Council working toward a sustainable future

Published on 21 August 2019

(L-R) Livia Wickham and Joshua Filby.JPG

Rockhampton Regional Council tabled a report yesterday reviewing some of the ways it has contributed to a more sustainable future for our Region in the past financial year.

Mayor Margaret Strelow said the report, titled Environmental Sustainability Strategy - Year in Review FY2018-19, looked at the progress Council has made since the Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2018-2022 was adopted in September last year.

“When we adopted the Environmental Sustainability Strategy, we committed to implementing shared objectives and pathways that would advance sustainability in our Region,” said Mayor Strelow.

“In this report, we are checking in on the progress we have made since that commitment.

“While there is more work to be done, we are proud to say that this report identifies a huge number of initiatives that have been launched or progressed across Council in the 2018-19 financial year, and shows that we have made some great strides.

“For example, we have established the Sustainable Rockhampton Investment Fund, developed an Energy Action Plan to guide our investment in renewable energy technologies, supported staff-initiated projects through the Sustainability Seed Fund, launched new community programs, incorporated environmental improvements within infrastructure upgrades, and worked to promote the nature-based tourism opportunities available across our stunning Region.

“Departments across Council have also introduced innovative projects designed to protect and enhance our environment and make wise use of our resources.

“Our Civil Operations team, as an example, has identified and implemented an opportunity to repurpose old concrete, asphalt, and dirty fill into construction materials for use on future projects.

“Fitzroy River Water not only achieved 100% reuse of biosolids, but upgrades to the Rockhampton Region’s Sewage Treatment Plants have also achieved a 40% reduction in the Total Nitrogen discharged to the Fitzroy River.

“Rockhampton Regional Waste and Recycling constructed the first ‘Piggy Back’ cell at the Lakes Creek Road Landfill, extending the life of our landfill and creatively reusing a 100% recycled product utilising glass from our local recycling facility in lieu of sand extracted from the natural environment.

“And, of course, our Environmental Sustainability Unit has worked with our community partners and teams across Council to support momentum on the Strategy, facilitate partnerships, and deliver some incredible programs designed to strengthen our community’s capacity to live more sustainably and better connect with nature.”

Council’s Environment Spokesperson, Councillor Drew Wickerson, said the report not only demonstrates a real commitment to sustainability across Council, but also an appetite for these initiatives in the community.

“Council delivered a range of fantastic community initiatives over the year, which the community has embraced,” said Cr Wickerson.

“260 community members attended the engaging ‘Living Sustainably’ workshops, covering topics from minimising food waste and growing fruits and vegetable to reducing the use of single use plastics.

“We also saw hundreds of residents participate in the workshops and events hosted through the ‘Bring Nature Back’ program, and more than 6,000 kids picked up their own Nature Play Passport and accepted the challenge to get outside to run, jump, climb, splash, and explore our Region.  

“I am very excited to see how Council, our community partners, and Rockhampton Region residents will continue to work together to take care of our environment, so that it can continue to take care of us.”

The complete Environmental Sustainability Strategy - Year in Review FY2018-19 report can be found at:

FY2018-19 Year in Review highlights

Natural environment pathway:

  • 1100+ native plants planted on project sites throughout the Region.
  • 400 community members participated in Council-led natural resource management activities.
  • 12 on-ground project sites, delivering bush regeneration, habitat protection and revegetation outcomes.
  • 2600+ volunteer hours invested at on-ground project sites to increase canopy cover and support land management works.

    Empowering community pathway:

  • 260 ‘Living Sustainably’ community workshop participants, since the program launched in January 2019.
  • 1480 residents subscribed to the ‘Living Sustainably’ monthly newsletter.
  • 3 community projects, sharing $9000 funding via Council’s Community Assistance Program – Environment and Sustainability Scheme.
  • 2100 native plants, provided to the community via the Native Plant Program between July 2018 and June 2019.

    Industry and infrastructure pathway:

  • 18 organisations participated in local ecoBiz coaching sessions.
  • 100% biosolids diverted from landfill and beneficially reused in local activities.
  • 15 biocontrol release sites, targeting water hyacinth, salvinia and water lettuce.
  • 100% green waste beneficially reused as mulch.

    Council operations pathway:

  • 38 actions progressed via Council’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy.
  • 40% less Total Nitrogen discharged from Rockhampton’s Sewage Treatment Plants.
  • 6 Sustainability Seed Fund initiatives implemented by Council’s internal sustainability working group.
  • ~5% renewable energy used to support Council’s operational electricity needs, with plans in place to increase renewable energy usage in the near future.