Overall Winner: Beechworth, Victoria
Beechworth, with a population of 4,566, won three of the nine categories and scored highly in the remaining six categories to become the deserving recipient of this year’s Keep Australia Beautiful Overall Australian Sustainable Communities – Tidy Towns Award.
The Beechworth Tidy Town Committee demonstrate their dedication to their community and sustainability as a priority all year round – every year!
Beechworth has become an outstanding example of a community demonstrating consultation and collaboration to implement and succeed with their undertakings.
Dame Phyllis Frost Litter Prevention
This award recognises innovation and achievements in litter prevention or reduction through education, effecting litter management or behaviour change.
WINNER: Beechworth, VIC
Beechworth’s first ‘Student Environment Day’ attracted almost 200 students from the Indigo Shire and garnered support of many passionate local supporters and groups. Participating students learnt about closing the loop, the impact of consumerism, upcycling materials, biodiversity and habitats, sustainability, renewable energy, water and land management and Indigenous culture.
The students were also able to practice being waste-wise by having a rubbish-free and water-wise lunch.
Resource Recovery and Waste Management Award
This award recognises innovation and achievements in recycling or waste reduction including initiatives that conserve resources or recover and re-use materials.
WINNER: Mount Gambier, SA
Mount Gambier has established a number of inspiring enterprises that enable the town to recycle effectively and reduce waste Including the popular annual ‘Recycled Runway’ event which sees fashion designers transform outdated clothing items into new stylish outfits and the Mount Gambier ReUse Market has reduced waste going to landfill by more than 100 tonnes since its opening in 2018.
To further its waste reduction efforts, Mount Gambier installed a polystyrene recycling machine at its Waste Transfer Station and to build awareness, Council staff conduct tours of waste facilities and deliver education programs for schools and community groups. The Council is also supporting Mount Gambier residents in diverting food waste by distributing almost 7,000 kitchen caddies as well as offering discounts on home composting equipment and initiating a food business organics trial.
Heritage and Culture Award
This award recognises outstanding commitment to the conservation and celebration of a community’s indigenous and non-indigenous heritage and culture.
WINNER: Nhulunbuy, NT
Nhulunbuy displays a strong focus on preserving, sharing and educating people about their rich culture and history through art; nature; reconnection with land, language and culture; as well as protection of historically significant artefacts.
Murals depict the heritage of Yolngu and Macassans people, as well as the town’s military history, mining and European settlement in the area. Walking trails showcase the town’s unique natural features and sites of historical significance, acknowledging and respecting the Yolngu culture.
The Arnhemland Historical Society collects, restores and displays historical artefacts, memorabilia and documents that record and provide evidence of the role Arnhemland and Gove played in history and the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation delivers programs to prepare the next generation of Yolngu landowners to care for their estates.
Young Legends Award
This award recognises achievements by an individual or 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.
INDIVIDUAL WINNER: Bella Burgemeister, Bunbury (WA)
The plight of the homeless in Bunbury posed a significant concern for Bella, who felt that they should at least have the ability to store their belongings safely. Together with the Bunbury Youth Advisory Council, Bella raised $3,000 for lockers, with the Council adding a further $30,000 to the endeavour. These funds allowed 24 lockers to be installed across three sites.
GROUP WINNER: Nhulunbuy Youth Council, Nhulunbuy (NT)
The Nhulunbuy Youth Council was formed in 2019 with the purpose to engage young people in Nhulunbuy Town Board’s decision-making processes and increase the Town Board’s understanding of young people’s perspectives and needs.
To date, members of the Youth Council have been greatly involved with traditional community events, as well as planning and facilitating very successful new events. The Youth Council also supports various sporting club activities, Nhulunbuy’s Cans and Bottle Recycling exchange for funds program and educational programs ranging from robotics to youth suicide.
The Nhulunbuy Youth Council demonstrates positive leadership mentoring to the young environmental and cultural champions in their local schools.
Environmental Sustainability – Energy Award
This award recognises leadership and innovation in energy conservation and management in the face of a changing environment.
WINNER: Beechworth, VIC
‘Totally Renewable Beechworth’ is a community initiative, with the goal for Beechworth and their postcode area to be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2030. The program has organised and partnered in community events and networks, led community conversations, raised awareness and delivered actions to achieve this goal.
A significant focus of Beechworth’s efforts is to decarbonise the energy used and secure reliable supply, providing options for owner occupiers, tenants and low-income households to participate and benefit from renewable energy.
The ‘Totally Renewable Beechworth’ initiative has demonstrated passion and drive, working as a whole community to proactively strive to meet their goal. By fostering partnerships and by working together, the town benefited as a whole.
Environmental Sustainability – Water Award
This award recognises leadership and innovation in water conservation and management for the future.
WINNER: Murrurundi, NSW
During the recently prolonged drought, Murrurundi was put on level 6 water restrictions that lasted more than 18 months. The Murrurundi Public School, with support from local organisations and groups developed and implemented several impressive projects.
One particular project was the installation of water harvesting solar panels, providing students with drinking water and the ability to refill their bottles at school. This is a significant environmental and cost saving to the school which was previously buying water for students and staff to drink.
Environmental Sustainability – Natural Environment Management Award
This award recognises the protection, conservation and enhancement of the natural environment.
WINNER: Gympie, QLD
The Gympie Region is in the enviable position of having several viable koala populations within its boundaries and with claims that over 25% of Koala habitat has been lost in Queensland as a result of this season’s fires, Gympie’s Koala ‘Habitat Protection Program’ is now of great importance.
Council adopted a Koala Conservation Management Plan to guide organisational and community action to ensure the long-term sustainability of Koala populations in the Gympie Region.
The program has been responsible for installing wildlife-friendly fencing that protects important natural areas while allowing fauna to move freely; undertaking surveys to verify koala populations; and using Koala Habitat Mapping to create koala habitat values overlay to ensure ecosystems supporting both koalas and other threatened species are protected.
Environmental Communication and Engagement Award
This award recognises outstanding achievements in raising awareness in environmental sustainability, leading to empowerment and behaviour change amongst the target audience.
WINNER: Beechworth, VIC
The Beechworth Festival of Change was a community-driven not-for-profit event designed to empower regional communities to take responsibility for their own futures and drive positive change towards a fair, just and sustainable world. The Festival had two key objectives: build change-making skills and build networks of change-makers.
The Festival philosophy centred on the ideal of giving, where new ideas could be taken back to communities to make a meaningful difference.
Under several themes, 36 events were on offer held at 10 venues throughout Beechworth to spread the economic benefits to local businesses and embed the Festival in the town.
Community Health, Wellbeing and Interest Award
This award recognises initiatives for the health and well-being of a community building a strong, healthy vibrant and accessible community.
JOINT WINNER: Wilmot, TAS
The community of Wilmot is made up of a group of people who demonstrate an enormous respect for their unique environment, their ancestry and for the well-being of those in their community.
Promoting a healthy lifestyle and caring for others is the core of what ‘drives’ the Wilmot community. The people of Wilmot have taken a serious approach to the needs of those in their midst and have created a strong, vibrant, extremely liveable community.
More recent initiatives see committees and groups formed covering an extensive variety of interests, activities and sports. Home grown and home cooked food and produce plays an important role for residents of Wilmot and is generously shared among the community!
JOINT WINNER: Bunbury, WA
The City of Bunbury’s Community Culture and Engagement team is all about the people and their wellbeing. The Team worked in conjunction with the Koombana Foreshore Redevelopment to deliver a key project: The ‘Beach Wheelchair Access and Foreshore Disability Installation’, which focuses on best practice with respect to disability access.
This project resulted in several innovative features including a graded concrete ramp and beach matting, two all-terrain beach wheelchairs available from the kiosk, a disability Friendly Change Room and wheelchair friendly BBQ’s and Tables along the foreshore.