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Australia’s Greenest Cities

The Penrith City Council has taken home the prestigious Keep Australia Beautiful NSW Overall Sustainable Council Award for 2012 for their outstanding environmental plan ‘Sustainable Penrith – Working Towards a Sustainable City’. The announcement was made at last night’s Sustainable Cities Awards dinner, hosted by 2011 Overall Winners, Kogarah City Council and Keep Australia Beautiful NSW at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah.

Ryde City Council came in close behind, being named Runner Up for their ‘Sustainable Lifestyle and Opportunities at your Doorstep’ environmental plan, while North Sydney Council earned a Highly Commended for their ‘Sustainability at North Sydney Council’ plan.

The Overall Sustainable Council award, the final and most hotly contested of the evening was presented to Penrith City Council Mayor, Cr Greg Davies by Minister for Environment and Heritage, The Hon Robyn Parker MP. Penrith City Council beat other finalists Ryde City Council and North Sydney Council for the top honour. Sydney Water delivers the Sustainable Cities Awards alongside Keep Australia Beautiful NSW.

“Sydney Water is pleased to support the Sustainable Cities program and is impressed with the tremendous effort placed in sustainable initiatives by all participants,” said Sydney Water’s Managing Director, Kevin Young. “This partnership shows our commitment towards encouraging water solutions that improve the sustainability and liveability of the cities we service.”

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Minister for Environment & Heritage, Robyn Parker MP said the overall winner, ‘Sustainable Penrith – Working Towards a Sustainable City’ plan is Penrith City Council’s platform for building a strong, economically and environmentally sound future for the area.

“I am extremely pleased to be recognising the work of Penrith City Council, which is home to more than 180,000 people, with significant population growth expected in the future” said Minister Parker. “Penrith City Council actively promotes the local economy, implements a range of environmental protection and waste management initiatives and encourages a sense of personal responsibility among residents and their efforts have achieved whole-community results”.

“Penrith City Council has been able to deliver outstanding reductions in waste, and through intelligent planning have improved infrastructure to support the increasing pressures placed on the local environment. Congratulations to all the award recipients who highlight the valuable work and achievements of communities in protecting our natural environment and enhancing our cultural heritage”. Minister Parker said.

The ‘Working Towards a Sustainable City’ plan has achieved much in the past year, as The Hon Richard Torbay, Chair of Keep Australia Beautiful noted after the awards announcement.

Mr Torbay commended Council’s work comprising:

  • Supported nine local bushcare groups to protect swathes of habitat for local species
  • Composted 32,000 tonnes of food and garden organic waste over the past year
  • Reduced waste to landfill by 5,500 tonnes, despite an increase in serviced households
  • Prevented 430 tonnes of rubbish from reaching our waterways
  • Extended the Mulgoa Nature Reserve by 145 hectares for bushland conservation and;
  • Used 22,519.5kL of recycled water.

“We congratulate everyone at Council, and the community on winning this well deserved award. It sets an impressive benchmark, one that other Councils can learn and benefit from”. Mr Torbay said.

Since 1994 the Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Cities Awards have raised much needed public awareness of the environmental issues affecting metropolitan NSW. They encourage Council’s and communities to play an active role in creating a sustainable future for their city.

Projects that address environmental challenges, improve the standard of living and quality of life in urban areas are all considered.

The Sustainable Cities Awards program is generously sponsored by Sydney Water, with Category Awards sponsored by Visy, NSW State Government and the Heritage Council of NSW.

Greener Cities and climate action

Greener Cities is a division of Crossbow Communications. Greener Cities is a resource for sustainable and resilient cities and communities around the world.

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Author: Gary Chandler

Gary Chandler is a sustainability strategist, author and advocate. Follow him on Twitter @Gary_Chandler