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Council

Focus on sustainability to shine light on environment for future generations

5 June 2019

Climate change, renewable energy and conservation will be at the centre of Southern Downs Regional Council’s new Environmental Sustainability Strategy, an innovative plan for the future to ensure the region can be enjoyed for many generations.

The announcement of the new plan comes as Council gets ready to mark World Environment Day 2019 on Wednesday, 5 June.

A platform for action, World Environment Day is the United Nations day for encouraging global awareness and action to protect the environment. Since it began in 1974, the event has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in more than 100 countries.

World Environment Day is known as the “people’s day” for doing something to take care of the Earth on a local, national or global scale.

The $150,000 Environmental Sustainability Strategy will align with SDRC’s visionary strategy, Shaping Southern Downs and will be partly funded by Council and a $75,000 grant from the Federal Government’s Building Better Region’s Fund.

SDRC’s Director of Sustainable Development, Jane Stroud said while Council plays a role in responding to climate change, the Strategy also needs to consider a range of issues impacting the region’s environmental sustainability.

“Local government plays an important role in how we manage our natural environment. From waste and recycling, controlling invasive pests and protecting biodiversity, to looking after our open spaces and water resource; in one way or another Council has been working within the sustainability space for many years,” Ms Stroud said.

“Our new Strategy looks to take that work a step further and outline a strong, big picture plan for our environment.

“How the region reduces waste, protects waterways and catchments and conserves open spaces and natural areas are also the types of issues that the Environmental Sustainability Strategy will plan for and respond to.”

The Strategy will also consider how the Southern Downs can become more energy efficient and use more renewables, which may incorporate new technology or more creative ideas like designing innovative buildings with energy efficiency in mind.

Councillor for Agriculture, Environment and Sustainability, Cameron Gow said the plan will be a road map for the future of the region.

“This is a progressive strategy which will provide a clear plan for responding to the biggest issues impacting the environment globally from a local perspective,” Cr Gow said.

Cr Gow said the region’s youth will play a vital role in developing the Strategy. “Our Southern Downs Youth Council will play a key role during the development and implementation of the Strategy," he said.

“Climate change and the environment are priorities for our youth and engaging them in this process is vitally important to developing an environmental plan for the future. What we do today will greatly impact them and younger generations forever.”

Council will begin consulting with the community, including local schools over the next few months and the strategy will be developed throughout the 2019-2020 Financial Year.

Find out more about World Environment Day and how to take part in taking care of the environment locally and globally, visit worldenvironmentday.global or head to Southern Downs Regional Council’s Facebook page.

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