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Wollongong City Council takes out top environment award



Wollongong City Council has taken home the top award in NSW’s annual awards for council-led environmental initiatives.

The council was awarded the Local Sustainability Award at Local Government NSW’s Excellence in the Environment Awards held online this week.

It was recognised for its Sustainable Wollongong 2030 strategy, which outlines Council’s commitment to sustainability for council operations and the community.

To create the strategy, extensive community and staff engagement activities were undertaken to include sustainability and climate change considerations in all council decision making.

Council also engaged with the Aboriginal community to incorporate stories and artwork into its strategy.

LGNSW President Linda Scott said Wollongong City Council was a worthy winner and a standout amongst the 14 category winners.

“Wollongong City Council has tackled the daunting task of developing an overarching strategy…The process involved exhaustive community consultation and staff engagement to develop what I think is a world-class strategy,” she said in a statement.

“They are another great example of how councils punch well above their weight in delivering outstanding environmental outcomes with limited resources at their disposal.”

Randwick City Council took out four awards, including the awards for Behaviour Change in Waste, Towards Net Zero, Asbestos Management and an award recognising the individual contribution of Council staff member Zaman Shamsuz.

Shoalhaven City Council walked away with two gongs in Reclaimed Water Management Scheme Stage 1B and Transition to Circular Economy.

Acting CEO Paul Keech said the awards were a “fantastic outcome” and one the Shoalhaven community should be proud of.

“Council’s investment in both the Reclaimed Water Management Scheme and the new recycling glass facility demonstrates our ongoing commitment to using innovative and cutting-edge technology that will help reduce our impact on the environment,” he said in a statement.

Other winners include Randwick City Council, which took out the Behaviour Change in Waste award for its ‘Small change, big difference’ campaign, which introduced a food organics and garden organics collection service to the community.

Lachlan Shire Council took out the award for Sustainable Infrastructure for its Renewable Energy Project, an energy sustainability plan that aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“What is especially impressive is that many councils undertook these resource-demanding projects while dealing with the challenges of COVID-19 lockdown orders,” Ms Scott said.

“NSW councils have a strong environmental record and LGNSW supports their efforts through these highly-respected awards as well as through a range of other initiatives that respond to the climate change emergency, transition to a circular economy and protect our local biodiversity.”

Full list of overall winners:

Asbestos Management – Randwick City Council

Climate Change Adaptation – Waverley Council

Towards Net Zero Emissions – Randwick City Council

Communication, Education and Empowerment – Byron Shire Council

Innovation in Planning, Policies and Decision-Making – City of Sydney

Invasive Species Management – Hilltops Council

Natural Environment Protection and Enhancement: on-ground works – Central Coast Council

Roadside Environmental Management – Penrith City Council

Behaviour Change in Waste – Randwick City Council

Transition to a Circular Economy – Shoalhaven City Council

Sustainable Infrastructure – Lachlan Shire Council

Water Management – Shoalhaven City Council

Local Sustainability – Wollongong City Council

Louise Petchell Memorial Award for Individual Sustainability – Zaman Shamsuz, Randwick City Council

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