As society confronts a range of environmental, social and economic issues ranging from climate change, the loss of biodiversity and the increasing costs of energy and water, it is now more important than ever to adopt and practice sustainable ideas and ways of living.
We are committed to making the region a sustainable place to live, work and play through an inclusive and holistic approach. Whilst we play an important role in promoting and facilitating sound environmental practice in the community we also take an equally significant leadership role in demonstrating sustainable practice in our operations and decision-making.
In 2011, we adopted a Sustainability Policy which outlines our aims and commitments towards progressing sustainability in our operations and practices. As part of our sustainability leadership role we formed an internal sustainability Action Squad which is responsible for facilitating the integration of sustainability outcomes into our planning and decision making process and to progress the implementation of sustainability principles and practices across our operations.
We undertake energy audits and implement recommended improvements, we have invested in renewable energy by installing solar panels across council buildings and facilities, and we use Planet Footprint for the collection and collation of our energy, fuel, and water cost and consumption data in order to investigate improvements. We also play a crucial role in conserving platypus in the Queanbeyan River and commissioned the Queanbeyan Platypus Awareness and Conservation Strategy 2012.
Clean Up Australia Day events are held each year with participation from Council and community groups and we have installed an organic recycling unit which turns unwanted food waste into a bio fertiliser used on Council grounds. Worm farms have also been installed to reduce internal organic waste generation.
An integrated transport plan that incorporates a bicycle plan and pedestrian and mobility plan will be developed in 2017.
Sustainability processes are incorporated into Council building processes, and we have implemented an education project to facilitate a greater uptake of sustainable building at the new town of Googong. The Queen Elizabeth II Park and Collett Street project was the first recreation park to be awarded an IS rating from the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia, achieving an Excellent As Built rating. This involved a reduction in energy by installing LEDS for park lighting and solar panels to power the park’s lighting and irrigation system, improving topsoil productivity through seeding stockpiles, water minimisation through gravel and sand reuse, and the 100% diversion of inert non-hazardous waste from landfill through composting.
Our events are conducted under a Sustainable Events Management Policy, and the Community and Schools Environmental Expo held during spring each year attracts hundreds of school children and thousands of residents.
You can make many simple changes in everyday life to reduce your carbon footprint and have an immediate positive impact on the environment, your lifestyle, the community and your finances. Actions you can take to live a more sustainable lifestyle can be found in the hyperlinks below: