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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

8 November 2005

Newcastle City Council wins top honours and Local Government Award


Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today congratulated Newcastle City Council after it was presented with a major environmental award.

Newcastle City Council took out the Special Award for Outstanding and Sustained Achievement at the gala National Awards for Local Government ceremony held in Canberra last night (7 November).

Senator Campbell said Newcastle City Council won the award for more than 10 years of action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"This is an outstanding achievement in many ways, particularly given it is the first time that an environmental category winner has taken out top honours," Senator Campbell said.

"Newcastle City Council has initiated a range of environmental measures that have led to greenhouse savings in its own operations, local businesses and the wider community. It is a clear demonstration of local action making a national difference.

"Its innovations have led to an annual saving of $600,000 for rate payers, and is contributing to a reduction of 55,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from households and businesses – the equivalent of taking 11,000 cars off the road," he said.

The National Awards for Local Government were established in 1986 and are the peak national local government awards which focus on highlighting and rewarding outstanding achievements in local government. This year the awards attracted 286 entries from across the country.

"The Australian Government actively supports local government to achieve greenhouse savings. Local Greenhouse Action has funding of $13.7 million over four years to engage with local government in identifying and implementing practical actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Senator Campbell said.

"This investment is part of the Australian Government's $1.8 billion climate change strategy."

The Department of the Environment and Heritage sponsor the Local Greenhouse Action Category, one of 17 overall categories. The National Awards for Local Government are conducted each year by the Department of Transport and Regional Services.

A backgrounder on the achievements of Newcastle City Council is attached. For more information on Local Greenhouse Action, visit www.greenhouse.gov.au/community_household

Media Contact:
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434


Background information - National Awards for Local Government 2005

 

Newcastle City Council's The Greenhouse Action in Newcastle (GAIN) Plan

The Greenhouse Action in Newcastle (GAIN) Plan was developed to address the growing need for local government and the community to manage its impact on the environment, particularly climate change from greenhouse gas emissions. Newcastle City Council developed this plan in partnership with its greenhouse action partners (including: the University of Newcastle, University of New South Wales, Save our Earth Designs, CSIRO Energy Technology Division, Energy Australia, Hunter Waste Planning and Management Board, Hunter Water, RTA, Newcastle Master Builders Association, and the Cities for Climate Protection™ Australia programme). This plan forms part of Newcastle City Council's commitment to the Cities for Climate Protection™ programme.

The GAIN plan has initiated many pioneering projects, including Australia's first biodiesel fleet, the award winning cleaner production programme (aimed at the business community), community REFIT (energy and water saving kits for households) and the green energy project (energy and water saving throughout council's facilities).

In order to measure and communicate the effectiveness of the GAIN plan, ClimateCam, a computer-based programme, was developed. This is the world's first ‘greenhouse gas speedometer' and measures emissions from monthly consumption data including electricity, gas, water, waste to landfill and a the number of registered motor vehicles for the City. Data from ClimateCam is available on the World Wide Web.

The long-term benefits to the council, its community and businesses from this project include:

Newcastle City Council's GAIN plan and their commitment to its implementation are extremely progressive, both nationally and internationally and deserve national recognition.

Contact:
Mr Peter Dormand, City Energy and Resource Manager, City of Newcastle - (02) 4974 2542 or 0411 557 511 or pdormand@ncc.nsw.gov.au

Commonwealth of Australia