SOUTHEAST QUEENSLAND IS LEADING CLIMATE INNOVATION
SUNSHINE Coast Council and Brisbane City Council took out top honours for their innovative climate solutions at the prestigious Cities Power Partnership Awards last night.
The Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership Awards recognise the work of climate heroes in local governments across the country who are transforming Australia’s energy landscape.
Awards host, ABC Fight for Planet A presenter Craig Reucassel congratulated the duo, noting that the winning projects were shining examples of innovation in a competitive field of entrants.
“It’s great to see two Queensland councils continue to take a bold, transformative approach to climate solutions despite being faced with the immediate challenge of COVID-19, bushfires and floods,” Mr Reucassel said.
Blue Heart Sunshine Coast, a joint conservation project pioneered by Sunshine Coast Council, the Queensland Government and Unitywater, was named Regional Innovation Project of the Year for its work to protect more than 5,000 hectares of former sugarcane agricultural land on a coastal floodplain.
The first-of-its-kind initiative aimed to restore the farmland and expand wetland reserves to store carbon dioxide in the soil, enhance the Maroochy River water quality and provide more recreational opportunities for locals and tourists to enjoy.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Blue Heart Sunshine Coast project was an innovative approach to securing opportunities for the future, and complemented the Council’s objectives in its Environment and Liveability Strategy.
“The project is a fantastic example of how the Council is working with its partners in taking action to identify risks and helping our community prepare for the impacts of a changing climate,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Blue Heart Sunshine Coast is one of our Council’s region-shaping projects. It seeks to provide environmental, social and economic co-benefits within the Maroochy River floodplain’s transitioning landscape.
“Our partnership is a long-term commitment and one that will continue to grow and build momentum at a regional, national and even international scale.”
Brisbane City Council took out the Metropolitan Innovation Project of the Year Award for its Metro Charging Strategy. The strategy would see the city roll out an Australian-first metro service with 60 new electric buses at the forefront of EV technology.
Brisbane Councillor Ryan Murphy said Brisbane Metro would be a key part of Brisbane’s greater transport network, connecting the city to the suburbs.
“By increasing the take-up of this fully electric public transport option, Council is pursuing its long-term vision for Brisbane to be recognised as a world leading clean and sustainable city,” Cr Ryan Murphy said.
“Through delivery of innovative solutions such as the Brisbane Metro, Council is addressing sustainability challenges and improving the quality of life for residents to ensure Brisbane is a low carbon and climate resilient city with the services and infrastructure to meet the needs of future generations.”
More than double the number of local governments entered the awards this year compared to last, showing how local governments are rising to the challenges of climate change, even in the difficult circumstances of 2020, and playing a vital role in Australia’s climate solution.
The Cities Power Partnership Awards celebrated outstanding work from local governments in the fields of renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport, community engagement and innovation as well as individual climate champion awards.
FULL LIST OF AWARD WINNERS
Renewable Energy Achievement Award
Winner: City of Melbourne (VIC) – Melbourne Renewable Energy Project 2
Highly commended: City of Cockburn (WA) – Leading the way in WA
Energy Efficiency Achievement Award
Winner: Shoalhaven City Council (NSW) – A ray of light still shines bright in the Shoalhaven
Sustainable Transport Achievement Award
Winner: Lake Macquarie Council (NSW) – EV Charging Strategy 2020-2032
Community Engagement Achievement Award
Winner: Inner West Council (NSW) – Go Solar
Innovation Award (metropolitan)
Joint Winner: Nillumbik Shire (VIC) – Hybrid solar and battery off-grid Community Stadium & Relief Centre
Joint Winner: Brisbane City Council (QLD) – Brisbane Metro Charging Strategy
Innovation Award (regional)
Winner: Sunshine Coast Council (QLD) – Blue Heart Sunshine Coast
Climate Ambassador Award (elected representative)
Winner: Mark Greenhill, Mayor, Blue Mountains City Council (NSW)
Highly commended: Belinda Coates, Deputy Mayor, City of Ballarat (VIC)
Climate Champion Award (council staff)
Winner: City of Yarra (VIC) – Sustainability Team