The Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns Awards began in 1968 in Western Australia and have been running nationally since 1990.

These awards have evolved to encompass projects and initiatives with a focus on environmental sustainability and resource management to reflect a growing awareness of the importance of community-led environmental action.

The Tidy Towns name has always been synonymous with community pride, cohesion and above all community action. The awards reach beyond tourism to encourage, motivate and celebrate the sustainability achievements of grassroots rural and regional communities across Australia.

The finalists in the Australian Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns competition, who are largely volunteers, are some of the most dedicated, passionate and colourful people in all the Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Communities awards programs across the country. Year upon year we see a calibre of community action that allows all Australians to aspire to be tidy Aussies.

Each year, state and territory winners from the Keep Australia Beautiful network are announced between August and November. They then receive a visit from the Australian Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns judge, with the Awards presented between March and May.

The awards event, often hosted over two days, consists of networking with sustainability leaders around Australia, finalist presentations showcasing their entries, as well as highlights and suggestions from the Australian Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns judge. If the event is hosted by the town of the previous winner, attendees are invited to tour their projects, sustainable solutions and initiatives to learn firsthand what earned them the iconic Australian title.

In addition to a healthy dose of competition, the Australian Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns awards bring together community leaders, environmental champions, young legends and waste warriors from every corner of our great country to share experiences, learn from and inspire each other.

This is the true Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns spirit.

Background photo courtesy of Craig Bender & Vera Hong

National Judge – Gail Langley

Gail’s formal training lies in agriculture, banking, education, and counselling with international and Australian involvement in agriculture, building social rural entities, working as an Australian Counselling Association member dealing with children, youth, families and health within the school education system.

Gail has lived and worked in small rural and larger regional areas – working at different times on the land and professionally employed in towns.

She has held numerous positions for the local NSW Farmer organisation’s, was a Board Member on the local Lyndon House Drug & Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre and belonged to the local Aboriginal Education Council.

Previous judging experience includes judging for the Sydney Royal Agricultural Show Society in regional and rural areas. In turn, Gail is familiar with the other side of judging – being awarded 3 Carbon Cocky Awards in 2014: Finalist National Carbon Cocky of the Year, Outstanding Innovation/Invention and Outstanding Performance in Carbon Sequestration.

Award Categories

Dame Phyllis Frost Litter Prevention

This award recognises innovation and achievements in litter prevention or reduction through education, effective litter management or behaviour change. It is for projects or programs that reduce or prevent litter and could involve behaviour change techniques, the creation of partnerships or networks or the development of effective infrastructure and place design.

Resource Recovery and Waste Management

This award recognises innovation and achievements in recycling or waste reduction including initiatives that conserve resources or recover and re-use materials.

Heritage and Culture

This award recognises outstanding commitment to the conservation and celebration of a community’s indigenous and non-indigenous heritage and culture.

Young Legends

This award recognises achievements by an individual and group/s of young people (under 25) who have demonstrated significant commitment to the environment and/or have made significant contributions to any of the other categories.

Environmental Sustainability – Energy

This award recognises leadership and innovation in energy conservation and management in the face of a changing environment.

Environmental Sustainability – Water

This award recognises leadership and innovation in water conservation and management for the future.

Environmental Sustainability – Natural Environment Management

This award recognises the protection, conservation and enhancement of the natural environment (including waterways, flora, fauna, corridors, roadsides and recreation areas)

Environmental Communication & Engagement

This award recognises outstanding achievements in raising awareness in environmental sustainability, leading to empowerment and behavior change amongst the target audience. Open to projects from both formal and informal educational institutions egg community groups, business, childcare centres etc

Community Health, Wellbeing and Interest Award

This award recognises initiatives for the health and well-being of a community. (e.g. programs and interest groups for various age groups including sporting facilities, community gardens, cycling/walking trails, fitness programs, men’s sheds, lifestyle programs etc) building a strong, healthy vibrant and accessible community.

Overall Winner

All state winners automatically qualify to be considered for the Overall Tidy Towns Award. The Overall Winner is determined by the National Judge as a result of the assessment visit.

Guidelines for inclusion of existing and new programs.
  • A project should indicate if it is pre-existing – has been created in the past two years or if it is a new project.
  • If a project is older than two years – in order to be entered in a category, it needs to have had an improvement or something added to it to be re-entered.  (Information should be provided outlining the pre-existing project and what addition/improvement has been made to it in the past two years or has been commenced.