2007 Banksia International Award
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, USA
Ghost nets are fishing nets that have been lost accidentally, deliberately discarded, or simply abandoned at sea. They travel the oceans of the world with the currents and tides continually fishing as they progress through the waters. As they are unattended and roaming, they fish indiscriminately, not only catching threatened species but undersized and protected fish as well.
In Northern Australia Indigenous Sea Rangers noted that many turtles were being captured in ghost nets that were washing up on the beaches. As much of this coastline is the breeding and foraging ground for 6 culturally and ecologically important species of marine turtle there was a real concern that so many were getting trapped and dying.
The Ghost Net Project is for people from Indigenous communities all around the Gulf of Carpentaria to find ways to work together to get rid of marine debris in their sea country.
Retrofitting Randwick – an Initiative Of Randwick Council’s Sustaining our City Program, now in its third year, has transformed the City’s approach to the environment and sustainability and resulted in a wide range of innovative programs and projects to protect and improve our local environment.
Randwick’s Home Energy Makeover has saved approximately 2,000 tonnes of CO2 from the residential sector, and $400,000 off household energy bills. To date 600 residents have taken the Home Energy Pledge with 250 Home Energy Audits completed free of charge. 20 million litres of potable town water have been saved in projects across Council’s buildings and operations.
Proactive partnerships have been fostered with sustainability thinkers, innovators, companies and organisations such as the University of NSW, University of Sydney, Planet Ark, Jackgreen Energy, Vox Bandicoot and Planet Footprint together with State Government departments.
Over the past 12 months the Sustaining our City initiative has attracted external funding of more than $2.5m to support Council’s environmental programs.
The Australian Conservation Foundation’s GreenHome program is a community education program that targets householders from urban areas and assists them to reduce their environmental footprint in their home and lifestyle. Since January 2005, hundreds of behaviour changes have been made by the 2917 participants on the program – from shorter showers to better food choices to sustainable home design. Significant environmental benefits include 116 ML of water saved (equivalent to 116 Olympic sized swimming pools full of water), 6880 tonnes of greenhouse gas saved (equivalent to taking 1370 cars off the road) and 510 kilo litres of waste saved (equivalent to 2123 wheelie bins full of waste).
The GreenHome program is delivered in the following ways:
Australia’s first residential housing estate powered by natural gas was launched in south west Sydney in April 2007 using technology generating three forms of energy from a single source. Vision Estate – a partnership between Mirvac and GridX Power, is the first residential housing estate in the world to use tri-generation for its electricity needs with generators creating electricity, hot water and air conditioning from natural gas.
The environment benefits of GridX tri-generation include an immediate 33% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to coal-fired electricity. Across the entire 16 home estate CO2 emissions are reduced by 256 tonnes/year, the equivalent of removing 60 cars from our roads. The energy produced by the system together with its heat generated and climate controlled water supply means an energy conversion efficiency of 80%. This is more than twice the efficiency of traditional coal-fired mains electricity and a more complete sustainable development outcome.
The Paintback™ partnership between sector leaders Dulux, Bunnings, and Bluescope Steel, together with Chemsal, Sustainability Victoria and the Steel Can Recycling Council has developed a model for the responsible treatment and resource recovery of unwanted paint, a major problem faced by every household, water treatment company and council.
The model allows householders to dispose of paint safely and conveniently at the paint retail outlet. More than that, unwanted paint is actually recycled and substituted for raw material in the production of Dulux Walpamur™ fence paint, sold by the retailer. This is the first time a closed-loop system for paint has been demonstrated in Australia.
This unique collaboration between government, retail and industry has achieved world’s best practice for Victoria and many wins for the community, our environment and the paint industry. The approach has proved that commitment, expertise and collaboration can overcome the economic and logistical problems of establishing complex product stewardship systems.
Development of the Wimmera Mallee Pipeline will introduce significant long-term changes to regional biodiversity on farms as a result of the change from an open water supply system of channels and dams to a closed system of pipes and stock troughs.
The Birchip Cropping Group (BCG) recently completed a two-year study to assess the biodiversity values of different water supply systems. The Diversity in a Piped System project found biodiversity levels on farms higher at sites with open water and at sites in woodlands. Trials of an experimental water point for wildlife found that they could increase the biodiversity value of a woodland and, significantly, maintain biodiversity at levels comparable with farm dams in woodlands.
This innovative and highly successful approach is a simple, water efficient and cost-effective way of maintaining and enhancing wildlife values on farms in the Wimmera and Mallee. Results have been widely adopted by farmers and industry in the region.
Between 2001 and 2006 Revive our Wetlands has contributed in 298,880 volunteer hours, planted more than half a million stems, removed weeds from more than 4,000 hectares, improved stock control with nearly 200 kilometres of fencing and undertaken 196 flora and fauna surveys on wetlands across Australia.
Revive has produced tangible and measurable improvements to the health of over 160 of Australia’s most important wetlands by attracting and managing thousands of volunteers to undertake practical conservation activities.
Revive commenced in 2001 and continues as a practical wetland conservation program that has been made possible through a landmark partnership between Conservation Volunteers Australia and BHP Billiton.
The total financial support contributed by BHP Billiton to Revive, since 2000 is $3.2 million. In January 2007 a further $1.8 million was announced for the next three years of Revive (2007 to 2009).
Bridgewater Lifestyle Village (BWLV), a community of 390 homes near Mandurah, Western Australia, is a development by National Lifestyle Villages (NLV).NLV designs, builds, markets and manages communities for people who are ‘too young, too fit and too healthy for retirement’. Five villages are established in Western Australia, with another five underway. Village ‘Lifestylers’ own their homes, but lease the land. As the sole and managing landowner, NLV provides integrated environmental management for entire communities.
BWLV is being developed to world’s best practice in environmental management, and includes many innovative features. NLV works closely with the Murdoch University’s Environmental Technology Centre to achieve this. BWLV is the recipient of the Western Australian Premier’s Water Foundation, Strategic Waste Initiative Scheme grants, and is a Water Corporation Waterwise Display Village. In November 2006, NLV was the Overall Winner of the Western Australian Environment Awards. In April 2007, the Bridgewater Lifestyle Village won the HIA GreenSmart Award for Development of the Year.
The Kimberley Toad Busters Inc was established in August 2005 by Kimberley Specialists in Research Inc as a result of one of the outcomes of the Kununurra Cane Toad Forum held in March 2005. A community cane toad website to publish all Kimberley Toad Busting field and research results was also established and now is the forum for the publication of regular newsletters and field results.
Recently Incorporated, Kimberley Toad Busters Inc has a Committee Board, a volunteer registration of just over 1600 community members which includes almost a third of community businesses, and has trained over 200 Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Toad Buster Leaders to lead volunteer teams.
The focus of stopping the Cane Toad from crossing into Western Australia has seen participation from a broad spectrum of local community members creating a multi-cultural volunteer organisation which has extensive involvement by local youth, indigenous communities and visitors sympathetic to our cause.