited.
  • If the actual costs are less than the proposed costs, the actual costs will be shared equally by the parties involved.  The Stephenson Fund is not responsible for additional costs.
  • Funds will be paid on receipt of a tax invoice made out to the
    QEII National Trust.  The invoice must include a GST number (if registered), an email address and receipts for all expenses claimed. A tax invoice template is available on request, please contact:
  • In applying to the Stephenson Fund, landowners agree to allow
    QEII National Trust to share project information including biodiversity values and photos for communication purposes. 

How to apply

  • Landowners should consult with their QEII Regional Representative before submitting their funding application to be sure their form is completed accurately and their project meets the fund’s objectives.You can find your regional representative's contact details here.
  • Read the Stephenson Fund Guidelines
  • Submissions must be made using the official Stephenson Covenant Enhancement Fund application form.
    Download application form PDF version
    Download application form Word version
  • A copy of the application from can be requested on 0800 467 367 (ask for the Stephenson Fund administrator), or email Stephenson Fund Administrator
  • Email your application to the fund administrator.
  • Take care to check when application rounds open and close to be sure your submission is sent in on time for consideration for each round.

Contact for enquiries

Contact your Regional Representative for any questions about the fund.

The next application round has opened and closes on:

20 September 2017

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