eNewsletter October 2017

 


Newsletter

October 2017


Welcome to our October 2017 newsletter.

In this edition we welcome three new staff to the Environment Division team, announce new projects now getting underway, and update you on key initiatives from our Regional Waste, Disaster Resilience and Contaminated Land Programs. We also feature the very new and very important NSW Native Vegetation Regulatory Map.

CONTENTS:

RESOURCE RECOVERY

NATURAL SYSTEMS

RESILIENCE

NEWS FROM OUR MEMBERS & REGION

EVENTS

NOTICES

MAPPING

READING



Love Food on Campus Project Takes Out Environment Award

Our Love Food on Campus: University Food Waste Avoidance Project was recently declared overall winner of the Behaviour Change in Waste category at the Local Government NSW Excellence in the Environment Awards. Designed and delivered in collaboration with the University of Newcastle, the project involved researching the food waste habits of students living on campus, and developing skills, tools and resources to positively improve behaviours. A toolkit of resources including a meal planner and shopping list to help students to plan meals and only buy what they need, and a cookbook full of simple, nutritionally suitable recipes created by staff and students of the University were developed and provided to residential students as part of the project.  The project was funded through the NSW EPA’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.

Congratulations also go to Port Stephens Council who received a Highly Commended Award for their Environmental Management System (EMS) development project.

More Information:

Bradley Nolan –  Director
P: 4978 4024
E: envirodirector@huntercouncils.com.au



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New Regional Waste Strategy

A new Hunter-Central Coast Regional Waste Strategy for 2017-21 was endorsed by the Region’s Mayors at the Hunter Joint Organisation of Councils Board Meeting in August. The Strategy identifies local and regional actions to which participating Councils are committed to pursuing to achieve regional and local waste reduction targets. For the first time the Regional Strategy includes “Infrastructure and Planning” as a priority theme.

More Information:

Bradley Nolan –  Director
P: 4978 4024
E: envirodirector@huntercouncils.com.au



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Funding Success!

All three of our funding applications to the NSW Environmental Trust and LGNSW Council Roadside Reserves Project have been successful. Now kicking off, these include:

  1. Conservation of Hunter Valley Weeping Myall Woodland Stage 2 – this will deliver on ground restoration works in the Jerry’s Plains area to consolidate, protect, expand and improve connectivity between fragmented, remnant populations of Federally listed Critically Endangered Hunter Valley Weeping Myall Woodland of the Sydney Basin Bioregion.
  2. 9 Valleys Wildlife Corridor Project –the first stage of a broader 10 year plan, this project will seek to establish fauna habitat linkages and protect and enhance critical biodiversity values across the Giants Creek to Jerry’s Plains Corridor in the Upper Hunter linking crown land and private land across the Valley floor.
  3. Roadside assessment and mapping of environmental values – this project will directly support Port Stephens, Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter Councils to review current roadside environmental assessment and management procedures; pilot application of the state-wide Council Roadside Environmental Management Framework and supporting resources, and embed new systems, tools and processes for roadside environmental management within the IP&R frameworks of these Councils

More Information:

Ashley Bacales – NRM Project Coordinator
P: 4978 4028
E: ashleyb@huntercouncils.com.au

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Flying Fox Management

The Second EIANZ (Environmental Institute of Australia and New Zealand) Flying Fox Conference was held in Sydney on 25 October with over 100 delegates from South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland in attendance.  The work of the Councils of the Hunter and the Environment Division was showcased in both a presentation and subsequent workshops, where delegates discussed management options, funding requirements and strategic frameworks.  A NSW State Flying Fox Forum was hosted by LGNSW and OEH on 26 October and again the Hunter Region’s work was presented, along with the experiences of Upper Hunter Shire Council, and again, the work of the region was heavily discussed in workshops held throughout the day. The Environment Division will continue to engage at both State and National Levels to support Councils and their communities reduce the conflict between human settlement and Flying-fox migration.

More Information:

Bradley Nolan –  Director
P: 4978 4024
E: envirodirector@huntercouncils.com.au

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NSW Biodiversity Reforms

The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act and Amendments to the Local Land Services Act commenced on 25 August 2017, bringing with them significant changes for how Councils will need to assess and manage biodiversity across their land use planning, land management and works activities. We have been working with OEH and Office of Local Government to ensure access by all of our Councils to the sponsored “Local Government Approvers” training course, with two sessions having now been delivered in the region. We are also in the process of recruiting a Regional Support Officer to provide direct support to Councils to the new legislation, the position is currently funded for 18 months.

More Information:

Bradley Nolan –  Director
P: 4978 4024
E: envirodirector@huntercouncils.com.au



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Contaminated Land Program Showcased

Last month Anna Lundmark showcased our Regional Contaminated Program and its achievements to the Biennial CleanUp 2017 Conference in Melbourne. This international event involved scientists, engineers, regulators and environmental professionals representing universities, government (site management and regulatory agencies) and R&D and manufacturing firms from over 20 countries, who gathered to discuss all aspects of contaminated site assessment, management and remediation.

More Information:

Steve Wilson – Deputy Director
P: 4978 4024
E: stevew@huntercouncils.com.au



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NEW RESOURCE – Contaminated Land Consent Conditions

A Register of Contaminated Land Consent Conditions was developed under our Regional Contamination Program is now available on our website. The Register provides context and model “Requests for Information” or “Conditions of Development Consent” for each stage of the Contaminated Land Process, we welcome your feedback on their use overtime so we can continue to refine and adapt your needs.

More Information:

Steve Wilson – Deputy Director
P: 4978 4024
E: stevew@huntercouncils.com.au



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Is Your Council Disaster Ready?

Around 70 participants attended our recent forum designed to support Councils explore their roles and responsibilities for preparing their organisation and local communities for natural disasters.  The forums featured presentations on the 2017 State Level Emergency Risk Assessment (NSW Office of Emergency Management), Business Continuity Planning (Statewide Mutual), and Local Disaster Management Case Studies. Also featured was the opportunity for Councils to initially assess whether they and their local communities are “Disaster Ready”. This forum was the first of five to be delivered around NSW, under our state-wide “Disaster Ready Councils” initiative funded by the  joint State and Commonwealth Natural Disaster Resilience Program.

More Information:

Ian Turnbull – Regional Project Manager – Disaster Resilience
P: (02) 4978 4042
E: iant@huntercouncils.com.au



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Beat The Heat This Summer

Last summer was officially the warmest on record, featuring several sweltering heatwaves, the longest spell of hot days and the warmest night on record for any NSW weather station. Many of our Councils took active steps to support their staff and communities during the extreme conditions  – such as opening libraries and other facilities as “Community Cool Spots”, promoting “Beat the Heat” community messages, extending operating hours for Council pools and lifeguard services, and educating staff about managing heat stress in the workplace.

As summer approaches yet again, don’t forget that a host of communication resources (posters, flyers, webpage content, social media content, newsletter articles, scripts for Community Service Announcements, e-mail alerts and text alerts) are all freely available for Councils and Community Organisations to access on our website, and professionally print for your use.

More Information:

Steve Wilson – Deputy Director
P: 4978 4024
E: stevew@huntercouncils.com.au



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Welcome New Team Members

The Environment Division has grown with three new staff joining the team – Danielle Tucker, Daniel Love and Daniela Gambotto – the 3 Dans!

Danielle Tucker is our new Waste Project Officer and will assist Councils deliver a variety of regional waste avoidance and resource recovery actions under the Regional Waste Program.

Daniel Love is our new NRM Project Coordinator, and will be delivering a number of new projects (see below) to protect and rehabilitate threatened species and communities around the region. Dan will also be working with a number of Councils to review and improve roadside environmental assessment systems and management practices.

Daniela Gambotto has a background in Town Planning and Sustainability Policy and is assisting us formulate the Division’s strategic priorities and plans for the next few years. Daniela will soon be engaging all member Councils to ensure this process integrates and builds upon local  Council IP&R frameworks and directions.

More Information:

Danielle Tucker – Waste Project Officer
P: (02) 4978 4029
E: daniellet@huntercouncils.com.au

Daniel Love – NRM Project Coordinator
P: (02) 4978 4028
E: daniell@huntercouncils.com.au

Daniela Gambotto – Regional Project Manager
P: (02) 4978 4022
E: danielag@huntercouncils.com.au



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Contaminated Land Audit Road Show

The role of EPA Accredited Site Auditors in managing contaminated land is becoming less of a mystery thanks to an “Auditor Road Show” now being rolled out to each Council. These visits by Anna Lundmark and EPA Accredited Auditors based in our region are providing insight into the NSW Auditor Scheme, the circumstances in Councils may require an Auditor, and the nature of information and support they can provide directly to Councils to manage issues of land contamination.

More Information:

Steve Wilson – Deputy Director
P: 4978 4024
E: stevew@huntercouncils.com.au

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EVENTS CORK

Real Film Festival

27 – 29 October 2017
Newcastle

Now in its 6th year of telling true stories through film to the Hunter Region, the Real Film Festival is on again THIS WEEKEND. This year’s 3 day program is designed to inspire audiences and filmmakers alike, by giving them the opportunity to watch, learn, create and connect by attending a number of exciting events.  In addition to the wide range of documentary and independent short and feature-length film screenings on offer, 12 industry workshops and masterclasses will give attendees the opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s most experienced practitioners on topics like: how to make and market short films; acting; using YouTube to build your brand; game development; and editing documentaries. Q&A sessions will also provide the opportunity to ask questions and gain first hand experiences from filmmakers.

For the first time, Hollywood feature films are being given “advanced screenings” of this years festival, so grab your tickets to some amazing films, telling real stories, this weekend!

Contact:

E: info@realfilmfestival.com.au
M: 0423 020 191

 

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Adapt NSW Annual Forum

Monday, 27 November 2017
9.30am – 5.30pm
Aerial Function Centre UTS, Sydney

The AdaptNSW Annual Forum brings together government, industry, researchers, consultants and community representative to showcase the latest in climate change adaptation research and implementation in NSW. The program this year features:

Keynote presentations by leading experts
Case studies and interactive Q&A sessions
A panel on ‘The Power of Innovative Adaptation’
A 3D virtual reality experience of climate risks on infrastructure in Sydney, presented at the UTS Data Arena

Contact:

E: adapt.NSW@environment.nsw.gov.au



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Climate-ready Revegetation
A Guide for Natural Resource Managers

Thursday, 2 November 2017
2.00pm – 3.00pm
Building BB, Room BBG13, Kurri Kurri TAFE
McLeod Rd, Kurri Kurri

This free seminar will be delivered by Dr Nola Hancock from the Biodiversity Node of Macquarie University, focusing on the publication: Climate-ready Revegetation. A Guide for Natural Resource Managers. This guide provides step by step instructions on how to plan for the sustainability of local plant species and populations under future climate. A computer workshop that practices using the guide will follow at 3.30-4.30pm, with a limited number of places available. This workshop is for those who regularly select plants for revegetation or advise others undertaking revegetation.

Contact:

Seminar:
Nola Hancock
P: (02) 9850 8191
E: nola.hancock@mq.edu.au

Computer Workshop:
Melinda Hillery
E: melinda.hillery@environment.nsw.gov.au

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CORK BOARD - JPEG

Fire Trails Funding Submission

LGNSW is currently putting together its annual NSW state budget submission, and is exploring the opportunity to include additional funding (above and beyond existing Rural Fire Fighting Fund money assistance) to councils to upgrade and maintain identified strategic fire trails in line with the new RFS Fire Trail Standards. LGNSW is inviting input from Councils to this idea, or on any other issues to raise though the budget process or in other discussions with RFS. In particular it is seeking input from Councils who have gone through the trial / pilot Fire Access and Fire Trail (FAFT) process who may have an idea of the scale/cost of the new standards in their area.

Contact:

Richard Connors – Senior Policy Officer
Local Government NSW
P: (02) 9242 4073
M: 0447 650 236
E: richard.connors@lgnsw.org.au

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Restoration and Rehabilitation Grants – Change in Timing

The NSW Environmental Trust usually calls for applications to its Restoration and Rehabilitation Grants Program in August / September each year. The call for applications will now commence in November 2017, with applications closing in early February 2018. Successful grantees will still be announced in May/June, with projects commencing as normal in August. This shift is in response to internal process reviews and feedback from applicants and grantees within the recent independent program evaluation (undertaken by the Natural Resources Commission), including concerns about the length of time between application submission and notification of successful projects.



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Combating Illegal Dumping: Clean-up and Prevention Program Grants

The NSW EPAs Combating Illegal Dumping: Clean-up and Prevention Program support local councils, public land managers and community groups to identify local illegal dumping sites and implement prevention and clean-up action on publicly managed land. Applications for funding are now open, but will soon close on 3 November 2017.



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mapping-cork-board-jpeg

Each newsletter we feature a different mapping resource that can assist Councils with their environmental planning, and management activities. This month we profile the new “NSW Native Vegetation Regulatory Map”.


Native Vegetation Regulatory Map

The Native Vegetation Regulatory (NVR) Map has been prepared by OEH under Part 5A of the amended Local Land Services Act 2013 (LLS Act) and supporting regulation that came into effect on 25th August 2017. The NVR Map covers all rural land in NSW, categorising land into areas where:

clearing of native vegetation can occur without approval,
clearing can only be carried out in accordance with Part 5A of the LLS Act or other legislation
excluded land where the LLS Act does not apply.
The various categories of the NVR Map will be released under staged transitional arrangements, with all categories expected to come into force by early 2018. The map currently illustrates Vulnerable Regulated Land, Sensitive Regulated Land, and Excluded Land.

The map will undergo regular updates based on new data, land management changes, and map review changes, meaning that it should be regularly checked for currency when using it to inform decisions about land clearing.

Contact:

E: lmbc.support@environment.nsw.gov.au



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Community Food Initiatives Research Report

This report comprises a comprehensive research and analysis of existing and emerging community food initiatives, with a view to identifying the areas of most need and best effect of subsequent NSW Environmental Trust funding that could make the NSW community food movement more coordinated, effective, inclusive and self sustaining. The consultation and research process included primary and secondary research and was conducted internationally, nationally and at a NSW statewide level. Four food initiatives were included in the research scope:

  1. Community gardens
  2. Food streetscaping and landscaping
  3. Food swaps
  4. Coordinated home food production programs



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Multicultural Communities’ Engagement with the Environment

Commissioned by the NSW Environmental Trust, this report identifies the outcomes of research to inform and develop a Multicultural Community Engagement Framework to guide future investment by the Trust to more effectively engage Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities.



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Urban Ecology Renewal Investigation Project

Urban ecology encompasses all living organisms (people, plants and animals) in urban environments. Of particular importance in urban ecology is the interaction between humans and the rest of biodiversity, including the benefits provided by biodiversity through ecosystem services and the impacts of urbanisation on biodiversity. The “Urban Ecology Renewal Investigation Project” commissioned by the NSW Environmental Trust, has completed in-depth research into ways to improve biodiversity outcomes for major cities in NSW including Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle. The project has produced four key reports:

  1. What we heard: documenting the stakeholder workshops – identifies the issues faced, and priorities for change, as identified by industry, government and practitioners.
  2. Urban ecology: theory, policy and practice in New South Wales, Australia – establishes the evidence base with a specific focus on ecology, planning and the built environment.
  3. Blueprint for living cities – policy to practice: examines the evidence base and practice perspectives identified in the other reports, and establishes a list of strategies, actions, and potential projects that could advance urban ecology outcomes through urban renewal.
  4. Urban ecology renewal investigation project: summary report – provides a brief description of the project methodology, deliverables, key findings, strategies and priority actions.



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Draft Community Engagement Strategy – Crown Land Management Act 2016

The NSW Department of Industry has released the Draft Community Engagement Strategy required under the new Crown Land Management Act 2016.  There is a substantial amount of documents now developed and on exhibition available for comment.  The exhibition period for the Strategy and guidance documents is open until 26 November, Councils and Agencies are encouraged to provide comment for the Minister’s consideration.  Details and documents can be downloaded from the Department of Industry’s website.



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Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Strategy 2017-2021

The NSW EPA has released a consultation draft of the Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Strategy and are seeking comment from Councils, Agencies and industry.  The Environment Division will work directly with Council waste managers to develop a regional submission for the Hunter & Central Coast Waste region, and we welcome any additional comments for inclusion in the response to the EPA.  The Strategy can be accessed from the NSW EPA website.



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