Four Victorian local government areas have been celebrated as finalists in the 2022 Premier’s Sustainability Awards. 

The awards, which are supported by Sustainability Victoria in partnership with Banksia Foundation and Keep Australia Beautiful, recognise individual Victorians, community groups, councils and industries who have displayed remarkable aptitude, innovation, and resilience in their commitment to sustainability. 

The City of Greater Bendigo, Darebin City Council, Gannawarra Shire Council and City of Greater Geelong were all selected as finalists for their innovative sustainability initiatives. 

Two award winners for each of the six categories, which were refreshed in 2021 to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, will be announced at the awards ceremony on 20 September.

City of Greater Bendigo

The City of Greater Bendigo, a finalist in the Circular Economy Innovation category, has provided a leading example of what local councils can achieve if they push to transition their communities to a circular economy. 

Through this transition, the City of Greater Bendigo has started to identify, develop and implement a number of circular economy and resource management solutions to handle, reprocess and recirculate end-of-life material resources. 

Darebin City Council 

As a finalist in the Thriving Environment category, Darebin City Council is integrating natural landscape elements into urban spaces for the benefit of both public health and the conservation of biodiversity.

Council’s rewilding is creating accessible, healthy, resilient and diverse ecosystems in urban areas, that respect the Indigenous character of the landscape for the benefit of communities and biodiversity, both today and into the future.

Two years after it was launched, the rewilding project has transformed 18ha for the Darebin community to enjoy. Over 300,000 Indigenous plants have been planted, and more than 80 jobs have been created.

Gannawarra Shire Council 

Gannawarra Shire Council’s efforts within the disability sector have also been recognised, with the announcement of their position as a finalist in the Healthy and Fair Society category.

Already renowned in the Mallee region as a leading provider of NDIS services, Gannawarra Shire is the only rural Victorian council to be an approved NDIS provider.

Since its implementation in 2019, Council’s NDIS support has grown to assist 124 participants living in the Gannawarra region, creating 51 new jobs in a small rural municipality of 10,549 residents.

Council’s NDIS support also complements key programs such as its Social Meals and the Gannawarra Non-Emergency Transport Service, in creating and maintaining important connections to the community.

City of Greater Geelong

The City of Greater Geelong has been nominated as a finalist in both the Waste and Litter Reduction category and the Thriving Environment category.

Over seven months in 2020-21, the City of Greater Geelong has embarked on an intensive bin inspection program to cut contamination in kerbside recycling bins and combat community confusion.

The project examined an unprecedented 291,377 recycling bins across Greater Geelong, covering virtually every household in the municipality. It resulted in a significant and enduring fall in contamination rates, saving tonnes of recycling from landfill.

In 2019, the City of Greater Geelong also acquired a 500ha site known as the Sparrovale-Nubitj Yoorree Reserve and committed to revitalising the area for the fast-growing community at Armstrong Creek.

Adjoining the Barwon River and the Lake Connewarre State Game Reserve, the site was

acquired by the Council as part of a plan to open a large new wetlands park for nature-basedrecreational and educational activities in Geelong’s south.

This plan will provide an end-of-drainage solution for stormwater treatment and storage, as well as supporting a sustainable wetland and waterway wildlife reserve.

Sustainability Victoria’s Interim Chief Executive Officer, Matt Genever, congratulated the finalists on their efforts and said he was buoyed by the tremendous strides being taken across industry and the community to champion sustainability. 

“Sustainability Victoria is proud to celebrate those who are leading the way in sustainable solutions,” Mr Genever said. 

“Our finalists are making significant contributions to our state’s circular economy transformation and supporting a net zero-emission future for Victoria.

“The standard of entrants was exceptional and it was pleasing to see there are so many individuals, communities and organisations across Victoria that are committed to encouraging long-term sustainability.”

The Community Champion Award will recognise individuals and small organisations, and the Industry Leader Award will celebrate medium and large organisations driving a sustainable future.   

For further information about the Premier’s Sustainability Awards finalists, visit https://www.sustainability.vic.gov.au/psa-2022-finalists

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