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Submission to inquiry into sustainable communities

VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 39

									    Municipal Association of Victoria

                     Submission to the
Inquiry into Sustainable Communities



                            JULY 2004
INTRODUCTION
The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is the peak representative and lobbying body for Victoria's
79 councils. The MAV was formed in 1879 and the Municipal Association Act 1907 anointed the MAV
the official voice of local government in Victoria.

Today, the MAV is a driving and influential force behind a strong and strategically positioned local
government sector. Our role, broadly speaking, is to represent and advocate the interests of local
government, lobby for a 'fairer deal' for councils, raise the sector's profile, ensure its long-term security
and provide policy advice, strategic advice and insurance services to local government.

This submission is made by the MAV as part of its ongoing commitment to supporting the development
of the effective role of Victorian local government authorities in environmental management.

The MAV places particular emphasis in the management of local environmental issues on:

     The need for local government to be adequately represented on key decision-making fora;
     The need for equitable resources for local government undertaking an increasingly large share of
       environment management responsibilities; and
     The recognition by other levels of government and stakeholders of local government’s role and
       responsibilities in the environment management area.

This submission seeks to address the Terms of Reference below by:
     Describing the role of local government in environmental sustainability including the role of the
       MAV in developing programs to assist council, and the communities they represent, become
       more environmentally sustainable;
     Describing the structural and legislative framework in which local government acts on community
       environment programs, with suggestions for improving and enhancing that framework;
     Outlining a range of case studies that describe the breadth and type of programs and projects
       undertaken by Victorian local government that seek to achieve community and household action
       on environmental sustainability; and
     Identifying opportunities and barriers to the work of local government in developing sustainable
       communities.

    Terms of Reference for Inquiry

The Environment and Natural Resource Committee of the Victorian Parliament is conducting an inquiry
into opportunities to promote changes in the ways we use energy, water and other natural resources at
the local community (not including industries) and household level to reduce environmental impacts.
According to the Terms of Reference the Committee is required to:

    1. Examine what practical low-cost initiatives State or local governments can encourage that will:
            a. Promote efficiency of water use and supply and use of energy
            b. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
            c. Increase the rate of recycling
            d. Foster renewable energy use
            e. Improve energy efficiency
    2. Identify the barriers to increasing the rate of participation by individuals and households in
        recycling and conserving water, energy and other resources and improving energy efficiency
    3. Identify other low cost opportunities for communities to participate in promoting and encouraging
        environmental sustainability




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                         Page 2
TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION .........................................................................................................................................................................2

TABLE OF CONTENTS .............................................................................................................................................................3

1.       EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ..................................................................................................................................................4

2.       LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND SUSTAINABLE COMMUNTIES................................................................................6

3.       MAV, STATE GOVERNMENT AND OTHER SUPPORTING PROGRAMS ..........................................................13

4.       CASE STUDIES ...............................................................................................................................................................18

5.       OPPORTUNITIES AND BARRIERS FOR LOCAL GOVENRMENT ......................................................................36

6.       REFERENCES .................................................................................................................................................................39




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                                                                                                    Page 3
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Local government plays an important role in community sustainability and environmental management.
The environmental activities of councils include both traditional infrastructure and service functions such
as stormwater management, litter and waste management, and parks and gardens. The role
increasingly involves developing functions in community environmental education, greenhouse
abatement and energy conservation, natural resource management and broader sustainability planning.

Operating at a level so close to the community it serves, gives local government a unique capacity to
make a difference.

This submission details the policy and legislative basis for local government’s role in local sustainability.
It documents 29 case studies that indicate the wide range of ways that councils can work with
individuals, households and communities to effect change in the use of water, energy, recycling and
greenhouse gas abatement.

    1.1      Local Government and Community Sustainability

Most local government environment or sustainability programs engage with or work through individuals,
households and community to some degree.

In working with households, councils combine regulatory approaches such as statutory planning and
local laws with community and educative approaches. It is useful for councils to combine approaches,
as this is usually more effective than using one approach in isolation. The four categories below are
useful to describe the broad approaches which local government often undertakes action in the
environmental area.
                Strategic (generally associated with the early steps of the pathway, as policy
                  development and plans establish the framework and extent of a council's
                  commitment);

                Leadership and incentives (demonstrating to the public the importance the council
                  attaches to a program, and depending sometimes on partnership with State or
                  Commonwealth Governments or a business sponsor);

                Education and information; and
                Regulatory (appropriate for issues such as urban form and design as these are already
                  regulated via planning and development controls).

Councils usually develop a strategic approach to the range of environment issues it is dealing with.
There are at least 23 different types of issue specific or general environmental strategies that councils
across Victoria may have in place.

The issue of core funding for environmental officers is an identified barrier for many rural councils

    1.2      Barriers

    This submission identifies some of the issues facing local government in its role with community
    sustainability such as:

     Limited funds and resources available to run effective wide scale education/awareness
       campaigns, and budgets compete with other demands (welfare, infrastructure).


MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                        Page 4
     Community is socially, economically and culturally diverse - a range of campaigns targeting
       different parts of communities are often needed.

     Councils are often the first point of contact on a wide range of environment issues but may not
       have the technical skill in-house to answer.

    1.3     Opportunities

    This submission identifies that local government is well placed to work with communities and
    households on sustainability because:

     Councils already know and work closely with their community and are already leading by
       example in many areas such as water, energy and waste management.

     Council support messages at a local level and in a local context.

     Councils have pre-existing community linkages through a range of environment, health, welfare
       and community development programs.

    1.4     Improving Community Environment Programs

    This submission identifies several important avenues for improving community environmental
    programs, including:

    Recognition of the role of local government
    State agencies need to engage fully with local government when delivering environment initiatives at
    the community or household level.

    Improve local government resources and capacity
    Ongoing funding or opportunities for local government to raise its own funds are important for the
    long-term success of community environment programs managed through local government.

    Develop integrative programs that combine action on energy, water, waste etc
    Household or business based programs that are integrative, i.e. consider a number of issues
    concurrently are increasingly becoming popular.

    Develop improved Behaviour Change programs, not just information programs
    A strong trend in community environment programs is to develop programs around community based
    social marketing (CBSM). This approach emphasises programs that target long lasting behaviour
    change rather than just providing information.

    Develop strong evaluation and monitoring approaches to measure effectiveness.
    Another strong emphasis in many community and local government environment programs is to
    develop strong evaluation and monitoring approaches to measure the effectiveness of programs.




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                     Page 5
2. LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND SUSTAINABLE COMMUNTIES
    2.1       Legislative and Policy Context

Local government plays an important role in community sustainability and environmental management.
The environmental activities of councils include both traditional infrastructure and service functions such
as stormwater management, litter and waste management and, parks and gardens. The role
increasingly involves developing functions in community environmental education, greenhouse
abatement and energy conservation, natural resource management and broader sustainability planning.

Local government legislation in Victoria does not define a role for local government in environmental
management, rather the Local Government Act 1989 is an enabling act, which allows a broad and varied
response by local government to the environmental challenges in their area. Councils are also affected
by and have various responsibilities under the provisions of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, the
Environment Protection Act 1970 and a range of State Environment Protection Policies (SEPP) under
that Act, and the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994. Additionally councils are increasingly
involved at a regional level with a range of natural resource management strategies and programs.

Given this legislative approach, a broad number of council functional areas can impact on and make up
a council’s environmental management role. This makes it difficult to draw a firm line or definition
around local government’s core ‘environmental’ management role. As well as the more obvious
‘environmental’ function areas, such as asset management, infrastructure and roads development, and
community health can also be seen to have important ‘environmental’ aspects.

Operating at a level so close to the community it serves, gives local government a unique capacity to
make a difference.

International
Sustainable communities can be described in terms of environmental, social and economic outcomes
(the “Three Pillars of Sustainability”). The particular challenges, and their priorities, will be different for
different local communities. Local government has a recognised integrative role in community
sustainability and has traditionally addressed local sustainability through the Local Agenda 21 model.
Local Agenda 21 encourages all local authorities to enter into dialogue with their communities on
developing an action plan for sustainability that seeks to integrate social, environmental and economic
sustainability. This approach was recently re-endorsed by local government representatives at the 2002
Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development and new action badged as the ‘Local Action
21’. For more information on this see the Local Government Declaration presented to the World
Summit1.

The MAV has established a statewide partnership of councils involved in environmental sustainable
development (ESD) /Triple Bottom Line/Local Agenda and Local Action 21 initiatives. The Partnership
aims to promote and assist councils undertaking programs and initiatives in environmental sustainable
development and Local Agenda and Action 212.

Partnerships
In considering local government and community level programs and approaches to waste management,
energy, greenhouse, water and other resource areas, partnerships between State Government and its
agencies are very important. Partnerships avoid duplication and confusion over roles and messages to
householders and communities. State Government and its agencies are better resourced and often
have the overarching responsibility to undertake community education and information programs. For
example recent statewide campaigns on water conservation.

1
 http://www.iula.org, World Summit on Sustainable Development, Local Government Declaration
2
 http://mav.asn.au/environment/environment.htm
MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                              Page 6
For household and community sustainability, local government often plays a supporting role in modeling
and conveying coordinated statewide messages at a local level.

Associations such as the MAV play a facilitation, co-ordination and advocacy role, often linking councils
and state authorities together.

Industry also has an important role at the household and community level in working with local
government. For example, industry associations, developers, plumbers, appliance retailers, hardware
stores, nurseries.

    2.2      Local Sustainability - Approaches of Victorian Local Government

Most local government environment or sustainability programs engage with or work through individuals,
households and community to some degree.

In working with households, councils combine regulatory approaches such as statutory planning and
local laws with community and educative approaches. It is useful for councils to combine approaches
that are usually more effective than using one approach in isolation. The four categories below are
useful to describe the broad approaches which local government often undertakes action in the
environmental area.

         Strategic (generally associated with the early steps of the pathway, as policy development
           and plans establish the framework and extent of a council's commitment);

         Leadership and incentives (demonstrating to the public the importance the council attaches
           to a program, and depending sometimes on partnership with State or Commonwealth
           governments or a business sponsor);

         Education and information; and
         Regulatory (appropriate for issues such as urban form and design as these are already
           regulated via planning and development controls).

Diagram 1. on the following page is a representation of the range of issues and strategies that councils
often address in environmental sustainability.

It shows that councils combine individual strategies into integrated strategies such as Agenda 21 or
Greenhouse. It also shows that councils address the issues across the spectrum from regulation to
community.




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                     Page 7
  Diagram 1. Sustainability and environment approaches in Victorian local government


              Council as elected government – representing local community interest in transport,
                forest issues, water pricing, GMOs, toxics, biodiversity..….



                 COMMUNITY                                      COUNCIL                                                                    Planning
Community                                                                                                         REGULATION               Scheme
Approaches


Advocacy            Municipal Public Health         Council Plan/Corporate Plan                       Municipal Strategic
                    Plan, Community Safety                                                            Statement (MSS)
                    Plan, Township/place
Education            strategies

                                                                                                                                           Zones
Leadership

                                                    Integrative sustainability strategies:                                                 Overlays
Service
provision
                                             Local Sustainability/Local Agenda 21,                                                         Permits
                              Green Purchasing, Greenhouse Strategies, Transport Strategies,                                               conditions
Information
                                                                                                                                           enforcement
Community
                                Waste              Water             Biodiversity /      Energy and        Coastal and       Environment
engagement                                                           native vegetation   greenhouse        foreshore         issues in
                                                                                                                             built form
Citizenship
                                                                        Open
                               Waste               Stormwater                            Greenhouse         Coastal action                 Local Laws,
                                                                       space/parks
                              Management           Management                            strategies          plans                         fees, fines
                                                                       management
                              Plan – garbage,      plans/drainage
                               recycling,          management                            Energy Audits       Foreshore                     and permits
                                                                       Native
                              greenwaste, hard                                                               strategies
                                                                       vegetation
                               waste               Household                             Public
                                                                       permits
                                                   wastewater                            Lighting
                              Litter strategies
                                                   plans (septics)     Weed
                                                                       management
                              Landfill /transfer
                               station              Water
                              management           conservation
                                                    plans
    2.3      Strategic Approaches

Councils usually develop a strategic approach to the range of environment issues they are dealing
with.

There are at least 23 different types of issue specific or general environmental strategies that
councils across Victoria may have in place3 (see Table 2.).
            The most widespread environmental strategies in place in Victorian local government
              are waste management plans, litter minimisation plans, roadside conservation
              plans and stormwater management plans.

            The next most common strategies are local conservation strategies, native
              vegetation mapping, open space plans, greenhouse strategies and
              environmental or buy recycled purchasing plans.

            The least common strategies, occurring in 10% or fewer councils include EMS (ISO
              14001), SOE reports, wetlands policies, Domestic Wastewater Plans, Salinity Plans
              and Neighbourhood Environment Improvement Plans (NEIPs).
            Metropolitan councils are much more likely to have developed an environmental or
              local conservation strategy. For example, 63% of metropolitan and 50% of interface
              councils have developed an environmental or local conservation strategy. This
              compares to only 15% of rural councils.

The issue of core funding for environmental officers is an identified barrier for many rural councils.

Councils may also develop other integrative strategies that focus on aspects of community
sustainability. For example Municipal Public Health Plans under the Health Act 1958 incorporate
strong links to environment issues, community building and transport for example 4.

Councils also work closely with community on strategies such as Community Safety Plans,
Township and Place Strategies, often which involve environmental aspects.




3
 2002 Victorian Local Government Environment Management Survey: Programs, Resources and Management
Approaches. Main Report. Dec 2002, MAV. Response rate 76/78 councils (97%)
4
 Municipal Public Health Planning Framework. For further information see the Department of Human Services website
www.dhs.vic.gov/au



MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                                  Page 9
    Table 2. Issues Based Environment strategies in Victorian local government
                                                                                   EXISTING                  IN PROGRESS             TOTAL
Strategy                                                                              # of    % of              # of     % of          % of
                                                                                   councils councils          councils councils      councils



WASTE MINIMISATION                                                                     49           66           11             15      81
STORMWATER MANGEMENT PLAN                                                              33           43           27             36      79
FIRE PREVENTION                                                                        47           63            5             7       70
LITTER MINIMISATION                                                                    36           47            9             12      59
NATIVE VEGETATION MAPPING                                                              26           34           18             24      58
ROADSIDE MANAGEMENT PLAN                                                               32           42           11             15      57
BUY RECYCLED ACTION PLAN/ ENVIRONMENTAL PURCHASING                                     25           33           18             24      57
CODE
OPEN SPACE PLAN                                                                        26           34           11             15      49
LOCAL CONSERVATION STRATEGY                                                            27           36            6             8       44
NATURAL & CULTURAL HERITAGE PLAN                                                       21           28           10             13      41
WEED MANAGEMENT PLAN                                                                   15           20           15             20      40
NEIGHBOURHOOD CHARACTER STUDY                                                          14           18           12             16      34
GREENHOUSE STRATEGY                                                                    12           16           12             16      32
DRAINAGE STUDY                                                                         17           22            6             8       30
INTEGRATED TRANSPORT STRATEGY                                                          12           16            6             8       24
LOCAL AGENDA 21/SUSTAINABILITY PLAN                                                    14           18            2             3       21
COASTAL MANAGEMENT/FORESHORE PLAN                                                      11           15            5             7       22
ENERGY CONSERVATION                                                                     9           12            7             9       21
EMS (ISO 14001)                                                                         8           11            4             5       16
SOE REPORT                                                                              4            5            7             9       14
WETLANDS POLICY                                                                         4            5            3             4       9
DOMESTIC WASTEWATER PLAN                                                                3            4            4             5       9
SALINITY MANAGEMENT PLAN                                                                3            4            4             5       9
NEIP (Neighbourhood Environment Improvement Plans)*                                     0            0            4             5       5


           2.4       Resources
                  The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 5 estimated that Victorian local government
                    spent approximately $598.6m in 2000-01 on environmental management.

                  The ABS estimates that the major expenditure area for environmental protection was
                    waste management $237.2m, land management $169.8m and water management
                    $33.4m (probably stormwater infrastructure).

                  MAV survey data indicates that State and Federal grants made up only 9% of local
                    government spending on environmental and sustainability activities. This is similar to
                    the ABS estimate of 7%.

           5
            Commonwealth of Australia (2002), Australian Bureau of Statistics, Report No. 4611.0 Environmental Expenditure, Local
           Government, Australia, 2000-2001.


    MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                                                  Page 10
           80% of councils stated that resources were required for on-ground activities and
             actions, and over 50% specified that resources were needed for strategic planning and
             to fund environment officer positions.

           73% of councils have at least one officer who is a dedicated environment officer or
             environment manager. This figure drops to 57% for rural councils with at least one
             officer who is dedicated to environmental management.
    2.5      Strategic Sustainable Development Models

    Agenda 21 is the global framework which guides us along the pathways to sustainable
    development. Agenda 21 emerged from the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Chapter
    28 of Agenda 21 sets out a clear role for local government in sustainable development through
    a Local Agenda 21 approach.

    A Local Agenda 21 plan usually takes the form of an overarching strategic plan where a local
    government, through a process of dialogue with its community, sets out priority actions to
    achieve sustainable development outcomes.

             29% of all Victorian councils consider sustainable development and Local Agenda
               21 a ‘high’ priority issue for their council to be involved with. It was rated ‘high’ by
               52% of metro councils but only 10% of rural councils.

    2.6      Innovation in Local Sustainability Continues

    Victorian local government has considerable experience, and a strong community profile, in the
    development and implementation of local sustainability strategies and programs. A third of all
    councils and over 60% of metropolitan councils have, or are developing, an overarching
    sustainability strategy.

    Many councils are directly involved in sector programs addressing environmental challenges
    including greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, water resource management and “green”
    purchasing. Leading innovators include Shire of Yarra Ranges, Mornington Peninsula Shire
    Council, City of Melbourne, City of Port Phillip, City of Bayside, City of Moreland plus many
    others (see case studies in chapter 4).


               16 councils (21%) in Victoria have developed an overarching Local Sustainability
                 or Local Agenda 21 Strategic Plan. Six of these plans were developed in 2002.
                 The rest were developed over the last four years.

               A further nine councils (12%) indicated that they were in the process of
                 developing or intending to develop a local sustainability plan in the next few years.
                 Once completed 33% councils in Victoria will have an overarching Local
                 Sustainability or Local Agenda 21 Strategic Plan.
               The metropolitan region had the highest number of councils 14 (61%) with, or
                 developing, an overarching Local Sustainability or Local Agenda 21 Strategic
                 Plan.




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                        Page 11
    2.7      Community Engagement in Sustainability

As well as specific programs to work with community (see case studies in this submission),
councils often establish more formal approaches and ongoing structures such as committees to
engage with community.

     Of those councils who have or are developing a sustainability plan 64% have sought to
       engage their community in the plan’s development. This has occurred by a variety of
       mechanisms. For example, 56% of councils set up working groups, 44% utilised surveys
       and 41% adopted community visioning exercises.

     Of those councils that have or are developing a sustainability plan almost three-quarters
       (72%) have set up ongoing processes or structures to specifically engage the community
       in sustainability.

    2.8      Working with Households

When local government works with households it is important to consider the range of tools
available to councils to impact on sustainability in the home or with individuals. Local government
is often not the regulator or the level of government with primary carriage of regulation for issue
areas specific to households. For example, with water conservation, many measures are
managed by state agencies or water authorities. An example is appliance labelling or water pricing
which are regulated by the State. Another example is building or plumbing regulations which are
often not the direct responsibility of local government.

However, local government can work effectively with their local communities, in partnership with
state agencies to deliver effective community level programs and effective information
dissemination.

See the discussion in Chapter 5 about suggestions to improve the impact of local government’s
role in community sustainability.




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                   Page 12
3. MAV, STATE GOVERNMENT AND OTHER SUPPORTING PROGRAMS
This chapter describes the range of State, regional and corporate support programs that interface
between local government, local communities and households. It also describes the MAV
programs designed to assist local government in their environmental management role.

There is a great diversity of programs, either targeting different issues (water, energy, waste etc) or
offering an integrated approach.

Most programs are Australian or Victorian based programs and solutions. However, some are
international models such as the Natural Step, Water Campaign™ (ICLEI), Global Reporting
Initiative (GRI).

Councils work in partnership with program providers, often pooling experience. Some programs,
particularly those developed by State Government, often offer councils funding support while
others require councils to join on a membership basis. However, programs can sometimes
duplicate existing resources and or not align with Victorian statutory or local government planning
processes.

In looking at cost effective programs in Victoria and in developing its own programs to support
councils, the MAV has sought to address councils concerns about support programs. Councils
report that:

        They prefer programs which take account of Victorian circumstances and statutory
          requirements to avoid unnecessary additional work by councils.

        Programs should be developed through partnership with councils in Victoria to ensure that
          the implementation is effective and reflects the reality of local government in this state.

        Program funding for councils needs to be realistic and sustained. Councils are reporting
          weariness with short-term, once-off funding programs.

        Programs that duplicate existing approaches or that do not work in partnership with State
          approaches add a level of unnecessary confusion in the local government sector.

        Councils often report being overwhelmed by the choice of different programs available to
          them.

        Effective programs offer opportunities for collegiate learning and knowledge sharing by the
          local government sector.

        Strategic programs have been beneficial to councils in pursuing and developing innovative
          approaches to community environmental management.

    3.1       MAV Programs to Support Sustainable Communities

The MAV conducts a range of activities to develop local government's role in effective
environmental management. Some of the activities it undertakes include lobbying for adequate
resourcing and funding, representing the sector in key decision-making forums, and ensuring that
the sector's responsibilities in environmental management are duly recognised.




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                      Page 13
The MAV also manages projects and programs such as:

     The Eco-Buy™ Program - (formerly the Local Government Buy Recycled Alliance)
    ECO-Buy is Victoria's local government green purchasing program. The program works with
    Victorian councils to increase their purchasing of recycled, greenhouse friendly and
    environmentally preferred products.
    The program is a joint initiative of the MAV, EcoRecycle Victoria, the State authority
    responsible for waste and litter management and the Victorian Greenhouse Strategy, Victoria's
    plan to reduce greenhouse emissions. ECO-Buy is an expansion of the Local Government Buy
    Recycled Alliance (LGBRA), which was established in April 2000. The change of name
    occurred late 2002 to reflect the expanded focus of the program brought about by the
    additional funds provided through Victoria's Greenhouse Strategy. The Local Government Buy
    Recycled Alliance focused solely on purchasing products with recycled content. ECO-Buy has
    expanded this focus to also include greenhouse friendly and environmentally preferred
    products.
     The Clearwater Program - the Stormwater Information Exchange
    The Clearwater Program is a joint initiative of the MAV and the Stormwater Industry
    Association of Victoria (SIAV). Clearwater (formerly the Stormwater Capacity Building
    Program) began in October 2002, assisted by funding through EPA Victoria as part of the
    Victorian Stormwater Action Program (VSAP).

    The Clearwater Program aims to effectively create an environment that facilitates cultural
    change in the adoption of sustainable environmental management practices for urban
    stormwater by local government and industry professionals across Victoria.

     The Integrating Local Land-use Planning and Regional Catchment Planning Project
    The MAV and the Victorian Catchment Management Council (VCMC) initiated the Integrating
    Local Land Use Planning and Regional Catchment Planning Project for the 10 catchment
    management and land protection regions of Victoria. The project was commenced as a joint
    initiative in 2000, with a steering committee established of representatives from local
    government, state agencies and catchment management authorities, the Victorian Catchment
    Management Council (VCMC) and the MAV.

    The overall aim of the project has been to achieve greater integration of regional catchment
    management planning and local land use planning by consistent interpretation of Regional
    Catchment Strategies in municipal planning schemes across Victoria.

     Sustainable Water Use Plans
    The Sustainable Water Use Plans Program is a partnership between the MAV and Melbourne
    Water. The Program aims to facilitate water conservation by making available to councils a
    simple, consistent and integrated planning framework, called Sustainable Water Use Plans.
    These plans provide a straightforward and flexible template that enables councils to conserve
    water and allow them to promote water conservation within their communities. Implementing a
    Sustainable Water Use Plan also allows councils to demonstrate efficient water management
    practices to their communities.

    The Sustainable Water Use Plan approach fully integrates with current Victorian local
    government planning responsibilities such as stormwater and septics management (see SEPP
    Water of Victoria), rather than duplicate or require councils to embark on a complex new
    program.




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                    Page 14
     Domestic Wastewater Management Project and Smart Septics Program
    Over the last number of years, the MAV has been working closely with the EPA and a range of
    partner organisations to improve local government capacity to address the significant risks
    posed by stormwater contamination to our waterways and to public health through the
    management of domestic wastewater (septics).

    With funding assistance from the EPA’s Victorian Stormwater Action Program (VSAP), this
    collaboration will continue throughout 2004 with Smart Septics Program to be managed by the
    MAV. This program will, over the next year, explore and develop a number of planning and
    management tools that will further enhance and complement previous initiatives in this
    important area of capacity building within local government.

    3.2      State Local Sustainability Accord

The MAV is working with the State Government and other environment and local government
groups to develop a State-local government Sustainability Accord, which will examine ways to
develop further recognition of local government’s role in sustainability. The Accord will also
examine measures to streamline partnerships between the two spheres of government and avoid
duplication.

    3.3      Other MAV Initiatives

Major policy issues of interest to the MAV and Victorian local government include water, catchment
management, waste management and sustainable development.

MAV information services for member councils include a monthly environment e-bulletin and
regular newsletters - 'Your Local Environment', 'Water Ways' and 'What Goes Around Comes
Around'.

The MAV has an ongoing commitment to supporting the development of the effective role of
Victorian local government authorities in environmental management. The MAV co-funds with the
Commonwealth, the Local Government Natural Resource Management Facilitator, whose role it is
to facilitate engagement of local government in regional NRM programs and agencies such as
catchment management authorities.

    MAV Environment Programs have been recognised for their achievements

    United Nations Association World Environment Day Award Winner 2004
    ECO-Buy is the 2004 winner of the United Nations World Environment Day National Award in the
    Local Government Awards category for Best Specific Environmental Initiative.

    Banksia Award Finalist
    Clearwater, the innovative stormwater capacity building program run by the MAV in partnership with
    the Stormwater Industry Association of Victoria (SIAV) and the EPA was a national finalist in the
    2004 Banksia Awards, in the government leading by example category.




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                                   Page 15
    3.4       Other Environment and Sustainability Capacity Building Programs

The list below demonstrates the range of support and capacity building programs that target
community level environmental sustainability, and often work with local government.

      Airwatch Victoria - Environment Protection Authority

      Best Practice Composting Green Organics - EcoRecycle Victoria

      Best Practice Kerbside Recycling Program - EcoRecycle Victoria

      Breathe the Benefits - Department of Environment and Heritage

      Cities for Climate Protection- International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives,
      Australian Greenhouse Office

      Clear the Air- Department of Environment and Heritage

      Clearwater- Municipal Association of Victoria, Stormwater Industry Association of Victoria

      Community Action Fund - Australian Greenhouse Office

      Cool Communities - Australian Greenhouse Office, Environment Victoria

      ECO-Buy - Municipal Association of Victoria, EcoRecycle Victoria, Department of
      Sustainability and Environment

      Ecological Footprint - Environment Protection Authority

      Environment Management Systems - Environment Protection Authority, Department of
      Sustainability and Environment, Department of Treasury and Finance

      Green Gardeners - Sustainable Gardening Australia

      Green Plumbers - Master Plumbers and Mechanical Services Association of Australia

      Green Streets - Village Green

      Greenhouse Calculator - Environment Protection Authority

      Greenhouse Program - Environment Protection Authority

      Local Agenda 21 - United Nations

      Local Energy Efficiency Demonstration - Sustainable Energy Authority Victoria

      Neighbourhood Environment Improvement Plans - Environment Protection Authority

      Savewater - Yarra Valley Water

      Smart Water Fund - Victorian water authorities


MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                    Page 16
      Smogbusters - Environment Victoria, Community Conservation Council, Department of
      Environment and Heritage

      Sustainability Fund - Environment Protection Authority

      Sustainable Schools - CERES, Gould League

      Sustainability Street - Environs Australia, Vox Bandicoot

      Travel Smart - Department of Infrastructure

      Urban Tripper - Environment Victoria

      Victorian Stormwater Action Program - Environment Protection Authority

      Waste Wise Programs - EcoRecycle Victoria

      Waterwatch - Department of Sustainability and Environment




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                               Page 17
4. CASE STUDIES
The following chapter sets out examples of successful projects and programs run by local
government that seek to improve the way individuals, households and communities target energy,
water, waste and recycling issues.

These case studies are examples of current programs undertaken by some local governments in
Victoria but it is by no means an exhaustive list, as many other councils have excellent programs
and projects in a wide range of areas. The MAV would like to thank all those councils who
contributed examples or time to assist in this summary.

Each short case study has a current contact name, number or website for more detailed follow up.

     Surf Coast Shire Council – Anglesea Neighbourhood Environment Improvement Plan
       (NEIP)
     City of Boroondara - Community Environment Actions 2003/04
     Buloke Shire Council - Donald Neighbourhood Environment Improvement Plan (NEIP)
     Campaspe Shire Council - Environmental Rate Rebates
     City of Casey - Comingled Recycling
     Cities of Darebin, Melbourne, Yarra, Moreland, Moreland Energy Foundation and energy
       supplier AGL - Community Power
     City of Darebin - Reservoir Civic Centre
     Frankston City Council - Water Initiatives
     Macedon Ranges Shire Council - Community Run Bus Service
     Manningham City Council - Sustainable Schools Program
     Moreland Energy Foundation Ltd
     City of Melbourne - Travel Smart
     City of Melbourne - Trial ‘Greensaver’ Efficiency Program
     Maroondah City Council - Waste Education
     Mildura Rural City Council - Water Management
     Moreland City Council - Sustainability Streets
     Mornington Peninsula Shire Council - Litter Education
     Mornington Peninsula and Westernport Biosphere Project
     Nillumbik Shire Council - Green Waste Collection
     Nillumbik Shire Council - Land Management Incentive Programs
     City of Port Phillip - Inkerman Oasis
     City of Port Phillip - Sustainable Living At Home
     Greater Shepparton City Council - Improved Bicycle Network and ‘Cycle Instead’
       Program
     Greater Shepparton Council - Goulburn Broken Urban Stormwater Awareness and
       Training
     Cities of Moonee Valley and Port Phillip - Smogbusters – Way to School
     City of Whittlesea - Walking School Bus
     City of Yarra - High-rise Recycling Program
     Shire of Yarra Ranges - Birdsland Environmental Education Centre




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                   Page 18
    4.1      Surf Coast Shire Council - Anglesea Neighbourhood Environment
             Improvement Plan (NEIP)
    Located within the municipality of the Surf Coast Shire Council, Anglesea is on the Great
    Ocean Road approximately 100km south west of Melbourne. Around 2000 people are
    permanent residents, while holiday periods can see the population swell to more than 10,000.

    Council, in conjunction with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and other authorities,
    have responded to local concern over sustainability of the area by helping to develop a pilot
    Neighbourhood Environment Improvement Plan (NEIP) for Anglesea. Council has been
    integral to the process providing facilitation, staffing, office space and funds and are seen as a
    leading partner in the process.

    The objectives of the pilot NEIP are: building community capacity; protecting Anglesea’s
    natural ecological values; identifying and developing strategies to reduce Anglesea’s ecological
    footprint; and sharing the learning of the pilot NEIP with others.

    An Anglesea Leadership Group has been formed, consisting of half project partners including
    council and half local residents who are actively engaged in the NEIP process. Under the
    NEIP, Anglesea has become a Cool Community with the Australian Greenhouse Office. Thirty
    households have had training to conduct their own water, energy and waste audits. They are
    now eligible for up to $800 worth of water and energy saving products. Several households are
    now converting to solar hot water services and installing water tanks while many others are
    making a variety of changes around their homes. Another recent NEIP outcome has been a
    commitment to making Anglesea a plastic bag-free town.

    A draft submission of the NEIP will soon be submitted to the EPA and the process of
    community education and capacity building is ongoing.

    Contact Details
    Craig McKiernan, Surf Coast Shire Council, 03 5261 0553, cmckiernan@surfcoast.vic.gov.au


    4.2      City of Boroondara – Community Environment Actions 2003/04
    The City of Boroondara is a predominantly residential municipality located in Melbourne’s inner
    and middle eastern suburbs. Twelve suburbs are home to over 148,500 residents. Council is
    committed to preserving and enhancing the environment for future generations. The following
    is a brief description of sustainability programs directed at the community in 2003 and 2004.

           Boroondara Pre-School in Balwyn North won Boroondara’s Water Conservation
             Competition. The mayor presented a voucher for $1000 to fund the installation of a
             rainwater tank in their new play area, to make water conservation a central feature of
             the pre-schoolers’ activities. ARI Plastanks and council each provided $500 towards
             the prize.

           City of Boroondara has worked in partnership with the Department of Environment
             and Heritage and the Moreland Energy Foundation Ltd to complete energy
             assessments for 10 retail businesses in Boroondara. The assessments involved an
             energy bill analysis and a walk through audit looking at equipment and operations.
             The Department of Environment and Heritage funded the program. Implementation of
             all of the recommendations, at an investment cost of around $6,706, will provide
             annual energy and greenhouse emissions savings of around $5,606 and 68 tonnes
             Co2 per year. The payback period is approximately 1.2 years. Proprietors have
             committed to implement energy actions that have a payback period of one year or


MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                      Page 19
              less. A case study will be prepared for each business and the program will be
              evaluated in late 2004.

           A voucher scheme offering free indigenous plants to residents was well received with
             all 640 vouchers being issued within four weeks of the offer being advertised. As a
             result 3,200 indigenous plants will be claimed by residents to plant in their gardens, to
             increase habitat available to native animals.

           Council hosted a Green Gardeners greywater and rainwater session in March 2004,
             in partnership with Sustainable Gardening Australia and Melbourne Water. This was
             well attended by 50 local professional landscapers and nursery workers. The
             seminar detailed regulations relating to rainwater and greywater reuse.

           The first 450 households that downsized their household waste bin or purchased a
             green waste bin or compost bin after 27 April 2004 received two free compact
             fluorescent globes. This offer was made possible through a grant provided by the
             Australian Greenhouse Office. The program aimed to encourage residents to
             become more waste and energy wise. A sample of the participating residents will be
             contacted later in 2004 to gauge the success of the program.

           City of Boroondara hosted a World Environment Day 2004 lunch for Friends Groups
             to acknowledge the voluntary work of Boroondara's environmental Friends Groups.
             The lunch was attended by 32 members of the community and council staff who
             support the Friends Groups. Many guests expressed their gratitude to council for
             acknowledging their work.

    Contact Details
    Anne Tourney, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator, 03 9278 4532,
    Atourney@boroondara.vic.gov.au


    4.3      Buloke Shire Council – Donald Neighbourhood Environment Improvement
             Plan (NEIP)
    The Buloke Shire is located in north western Victoria, occupying an area of 8,000 square
    kilometres and with a population of 7,939 people. Agriculture is the primary source of both
    income and employment in the area, with grain production the major industry. Other forms of
    agriculture, small industry, retail and community sectors provide other employment and
    income.

    The Donald Neighbourhood Environment Improvement Plan (NEIP) centres on the township of
    Donald, which lies within the Avon-Richardson catchment in one of the most severely salinity-
    affected areas in north central Victoria. There are real threats to the town’s environmental
    assets and subsequently to its economic and social wellbeing.

    The Donald NEIP has been developed in recognition of the serious issues facing the area. The
    Buloke Shire Council has worked in partnership with the local community, other agencies and
    local industry to develop a proposal for the NEIP which is due to be submitted to the
    Environment Protection Authority this year. The proposal identifies the issues as well as the
    stakeholders who are interested in contributing to the process. When this has been approved,
    the Plan will be developed, which will identify specific roles and responsibilities for each of the
    stakeholders.




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                      Page 20
    Council has auspiced the proposal and will link the final plan into their strategies and
    operations as well as helping to facilitate the project between the various stakeholders. The
    NEIP is an excellent chance for local government to work with the local community to address
    environmental issues of importance to the community at the local level and significant
    groundwork has been covered in the proposal stage.

    Contact Details
    Kevin Spence, Landcare Coordinator, 0408 353 966 or Peter Rogers Buloke Shire Council 03
    5497 1300


    4.4      Shire of Campaspe - Environmental Rate Rebate
    The Shire of Campaspe is located 180km north of Melbourne with the Murray River as its
    northern boundary. It is home to around 36,300 residents who live in a number of townships or
    on farming properties.

    The shire is committed to environmental management and has taken a leadership position in
    relation to landcare. Their Environmental Rate Rebate program has been running for the last
    three years and is one of approximately 20 Victorian municipalities offering a similar scheme.
    The aim is to recognise landowners who practice environmentally responsible natural resource
    management and to encourage others to do so. Under the scheme, council offers a five per
    cent Environmental Rate Rebate for the completion of environmental works.

    Works that are eligible for the rebate include: the control of pest weeds and animals; planting
    locally native trees or shrubs; protecting and enhancing existing vegetation; managing and
    protecting natural waterways and wetlands; and erosion control works.

    In the previous two years, over 1000 landholders have taken up the rebate. Community
    consultation and audits have been undertaken across the shire to gauge ways in which the
    program can be improved. Community suggestions are currently being incorporated into the
    program, which is expected to significantly increase uptake of the scheme.

    Contact Details
    Sally Dickinson, Conservation Officer, 03 5481 2200


    4.5      City of Casey – Comingled Recycling
    The City of Casey stretches from the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, to a small section of
    coast along Western Port Bay and contains five distinct geographic regions. It is the fastest
    growing municipality in Victoria and third fastest in Australia, with an existing population of over
    205,000 expected to rise to 300,000 by 2020.

    Providing best practice kerbside recycling to such a fast growing municipality is not a simple
    task but the City of Casey has committed to a fully comingled mobile bin system, collected
    fortnightly. The change was prompted by the community’s demand for a system that is
    convenient, safe and environmentally friendly.

    The services were implemented as a direct result of council’s Waste Management Strategy
    Plan (2000), which was developed with community input that included surveys, phone calls,
    community briefings and was also guided by a community focus group.

    While the old system collected over 13,000 tonnes of recyclables per year, the new recycling
    system has seen this amount increase by 20 per cent with more than 16,000 tonnes of


MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                       Page 21
    recyclables collected per year. This is expected to increase as residents become more familiar
    with the system.

    Contact Details
    Michael Jansen, Team Leader Environmental Services, 03 9705 5200


    4.6      Cities of Darebin, Melbourne, Yarra, Moreland, Moreland Energy
             Foundation and energy supplier AGL - Community Power
    Community Power is a not-for-profit renewable energy buying group made up of the Cities of
    Darebin, Melbourne, Yarra, Moreland, Moreland Energy Foundation and energy supplier AGL.
    The objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions whilst achieving cost competitive prices
    and good consumer service for households, businesses and organisations within the partner
    council areas.

    The project was initiated by the City of Darebin in response to a proposal by a local community
    group. Community Power works on the principle of obtaining a better price and conditions
    through the increased purchasing power of a large group. The buying group builds in an
    optimal percentage of Green Power dependent on the savings achieved through the bulk
    purchase of conventional or ‘black’ electricity. There are now over 850 participants taking
    advantage of four contract options, which provide between 5% and 100% Green Power.

    Community Power also delivers ongoing energy management programs for group members,
    which include energy audits of homes and small businesses and education and awareness
    programs. Recent programs have included a series of three workshops held with a total of
    100 participants. Residents were given an audit form to complete at home that, once
    completed and returned, made them eligible for up to $50 worth of energy saving goods. This
    was designed to encourage residents to take responsibility for their actions while providing
    incentives and knowledge to reduce energy consumption. Funds have also been received for
    an energy assessor to undertake 50 household audits, available to residents interested in or
    already members of Community Power. The auditor examined past bills and energy
    appliances, completed a report and provided participants with up to $100 worth of energy
    efficient appliances and accessories.

    Contact Details
    AGL 1300 762 245 or Alex Tzikas, City of Darebin, 03 8470 8220
    http://www.communitypower.org/


    4.7      City of Darebin - Reservoir Civic Centre
    The City of Darebin is home to over 130,000 residents and is one of the largest, most diverse
    communities in Victoria. Bounded by Darebin Creek to the east and Merri Creek to the west,
    Darebin is located within 20 minutes of Melbourne Airport, the Melbourne CBD and Port of
    Melbourne.

    Environmental sustainability within the Darebin community is one of council’s major aims. The
    Reservoir Civic Centre, completed in August 2004, has been designed to provide for the needs
    of a diverse community based on triple bottom line principles and is growing into a key
    community educational resource around sustainable living.

    There is a strong emphasis in the design, construction and management of the new Centre
    and, on environmental sustainability with special consideration for energy efficiency, waste
    minimisation and water efficiency. This is in keeping with council’s commitment to the ‘Cities for


MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                     Page 22
    Climate Protection’ campaign and provides an excellent avenue for educating the community
    through leading by example.

    The building provides a tangible example of sustainable technologies that can be transferred
    into the homes of residents - which was one of the project’s key aims. Educational materials
    available at the Centre and through other council facilities emphasise these opportunities and
    encourage residents to pursue them. These include a touch screen explaining how the
    sustainable design features work and a series of brochures outlining steps the community can
    take towards sustainability in energy, water, materials, air quality and waste.

    Council also conducts tours through the building and since opening earlier this year, over
    10,000 people have visited the Centre including school groups, resident groups, individual
    residents, university students, architects and councillors from other municipalities.

    The project recently won the prestigious national Banksia Award for environmental excellence
    in leadership in sustainable buildings.

    Contact Details
    Emma Hopkins , 03 9230 4405, ehopkins@darebin.vic.gov.au


    4.8      Frankston City Council – Water Initiatives
    Frankston City Council is located in the outer southern suburbs of Melbourne with an estimated
    population of over 118,000. Council is committed to managing freshwater resources in a
    sustainable manner and has developed or endorsed a variety of programs to help community
    members become more efficient and responsible water users. These include:

    Savewater Awards – For the second successive year, Frankston City Council was a finalist in
    the Savewater Awards, recognising water saving initiatives at the community nursery and the
    Langwarrin Community Centre, both of which now utilise rainwater tanks in the operation of the
    facilities to generate significant water savings. Council was also recognised for the use of
    recycled water at four recreational facilities across the city.

    Water Campaign™ - In 2002, Frankston City Council made a formal commitment to become a
    participant in the ICLEI Water Campaign™. The Water Campaign provides a strategic
    framework to review the current management of freshwater resources, and how local
    government can contribute to the improved management of these resources within their own
    operations, across the municipality and the catchment. In February of 2004 council achieved
    Milestone One of this program.

    Smart Water Fund - Frankston City Council was recently successful in receiving a $50,000
    grant from the Smart Water Fund for implementation of a range of sustainable water resource
    practices in its two aquatic centres. Savings are estimated at 16 megalitres (million litres) of
    drinking quality water with a cost saving of $18,200 per annum. The project provides an
    opportunity for council to educate the community leading by example.

    Water Reuse Study – A feasibility study recently undertaken jointly with Melbourne Water and
    the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, has been completed to identify the potential for use of
    treated effluent in parks and gardens, industrial areas and new residential subdivisions.
    Council is now looking to deliver on the highest priority scheme identified through this process.

    Water Audits – Water audits and ongoing implementation of water saving recommendations
    are currently being undertaken for all major council facilities.


MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                     Page 23
    Waterwatch - The Waterwatch program is a national community based network that aims to
    involve community groups, schools and individuals in keeping waterways healthy, and to
    collect data to better manage the resource. Data is now being collected from creeks and
    wetlands within Frankston City Council. Once the baseline data has been collected, council will
    record this information and use it for prioritising actions, which may be required to address
    water quality issues within the catchment area. Findings will also assist council with the
    development of environmental performance indicators for Frankston City Council.

    GreenPlumbers™ - Developed by the Master Plumbers and Mechanical Services Association
    of Australia, the program is delivered in partnership with local government. A series of
    workshops have been designed to enhance plumbers' skills and knowledge about the
    environmental considerations of their work. The first series of workshops was held in Frankston
    City Council in 2001. These training opportunities place plumbers in a better position to advise
    and inform consumers on topics such as: the benefits of energy efficiency; water conservation;
    solar hot water; and the most appropriate and cost effective appliances to suit individual needs.
    The program has the potential to deliver real benefits to the environment with long-term
    community reductions in water usage and greenhouse gas emissions.

    GreenGardeners – This program is an inititiave of Melbourne Water delivered in partnership
    with council and Sustainable Gardening Australia. Frankston City Council hosted the first series
    of workshops in July 2003. The GreenGardeners program provides training and advice to local
    nursery and landscape industry members on the issues of sustainable gardening practices.
    Over three evening workshops participants undergo up to six hours of training on issues that
    include: sustainable design principles; soil health and natural soil improvers; responsible plant
    selection; chemicals and alternatives; water conservation and stormwater runoff reduction. The
    program continues to expand industry training and recognises the important role that
    landscapers and nursery staff can play in providing the community with good advice on
    sustainable gardening practices.

    In additon to the targeted programs already highlighted, council also educates the community
    through seminars, an environmental newsletter, fact sheets, and tips and links to other
    organisations.

    Contact Details
    Mark Batty, Environmental Coordinator, 03 9784 1888


    4.9      Macedon Ranges Shire Council – Community Run Bus Service
    Located within an hour's drive north west of Melbourne, the Macedon Ranges Shire Council is
    known for its semi-rural lifestyle, natural features such as Hanging Rock, and local heritage
    townships. It is home to a population of over 38,000 people.

    A growing population over the last 25 years led to an increased need for public transport in the
    early 1980s. In response to this need, council and local residents worked together to form car
    and bus pooling cooperatives that travelled to Melbourne daily. Council took out a loan to
    purchase buses, which has now been fully repaid by weekly payments from the cooperatives
    responsible for operations. Boosting the regions public transport aims to reduce greenhouse
    gas emissions.

    While this is an excellent example of council working with the community to seek positive social
    and environmental outcomes, changes in transport services over the last few years have given



MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                    Page 24
    rise to conflict between new public bus services and the original community cooperative
    services.

    Contact Details
    Muir Calderwood, Lansfield and Romsey Commuter Bus, 03 5425 5505 or
    Bronwyn Machin , Macedon Ranges Getting Around Project Officer, 0417 130 885
    bronwenm@macedon-ranges.vic.gov.au


    4.10     Manningham City Council – Sustainable Schools Program
    The Manningham City Council is located 12 kilometres east of Melbourne's Central Business
    District. The boundaries of the city are the Yarra River to the north and Koonung Creek to the
    south. The Mullum Mullum Creek divides the municipality, with rural-residential environments to
    the east and essentially residential areas to the west. Eleven suburbs are home to a
    community of more than 110,000 people.

    Manningham City Council has allocated $10,000 per annum for the next three years to support
    five schools participating in the Sustainable Schools Program run by the Gould League. Each
    school will undertake an introductory unit and then work through a 10-step process of setting
    and achieving goals in the areas of biodiversity, waste, energy and water use. The project will
    assist Manningham City Council to engage with the community on sustainability issues and is
    half way through its first year.

    Contact Details
    Subash Nanoo, Waste Officer, 03 9846 0578 or Pat Armstrong, Gould League, 03 9556 9028


    4.11     Maroondah City Council – Waste Education
    The Maroondah City Council is a well established municipality in the outer east of Melbourne.
    Blending both city and country it has a balance of established neighbourhoods, new suburban
    developments and green spaces. The current population is over 100,000.

    As part of the Maroondah's Waste Management Program, council offers a range of special
    education programs. These include guided tours of the recycling facility, as well as educational
    sessions and materials on waste minimisation, composting, recycling and litter for schools and
    community groups.

    Maroondah City Council recently became a part of the WasteWise program aimed at
    minimising, reusing and recycling materials. Council also conduct annual audits of household
    waste to examine the composition of domestic waste and identify the contamination rate and
    recovery rate for recyclable materials. The audits help to inform future community waste
    education programs.

    Contact Details
    Clare Wolinski, Waste Management Officer, 03 9703 5226


    4.12     Moreland Energy Foundation Ltd
    The municipality of Moreland is located in the inner north of Melbourne, spanning 12 highly
    developed suburbs. As home to more than 137,000 residents, Moreland has one of the
    highest population densities of any metropolitan local government area.




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                    Page 25
    Council established the Moreland Energy Foundation Ltd (MEFL) after the forced sale of
    council owned electricity retailers and it is the first independent, locally based organisation
    devoted entirely to reducing community greenhouse emissions. A variety of techniques are
    used to help both the Moreland community as well as other localities to become more energy
    smart. These include education, practical assistance, research and innovation, financial
    support, partnerships and advocacy.

    Current community based projects include the:

            ‘Kinda Cooling Project’ working with the Brunswick Kindergarten to assist the
              development of an energy efficient cooling plan for the main building, whilst also
              raising awareness of energy and greenhouse issues with the kindergarten
              community.

            ‘Home Energy Star Program,’ which works one-on-one with 85 Moreland households.
              Participating households receive a home energy audit to identify areas of potential
              energy savings and greenhouse gas reduction. They are then supported over the
              following year in addressing the recommendations and achieving potential energy
              savings.

            ‘Phoenix Fridge Program’ collects old and under-utilised fridges from community
              members and turns them into energy-efficient appliances for redistribution to low-
              income households. The program is seen as an opportunity to increase social equity
              while responding to some critical environmental issues.

            ‘Small Business Energy Action.’ In conjunction with the Northern Alliance for
              Greenhouse Action (Cities of Moreland, Banyule, Darebin, Hume, Whittlesea and
              Nillumbik Shire), MEFL is currently managing the Business Energy Action retrofit
              program for small businesses. Businesses within the partner municipalities who
              undertake an energy assessment are eligible for matching funding for energy
              efficiency projects identified.

            ‘Home Energy Action.’ Another project with the Northern Alliance for Greenhouse
              Action involved training around 180 residents from the partner municipalities to
              undertake household energy audits. The residents were then encouraged to conduct
              audits on the houses of their neighbours and friends.

    Contact Details
    Moreland Energy Foundation Ltd, 03 9381 1722, talktous@mefl.com.au


    4.13     City of Melbourne – Travel Smart
    The City of Melbourne is Victoria’s business, administration, cultural and recreational hub.
    Twelve suburbs are home to over 52,000 residents with predictions of strong population growth
    as more people choose to live close to the city centre.

    The City of Melbourne has worked for several years to encourage greenhouse friendly travel
    amongst workers in the CBD. From 1999 to 2002, council worked in partnership with
    Environment Victoria’s Smogbusters Program on the Travelling Green project to address staff
    travel patterns at Australia Post and Fosters Brewing Group work places. The focus of the
    project was to design actions that reduce travel by staff in private vehicles to and from work
    and to encourage a greater use of public transport and less greenhouse intensive transport
    modes such as cycling and walking.


MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                     Page 26
    In 2002, the project was funded by the State Government’s Travel Smart program. Through the
    current Travel Smart program, council is working with the Department of Infrastructure and
    several businesses including the National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Telstra.
    Thousands of staff members are involved, which means strong reductions in greenhouse gas
    emissions. The project will be expanded next year to include businesses on St Kilda Rd.

    Contact Details
    Robyn Evans, 03 9658 8735, robeva@melbourne.vic.gov.au


    4.14     City of Melbourne - Trial ‘Greensaver’ Efficiency Program
    The City of Melbourne is Victoria’s business, administration, cultural and recreational hub.
    Twelve suburbs are home to over 52,000 residents with predictions of strong population growth
    as more people choose to live close to the city centre.

    The City of Melbourne is trialing a new "Greensaver" program, designed to reduce energy and
    water consumption in residential areas. Working with City West Water and Green Plumbers,
    400 households in North Melbourne and Kensington have the chance to pay $40 (once a
    rebate has been subtracted) to have a registered Green Plumber come to their homes to
    conduct a water and energy audit. Inefficient energy and water use can cost the average
    household up to $600 every year. Residents will be given advice from the plumber on reducing
    water and energy consumption and overall long-term running costs.

    Contact Details
    City of Melbourne, 03 9658 9658


    4.15     Mildura Rural City Council - Water Management
    Mildura is a vibrant regional centre on the banks of the Murray River in north western Victoria
    with a growing population of more than 49,000 residents.

    A series of Mildura Rural City Council water management initiatives, including community
    prizes, has seen water usage drop significantly by 221 Olympic sized swimming pools for the
    2003-04 financial year, compared with the same period in 2002-03. Up to $6,500 prize money
    across various categories will reward water saving innovation and water-use efficiency in the
    community, encouraging residents to promote and develop water saving measures.

    Council is also working alongside community to construct water efficient gardens, parks,
    median strips and roundabout features with local, drought tolerant plant species suited to the
    arid conditions.

    Contact Details
    Mildura Service Centre, 03 5018 8100, www.mildura.vic.gov.au


    4.16     Moreland - Sustainability Streets
    Sustainability Streets is a simple but powerful idea that increases sustainable practices through
    community capacity building. Developed by environmental educator Vox Bandicoot and
    Environs Australia – the Local Government Environment Network, the project has been taken
    up by a number of Victorian municipal councils.




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                     Page 27
    The central idea is that communities come together, learn about ecological sustainability and
    then work to assist or teach other individuals or communities. Councils work collaboratively
    with the community, Vox Bandicoot and Environs Australia, playing an integral role in building
    community support and providing resources, information, staff and facilities. There are
    currently 10 Victorian councils engaged in the project and their local communities have
    embraced the process.

    The first Sustainability Street program in Australia was formed around five streets in Moreland,
    close to the heart of Coburg and has met with strong community support and enthusiasm. The
    first year involved intensive community training with monthly meetings held on issues of water,
    waste, energy and biodiversity. Local skills and knowledge were utilised, with workshops held
    at residents’ houses. Other methods of knowledge sharing and community building have
    included picnics and a street parade.

    After the first year of training, with strong involvement from council and the other partners, the
    program was designed to move towards greater community ownership. A core of committed
    locals now meet regularly to plan projects and share information and have recently become
    incorporated. They have established a community fund and are in the process of developing a
    community garden in the area. Feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive
    with reports of greater engagement with and understanding of sustainability issues and an
    enhanced sense of community.

    There are now 10 Victorian councils engaged in the program and many more have expressed
    keen interest.


    Contact Details
    Environs Australia, Ground Floor, 60 Leicester St, Carlton Victoria 3053
    Ph: (03) 9347 5344, info@environs.org.au or
    Vox Bandicoot, 5 Railway Place, Fairfield Victoria 3078
    Ph: 9489 0855, voxbandicoot@vicnet.net.au , www.sustainabilitystreet.org.au


    4.17     Mornington Peninsula Shire Council - Litter Education
    The Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is located on the fringe of Melbourne’s outer southern
    suburbs. In 2001, the total population of the municipality was estimated at over 132,700
    people.

    Council’s draft Stormwater Management Plan identified that a multi-faceted approach to
    addressing the threats to water quality was necessary. In order to achieve this a Litter
    Reduction and Education program was undertaken which included community education,
    installation of gross pollutant traps, implementation of council's draft Environmental
    Management System, together with its advocacy role to State and other agencies. With
    installation of all gross pollutant traps there was extensive community publicity.

    Measuring the yield of litter from the gross pollutant traps will be used to gauge the success of
    behavioural programs. Products forming part of the education campaign included drink bottles,
    frisbees and bookmarks with the logo Bin it or Swim In It. The program was funded by EPA
    Victoria as part of the Victorian Stormwater Action Program 2001-02.

    Contact Details
    Paul Healy, 03 5986 0274



MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                      Page 28
    4.18     Mornington Peninsula and Westernport Biosphere Project
         The Biosphere is a UNESCO program that has been established in around 400 regions
         worldwide and is rapidly gaining profile in Australia. Biospheres serve as 'living
         laboratories' for testing and demonstrating integrated management of land, water and
         biodiversity. Each biosphere reserve is intended to fulfil three basic functions, which are
         complementary and mutually reinforcing:

     A conservation function - to contribute to the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems,
       species and genetic variation;
     A development function - to foster economic and human development, which is socio-
       culturally and ecologically sustainable; and
     A logistic function - to provide support for research, monitoring, education and information
       exchange related to local, national and global issues of conservation and development.

    The Mornington Peninsula and Westernport Biosphere Project is a community-based initiative
    that has gained endorsement from all levels of government. There are five councils located
    within the Biosphere who have all signed on to a Board of Directors which is also made up of
    other levels of government and community members.

    The project, in operation since December 2003, is relatively new but has already lead to a
    close connection between local government and community, providing a forum for networking
    and information sharing.

    The Biosphere Reserve offers an important opportunity for local communities and their
    governing bodies to work together to reconcile the conservation of natural resources with their
    sustainable use.

    Contact Details
    Amy McDonald, 03 5982 9650, mcdoa@mornpen.vic.gov.au


    4.19     Shire of Nillumbik - Green Waste Collection
    The Shire of Nillumbik is located less than 25 kilometres north east of Melbourne and has the
    Yarra River as its southern boundary and Kinglake National Park to the north.
    Over 58,000 residents live in close knit communities, which range from typical urban settings to
    remote bush properties.

    The Shire of Nillumbik has committed to a policy targeting zero landfill by implementing the
    ‘GRO (green, recycled, other) waste management system in August 2003. A three-bin system
    was introduced to increase the amount of material being recycled and therefore divert waste
    from landfill. Under the new system, Green waste including food scraps and garden materials,
    is collected by council contractors and converted into bulk or bagged compost before being
    sold back to the community through local nurseries, where it is used to enhance gardens and
    aid in water conservation. The Recycle bin has moved to a full comingled service, meaning a
    greater range of items including paper and cardboard are accepted. As a result, the contents
    of the Other bin have decreased, reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.
    The system encourages community members to engage with concepts of resource
    consumption and waste minimisation and to think about ways they can work towards more
    environmentally sustainable behaviours.
    Contact Details
    Tamara Allen, Resource Conservation Planner, 03 9433 3219

MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                      Page 29
    4.20     Nillumbik Shire Council - Land Management Incentive Programs
    The Shire of Nillumbik is located less than 25 kilometres northeast of Melbourne and has the
    Yarra River as its southern boundary and Kinglake National Park to the north. Over 58,000
    residents live in close knit communities, which range from typical urban settings to remote bush
    properties.

    To assist Shire of Nillumbik residents address land management issues and protect and
    enhance biodiversity, council offers a range of programs to provide assistance and financial
    incentives. These programs include:

           Sustainable Agricultural Rebate
           The Sustainable Agricultural Rebate program provides landowners with a rate rebate to
           undertake or maintain specified works on their property to improve land and water
           resources, and address problems of land degradation.

           Landcare Support Grants
           The Landcare Support Grants program provides locally based incorporated Landcare
           groups with grants of up to $2500 to develop and implement projects addressing land
           degradation issues and/or those protecting and enhancing biodiversity.

           Biodiversity Enhancement Program
           The Biodiversity Enhancement Program encourages landowners to protect and enhance
           Nillumbik’s biodiversity, in particular native vegetation and habitat for fauna, through
           permanent protection and biodiversity enhancement works. The program has two
           components: rate rebates for landowners who have placed a Trust for Nature
           conservation covenant on their property; or the grants program which provides funding
           for landowners in environmentally significant areas to undertake biodiversity
           enhancement works.

    The Shire of Nillumbik also runs regular courses and workshops to assist residents in planning
    and enhancing their property's natural values. A Property Management Planning Course is
    conducted biannually and regular workshops are held on bush land management, rabbit control
    and plant identification. This six-session course is held over five weeks to assist landowners in
    the development of a Property Management Plan. The course aims to assist landowners to
    identify management issues, develop long-term objectives and determine planned
    improvements. An aerial photograph of a landowner's property is provided as part of the course
    fee.

    A series of workshops focusing on Living in Nillumbik and Sustainable Living are held
    throughout the year at Edendale Farm Community Environment Centre. The workshops
    include guest speakers, walks, talks, hands-on activities and lots more. Topics range from
    managing bushland and identifying plants, to minimising energy in the home.

    Contact Details
    Narelle Liepa, 03 9433 3214

    4.21     City of Port Phillip - Inkerman Oasis
    The City of Port Phillip is located on the northern shore of Port Phillip Bay, south of the
    Melbourne Central Business District. It is home to over 78,000 residents who are dispersed
    between seven neighbourhoods.



MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                    Page 30
    The internationally acclaimed Inkerman Oasis is a sustainable community housing
    development resulting from collaboration between the City of Port Phillip and Inkerman
    Developments Pty Ltd. Located in St Kilda, the 236 apartments incorporate a range of passive
    and active sustainable design principles and demonstrate how a relatively high density of
    housing can be achieved whilst retaining open space and avoiding tower buildings.

    The development marks the first time in Australia that greywater and stormwater in a high-
    density development will be recycled for irrigation and toilet flushing. Other sustainable design
    features include optimum solar access for living areas; energy/resource efficient appliances
    and fixtures; solar hot water for 16 of the community housing units; solar communal lighting;
    roof gardens and native plant landscaping; bicycle shed; non-mechanical ventilation of a
    majority of the sub-basement car park and cross flow; and ventilation shafts in buildings to
    increase natural ventilation and minimise mechanical ventilation.

    The Inkerman Oasis development has been awarded the UN Association of Australia World
    Environment Day Award 2000; the Stockholm Partnership for Sustainable Cities Award 2002;
    and the Greenhouse Building Nomination 2002.

    Contact Details
    City of Port Phillip, 03 9209 6777, www.portphillip.vic.gov.au


    4.22     City of Port Phillip - Sustainable Living At Home
    The City of Port Phillip is located on the northern shore of Port Phillip Bay, south of the
    Melbourne Central Business District. It is home to over 78,000 residents who are dispersed
    between seven neighbourhoods.

    Sustainable Living at Home (SLAH) is a six-month community environmental education
    program launched by City of Port Phillip in 2001. The program was designed to empower local
    residents to act cooperatively with their neighbours to reduce their impact on the environment.

    The Port Phillip community has enthusiastically supported the program, with participation rates
    increasing steadily each year. The program delivers ongoing environmental benefits through
    significantly reduced levels of resource consumption, waste and pollution for the participating
    households. At the same time, it promotes the creation of strong and positive neighbourhood
    relationships, leading to a more supportive, responsible and healthy local community.

    SLAH is offered to residents as a free program and has proven to be an excellent model to
    provide an avenue for community social interaction and community building, provide a link
    between environmental community groups and residents, encourage resource use behaviour
    change, and to collect resource consumption and change data.

     An integral aspect of the SLAH program is the setting of sustainability objectives against which
    progress and achievements can be measured for the community and each household.
    Sustainability objectives are developed for both the SLAH program and individual participants.

    In developing individual household action plans participants are guided in setting achievable,
    yet challenging, sustainability objectives linked to the five main environmental SLAH themes -
    waste, water, purchasing, travel and energy. The goals should include short, medium and long-
    term targets.




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                      Page 31
    The SLAH sustainability objectives are: 15 per cent reduction in water usage; 30 per cent
    reduction in waste; 10 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; and 60 per cent
    participation in SLAH events.

    The City of Port Phillip collects both qualitative and quantitative data from residents involved in
    the program and results have been encouraging.

    The opportunity for social interaction was unanimously stated as one of the good aspects of
    SLAHminars. This confirms the value of the program in developing community links as well as
    delivering environmental benefits.

    The budget to deliver the program can be increased or decreased depending on the materials
    and activities offered to participants as incentives. The City of Port Phillip has created
    community and commercial partnerships to successfully implement the program.

    Contact Details
    Susan Gregory, 03 9209 6382, www.portphillip.vic.gov.au/slah.html


    4.23     Greater Shepparton City Council – Improved Bicycle Network and ‘Cycle
             Instead’ Program
    Located in the Goulburn Valley, Greater Shepparton City Council has a population of over
    59,000 residents and is the fourth largest provincial centre in Victoria.

    In November 2000, council developed a Bicycle Strategy aimed at building upon existing
    bicycle infrastructure, identifying priority bicycle routes and developing an implementation plan.
    The Strategy was developed in consultation with the community and objectives recognise the
    importance of bicycle infrastructure for increased community participation in cycling. This has
    been implemented over subsequent years with funding from council and VicRoads. Improved
    bicycle infrastructure is in line with council’s commitment to the Cities for Climate Protection
    program and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% below 1999 levels by 2010.

    To engage the community, Greater Shepparton City Council and Bicycle Victoria entered into a
    partnership to promote cycling. During a two-month trial period, with funding from the State
    Government, the ‘Cycle Instead’ project aimed (and exceeded) to replace 50,000 vehicle trips
    by bicycle trips. Using a mix of mass media, community events and rewards, council was able
    to engage community members. Surveys taken before and after the program showed that
    during the trial there was a decrease of 173,687 car trips; a greenhouse gas abatement of 256
    tonnes, an increase of 95,071 cycling trips and a significant number of residents said that the
    campaign had encouraged them to ride more or consider alternatives to driving.

    Greater Shepparton City Council’s commitment to increased bicycle use in the community is an
    excellent example of a rural council responding to environmental and health issues normally
    considered urban problems. Shepparton was voted Best Regional Council by Bicycle Victoria
    in 2002.

    Contact Details
    Kevin Jones, Manager Design Services, 03 5832 9700 or Roger Smith, Manager Infrastructure
    Planning and Major Projects, 03 5832 9820, www.shepparton.vic.gov.au




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                       Page 32
    4.24     Greater Shepparton City Council - Goulburn Broken Urban Stormwater
             Awareness and Training
    The Goulburn Broken Urban Stormwater Awareness and Training Project is a council initiative,
    which involves the employment of a project officer to coordinate all stormwater education and
    training activities in the Goulburn Broken catchment. The project has four main components
    aimed at reducing the impact of stormwater pollution entering the Goulburn and Broken Rivers
    and tributaries: a community education program; industry workshops and audits; assistance for
    councils; and education and training targeting the construction industry.

    Council introduced a local law in 2003 to control sediment loads to waterways and has been
    running a targeted education program to help the construction industry understand its legal
    requirements under the law. Merchandise, site visits, and media advertising have all been
    utilised. The campaign has been designed to also educate the wider public and has been
    extended to reach school children. EPA Victoria has funded it as part of the Victorian
    Stormwater Action Program 2003-04 in addition to funding from councils within the catchment.
    Greater Shepparton City Council has assisted the Mitchell and Moira Shires who have limited
    funds by allowing them to add their logos to advertising for a nominal fee.

    Contact Details
    Martin Harrop, 03 5832-983


    4.25     Cities of Moonee Valley and Port Phillip - Smogbusters – Way to School
    An initiative of Environment Victoria (EV), Smogbusters - Way to School has worked with the
    Cities of Moonee Valley and Port Phillip to encourage students, parents, and the broader
    school community to consider the implications of motor vehicle travel particularly to and from
    school.

    Three primary schools from each municipality were chosen to receive a Way to School
    information kit as well as presentations from council staff and EV representatives. Baseline
    studies were conducted of usual modes of travel and distance covered. After six months the
    Smogbusters Day of Change was held where students were encouraged to minimise car use
    and seek alternative forms of transport such as walking, bicycle riding or public transport.
    Studies comparing the amount of car travel on the Day of Change showed between 20 and 30
    per cent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

    Councils were integral to the success of the program providing funding, staffing and facilitation
    of the program. As a result of the past successes, three additional councils have signed on
    with more expressing interest.

    Contact Details
    Rachel Carlisle, Sustainable Transport Coordinator, Environment Victoria
    03 9341 8107, rachel.carlisle@envict.org.au, http://www.waytoschoolkit.infoxchange.net.au/


    4.26     City of Whittlesea – Walking School Bus
    The City of Whittlesea is a rapidly growing municipality located in Melbourne's outer northern
    suburbs. The current population of 124,000 is predicted to increase steadily. With over half the
    residents from non-English speaking backgrounds, the area is culturally diverse.

    The community based Walking School Bus program encourages students to walk rather than
    drive to school, promoting healthy, environmentally sustainable and safe transport options. One
    to two adult volunteers walk with a group of primary school children to and from school. The


MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                     Page 33
    participating students are picked up and dropped off at their house and walk along a specified
    route.

    The Program began in 2002 with four primary schools. Additional funding from VicHealth (the
    Victorian Health Promotion Foundation) in 2003 enabled council to work with a new group of
    schools. Council is currently negotiating further funding and there are now five schools
    participating. The Program is managed by council’s Health Promotion department and in
    addition to meeting the objectives of the city’s Health Promotion Plan it also meets those of
    council’s Transport Strategy and the Cities for Climate Protection Program.

    The program provides an excellent example of inter-sectoral and community cooperation
    bringing positive outcomes in a variety of areas including greenhouse abatement, alternatives
    to car-based transport, stronger communities and health benefits.

    Contact Details
    Louise Juracich, 03 9217 2170, www.whittlesea.vic.gov.au


    4.27     City of Yarra - High-rise Recycling Program
    The City of Yarra is located immediately north east of Melbourne’s Central Business District.
    The urban geography and land use are incredibly diverse, with tracts of natural bush land,
    three major watercourses - the Yarra River and the Darebin and Merri Creeks, and a large
    mixture of inner urban residential, industrial and commercial buildings. Social housing and a
    rapidly gentrifying housing stock are home to over 69,000 residents.

    The City of Yarra, in conjunction with the Office of Housing and the North Richmond Tenants
    Association, has developed an award winning recycling program for a high-rise estate in
    Richmond. Richmond Public Housing Estate is home to approximately 1,660 families. A high
    turnover of tenants and large proportion of non-English speakers means that promoting and
    explaining the system is a complex task. However, the program has continued to expand with
    around 100 bins of recyclable plastics and glass collected each month.

    In addition to recycling, other activities have been instigated that make a positive contribution to
    the environment. These include running ‘waste-wise at home’ workshops for tenants (covering
    waste, energy and water minimisation practices) and working with the Cultivating Community
    Group to support composting and worm farming for the estate’s gardeners.

    The latest venture will see a car wash service established on the estate. The water used for the
    project will be recycled from bathrooms and kitchens of the apartment blocks. Any residual
    water from the car wash will be filtered again and used to water the gardens. Income gained
    will then be channelled back into other Tenant Association projects.

    Contact Details
    Carmela Parris, 03 9205 5093, ParrisC@yarracity.vic.gov.au


    4.28     Shire of Yarra Ranges - Birdsland Environmental Education Centre
    The Shire of Yarra Ranges is located in Melbourne's outer east, between 30 and 110
    kilometres east of the Melbourne GPO. Nine wards are home to over 137,100 people who live
    in one of a number of suburbs or rural localities.

    The Birdsland Environmental Education Centre is a council initiative aimed at ‘working with the
    community to provide environmental education that actively encourages sustainable living’. A


MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                       Page 34
    variety of programs are run with an emphasis on fun and practical hands-on learning.
    Programs are tailored to suit the individual needs of schools or community groups and are a
    springboard for groups wanting to learn more about biodiversity, WaterWatch, Sustainable
    Schools Program and Waste Wise Schools.

    The centre is an eco-friendly building incorporating worm farms, solar panels, wind generator,
    composting toilets, frog bogs, native grass gardens and more. Programs are based around five
    broad topics: biodiversity, waste minimisation, sustainable energy, earth education and water.
    Since the opening in 2000, thousands of students and community members have participated
    in the programs and active community participation has been encouraged through a community
    committee and an education sub-committee. Council recently won a WasteWise award in
    recognition of the community education achieved through Birdsland and other council
    initiatives.

    Contact Details
    Shire of Yarra Ranges 1300 368 333, Marianne Hack 03 9294 6215, Birdsland Centre 03 9752
    5893, www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                  Page 35
5. OPPORTUNITIES AND BARRIERS FOR LOCAL GOVENRMENT
The following chapter suggests a number of opportunities and barriers operating at the local level
when considering the work of local government with sustainable communities. It also examines
suggestions for improving community based environment approaches and avenues for increasing
the effectiveness and participation of individuals and households.

    5.1        Opportunities
    Local government is well placed to work with communities and households on
    sustainability.

            Councils already work closely with their community and are already leading by example
              in many areas such as water, energy and waste management.

            Council support messages at a local level and in a local context.

            Councils have pre-existing community linkages through a range of environment, health,
              welfare and community development programs.

            Single-issue topics (water energy etc) often integrate with other council sustainability
              messages and education programs.

            Integrates with local planning and building responsibilities.

            Councils are often local employers, and can impact on individuals and households
              through their own workforce.

    5.2        Barriers
    Some of the issues facing local government in its role with community sustainability
    include:

           Limited funds and resources available to run effective wide scale education/awareness
             campaigns, and budgets compete with other demands (welfare, infrastructure).

           Community is socially, economically and culturally diverse - a range of campaigns
             targeting different parts of communities are often needed.

           Councils are often the first point of contact on a wide range of environment issues but
             may not have the technical skill in-house to answer.

           Sometimes regulatory frameworks confusing for local implementation (e.g. greywater).

           Education requirements for business community are different to those for residents.

    5.3        Community Environmental programs – Avenues to success
    The experience of local government in running community based environment programs is very
    valuable. Below are some of the comments and lessons learnt from the case studies.

    Realistic Funding and Timeframes
    Community environment projects are often reliant on external funding, which is short term in
    many cases. Excellent programs can be established but can fail to make long-term impacts
    upon communities because they tend to lack follow through. Communities usually need


MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                         Page 36
    extended reinforcement of behaviour change techniques before they become the norm.
    Therefore, projects need longer term planning and funding arrangements.

    Managerial support
    Most successful programs have required strong managerial support to succeed. This
    necessitates either an existing interest from management or strong lobbying from staff, which is
    reliant on adequate time and resources.

    Council Steward
    Many community based projects have one or two committed councillors who champion the
    cause within council. In order to succeed, they need adequate support and resources from
    within council or a strong enthusiasm that sometimes goes beyond the call of duty. Some
    councillors have expressed a need for more time or funding to support community involvement
    and commitment.

    Community Champion
    Many successful community environment projects have had a community champion who rallies
    the community and works closely with the council.

    Whole-of-Council Support
    Whole-of-council support is often very important for community environment programs to
    succeed. Many local government environment programs are reliant on a number of factors to
    succeed and cut across a range of departments. Some successful programs have worked
    between several departments rather than staying within the environment department. This is
    especially important when attempting to engage communities.

    Community Ownership
    Developing and facilitating community ownership of a local program is often vital, as it embeds
    the activity in the community. However, occasionally, when a community initiative becomes
    wholly owned by the community, it can work at odds with council agendas. Good community
    development approaches and partnership between council and community usually work best.

    5.4      Improving the links to Local Government

    Recognition of the role of local government
    State agencies need to engage fully with local government when delivering environment
    initiatives at the community or household level. Often local government is not included in early
    program design or implementation. As a result State programs often duplicate, conflict or do
    not align with local programs and regulation. A more structured and consultative approach to
    working with local government and local communities would achieve more effective community
    engagement in local environment initiatives.

    Improve local government resources and capacity
    Ongoing funding, or opportunities for local government to raise its own funds, are important for
    the long-term success of community environment programs managed through local
    government. Through the Local Sustainability Accord process in 2004 the MAV will be
    suggesting that legislative reform be considered that might give local government greater
    capacity to raise revenue for environmental programs. For example, NSW councils can raise
    an environment levy to fund local projects, after setting community priorities through a thorough
    community engagement process.

    Other opportunities exist to explore enhanced local government powers under State legislation
    such as the Environment Protection Act 1989 where in some areas councils can already issue


MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                    Page 37
      and retain fines, for example litter fines. Such approaches allow local governments to fund and
      manage important community level programs.

      5.5      Effective Community Change

      Develop integrative programs that combine action on energy, water, waste etc
      Traditionally there has been a tendency for State and Commonwealth agencies to approach
      the community and businesses on an individual issues basis. For example, targeting water
      conservation or energy conservation as separate issues. While these approaches often have
      merit and achieve success, household or business based programs that are integrative, that is,
      consider a number of issues concurrently are increasingly becoming popular.

      Good examples of integrative programs are the City of Port Phillip Sustainable Living at Home
      program and the Environs Australia Sustainability Streets program. Such programs are
      modelled on strong integrative, community development and behaviour changes principles.
      They allow individuals, households and business to approach the range of sustainability
      questions. They can also be more efficient for councils to manage, as they integrate across a
      number of issues and allow councils to achieve multiple goals such as improved recycling and
      greenhouse reduction.

      Develop improved behaviour change programs, not just information programs
      A strong trend in community environment programs is to develop programs based around
      community based social marketing (CBSM). This approach emphasises programs that target
      long lasting behaviour change rather than just providing information. The MAV EcoBuy
      Program has used CBSM approaches to excellent effect in developing green purchasing
      approaches in local government. Below is an excerpt from material by Doug McKenzie-Mohr,
      a Canadian expert in CBSM who has visited Melbourne and worked with local government a
      number of times.
         “When members of a community use resources wisely, for example by recycling or taking
         mass transit, a community moves toward sustainability. To promote sustainability, then, it is
         essential to have a firm grasp of how to effectively encourage individuals and businesses to
         adopt behaviors that are resource efficient. Most initiatives to foster sustainable behavior
         rely upon large-scale information campaigns that utilize education and/or advertising to
         encourage behavior change. While education and advertising can be effective in creating
         public awareness and in changing attitudes, numerous studies show that behavior change
         rarely occurs as a result of simply providing information (see Chapter 1 of the online guide at
         www.cbsm.com). Community-based social marketing is an attractive alternative to
         information based campaigns. Community-based social marketing is based upon research
         in the social sciences that demonstrates that behavior change is most effectively achieved
         through initiatives delivered at the community level which focus on removing barriers to an
         activity while simultaneously enhancing the activities benefits.” 6

      Develop strong evaluation and monitoring approaches to measure effectiveness
      Another strong emphasis in many community and local government environment programs is
      to develop strong evaluation and monitoring approaches to measure the effectiveness of the
      programs. At a community level, such evaluation and monitoring is often fairly complex, and
      much work still needs to be undertaken to improve and assist local government with such
      approaches. Often councils struggle to gain access to data sets held by State agencies, and to
      undertake appropriate methodologies for data analysis, at the correct scale. An emphasis on
      improved access and robust methodologies for community based programs is essential to
      ensure cost effective outcomes against environmental targets and goals.
6
    Doug McKenzie-Mohr, Quick Reference Guide, Community Based Social Marketing. See www.cbsm.com


MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                            Page 38
6. REFERENCES
Commonwealth of Australia (2002), Australian Bureau of Statistics, Report No. 4611.0
Environmental Expenditure, Local Government, Australia, 2000-2001

Doug McKenzie-Mohr, Quick Reference Guide, Community Based Social Marketing. See
www.cbsm.com

MAV Website at http://mav.asn.au/environment/environment.htm

Municipal Public Health Planning Framework. For further information see the Department of
Human Services website: www.dhs.vic.gov/au

Victorian Local Government Environment Management Survey 2002: Programs, Resources and
Management Approaches. Main Report. December 2002, MAV. Response rate 76/78 councils
(97%)

World Summit on Sustainable Development, Local Government Declaration, http://www.iula.org




MAV Submission – Sustainable Communities Inquiry                                 Page 39

								
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