Newcastle's environmental initiatives win major award

03 Dec 2019

City of Newcastle’s efforts to bring the city up to world-leading environmental standards through initiatives such as a 5MW solar farm, 5,000 new LED street lights and electric vehicle charging stations have earned it the leading prize in Local Government NSW’s (LGNSW) Excellence in the Environment Awards.

LGNSW President Linda Scott said Newcastle led an impressive array of 16 category winners at this year’s awards.

James Griffin MP, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Veterans, with the City's Adam Clarke, Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen, Linda Scott and and a Local Government NSW representative.

“Each year NSW councils invest around $1.7 billion in environmental management and these awards recognise and celebrate their achievements,” she said.

“The City of Newcastle is an outstanding example of the environmental leadership councils provide, implementing a whole-of-council sustainability framework based on leading-edge United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

“They delivered more than $10 million in projects to improve sustainability, using CSIRO-predictive modelling to reduce air conditioning loads on buildings, established a network of sky cameras to predict cloud impact on solar power, created an e-transit hub with a solar car park and built a 5MW solar farm.

“They also planted 1,000 street trees and 100,000 native plants.

“The outcome is a city that is well positioned for environmental sustainability well into the future.”

The initiative also saw the prestigious Louise Petchell Memorial Award for Individual Sustainability go to City of Newcastle’s Innovation and Sustainability Coordinator Adam Clarke.

“Adam showed great leadership in driving many of these initiatives through a combination of inspiration, education and enthusiasm, and is a deserving winner of this year’s individual award,” Cr Scott said.

Waverley Council was also a big winner on the day, receiving awards in the Towards Net Zero Emissions, Water Management, Behaviour Change in Waste and Sustainable Infrastructure categories.

Other individual category winners at this year’s awards included:

  • Parkes Shire Council’s ‘Water Story’, an effective communications program, including a giant frog mascot, to educate the community on broad water issues and important upgrades to recycled water infrastructure;
  • Bayside Council’s Community Recycling Hub, which allows residents to drop off unwanted items at two locations, resulting in the collection of 44 tonnes of community waste, 90 per cent of which was recovered;
  • Tweed Shire Council’s Tackling Mosquitoes Together project, which saw collaboration with seven Northern Rivers councils prepare for potential disease vectors in a changing climate such as Asian tiger mosquitoes, known carriers of Dengue fever, through the establishment of rapid response networks.

“NSW councils have a strong environmental record and LGNSW supports their efforts through these awards as well as a range of initiatives,” Cr Scott said.

“We are also joining councils on calling for the NSW Government to fund and help deliver a fresh approach to waste and recycling through our Save Our Recycling campaign.”