LGNSW President, Darriea Turley, addressing attendees at the 2022 Local Government NSW Excellence in the Environment Award event.

The 2022 Local Government NSW Excellence in the Environment Award winners have been announced, with the awards  recognising outstanding achievements by New South Wales councils in their efforts to manage and protect the environment.

Winners were announced at a special event held at Prince Henry Centre in Little Bay on 6 December 2022.

LGNSW President, Darriea Turley, said the outstanding quality of nominations for 2022’s awards highlighted the fantastic environmental work being undertaken by local government.

“The need to protect and enhance our environment has become one of the most critical challenges of the modern day, and these awards show that councils are leading the way in this vitally important sector,” Cr Turley said.

The overall winners for each category were:

  • Asbestos Management: Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation
  • Behaviour Change in Waste: Eurobodalla Shire Council
  • Climate Change Adaptation: Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils
  • Communication, Education and Empowerment: Campbelltown City Council
  • Innovation in Planning, Policies and Decision Making: City of Parramatta Council
  • Invasive Species Management: MidCoast Council
  • Local Sustainability: Inner West Council
  • Natural Environment Protection and Enhancement: Clarence Valley Council
  • Sustainable Infrastructure: Bland Shire Council
  • Towards Net Zero Emissions: City of Parramatta Council
  • Transition to Circular Economy: Shoalhaven City Council
  • Water Management: Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation

Cr Turley congratulated all of the award winners and nominees for their terrific work over the past 12 months.

“From Campbelltown City Council’s efforts to identify and protect a small platypus population in the Georges River to Bland Shire Council’s work to build climate resilient unsealed roads and much more, the work councils are undertaking is delivering enormous benefits for the local environment and the communities they represent.”

Meanwhile, Natalya Mendelevich from Randwick City Council was announced as the winner of the prestigious Louise Petchell Memorial Award for Individual Sustainability.

Ms Mendelevich manages the Council’s native and indigenous Plant with Us program and has been responsible for reforming and transforming the management, implementation, monitoring and evaluation processes for tree and groundcover planting across Randwick City.

City of Parramatta

City of Parramatta was thrilled with the recognition, receiving two awards for its innovative environmental sustainability programs. 

The City’s Electric Vehicles: Driving a Sustainable Future program took out the award for Innovation in Planning, Policies and Decision Making, while its Smart LED Streetlighting Project won the Towards Net Zero Emissions category.

City of Parramatta Lord Mayor, Cr Donna Davis, said the prestigious awards recognise the ambitious goals and actions the City first outlined in its Environmental Sustainability Strategy endorsed in 2017.

“The Environment Sustainability Strategy set the bar high, and committed Council to strong action towards a greener future,” Cr Davis said.

“These awards clearly demonstrate the City of Parramatta’s commitment to implementing our strategy and the role Council is taking in leading environmental planning and performance in New South Wales.” 

Net-zero commitments are driving a world-wide transition, and the City of Parramatta is fuelling change locally by implementing a range of programs that will make Parramatta and Western Sydney future-ready. 

Transport currently makes up around one third of Western Sydney’s total emissions, so City of Parramatta’s Electric Vehicles: Driving a Sustainable Future program, supported by the Western Sydney Energy Program, sets ambitious targets for transitioning the region to electric transport. 

“We have introduced EV controls to ensure essential EV infrastructure is included in new buildings to make sure residents can easily transition to electric vehicles, and we have already introduced EV infrastructure across our City,” Cr Davis said.

Also focussed on reducing emissions, the City of Parramatta’s LED lighting project was the largest smart and LED energy-efficient street lighting upgrade project ever seen in the state.

In partnership with Endeavour Energy, and with funding from the Federal Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program, the $4 million project saw more than 3,300 lights upgraded to high-performance and energy-efficient smart LED streetlights.

“The new LED lights are between 45-60 per cent more efficient and have helped Council achieve 74 per cent in energy savings,” Cr Davis said. 

“Through this program we’ve been able to reduce Council’s annual street lighting carbon emissions by up to 28 per cent, and we’re closer to achieving our goal of reducing carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2038 (based on 2015 levels).”

The City of Parramatta had a target to become carbon neutral in 2022 and will receive Carbon Neutral Certification under the Climate Active Standard. 

The City of Parramatta’s new four-year Environmental Sustainability Strategy is being prepared, with the future action plan reaffirming Council’s long-term commitment to creating a nature-inspired, efficient and resilient City, with updated targets aligned to the latest government policy and community needs.

Wagga Wagga City Council

Wagga Wagga City Council’s Environment team were awarded the Local Government NSW Excellence in the Environment award in the Communication, Education and Empowerment category, for its One Tree for Me campaign.  

Council’s Strategic Sustainability Advisor Carly Hood was thrilled to accept the award on behalf of the team, at the awards ceremony held in Sydney. 

“Our One Tree for Me campaign aims to see 65,000 native seedlings planted throughout our local area over a six-year period – roughly one tree for every resident,” Ms Hood said.

“It addresses our Corporate Net Zero 2040 Strategy, our Biodiversity Strategy: Maldhangilanha 2020-2030 and our Urban Cooling Strategy 2022 – 2052 all at once and allows people in our community to take direct action in their own backyards.”

One Tree for Me has now finished its second year with more than 22,978 seedlings planted, achieved through a mix of activities including free seedling giveaways to residents, community tree planting activities on community land, and supporting schools through Planet Ark’s Schools Tree Day campaign.

Featured image: LGNSW President, Darriea Turley, addressing attendees at the 2022 Local Government NSW Excellence in the Environment Award event. Image: Local Government NSW.

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