Newsletter – November 2016


Newsletter

November 2016


Welcome to our November 2016 newsletter.

In this edition we welcome a new staff member to our team, showcase local council “Beat the Heat” initiatives, announce a new project to help Councils develop Flying Fox Camp Management Plans, highlight key datasets available to Councils for conservation assessment and planning, and update you on the many initiatives being delivered through the Regional Waste Program.

Contents:

  1. New Team Member (Contaminated Lands)
  2. New Funding to Flying Foxes
  3. Congratulations to Blue Star Sustainability Award Winners
  4. Regional Heatwave Project an Awards
  5. Councils Workers ‘Beat the Heat’
  6. Regional Vegetation Map
  7. Biodiversity Data Workshops
  8. Roadside Project Reaches Finish Line!
  9. NSW Container Deposit Scheme
  10. Love Food on Campus
  11. Recycled Organics Tour
  12. ‘Don’t be a Tosser’ in our Regional Parks
  13. Garage Sale Trail
  14. Help Us Deliver the Training You Want!
  15. Events
  16. Mapping
  17. Notices
  18. Cool Stuff in Our Region

New Team Member

Anna Lundmark has joined the Environment Division team as Regional Program Manager (Contaminated Land).  Anna will work directly with Councils to review and improve their local contaminated land systems and processes. Anna has been working in the contaminated land field since 2004 and is a Certified Practitioner – Site Assessment and Management (CP SAM) under the Site Contamination Practitioners Australia (SCPA) Scheme. Prior to joining Hunter Councils, Anna was a Principal Environmental Scientist with AECOM, mainly working with contaminated land audits. Anna has extensive experience in contaminated site assessments, remediation and management, ecotoxicology, water management, compliance monitoring of air and water, and project management.

More Information:

Anna Lundmark
P: 0409 570 493
E: anna.lundmark@huntercouncils.com.au

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New Funding for Flying Foxes

Great news! Two regional funding applications submitted to the State Government have recently been approved. These funds will enable us to directly support Councils plan for the management of local Flying Fox camps, and to more effectively and consistently communicate with and educate local communities about Flying Foxes.

The first grant of $95,000 will directly support Mid Coast, Port Stephens, Cessnock, Maitland, Singleton, Muswellbrook, Upper Hunter and Central Coast Councils develop new Flying Fox Camp Management Plans, or to map and update their existing camp management plans. For the first time, this project will also produce regional Flying Fox habitat mapping, and deliver specialist training to Council staff on strategies for effectively engaging and consulting local communities affected by Flying Fox camps.  This work will also complement other grants awarded under the same program directly to Cessnock and Lake Macquarie City Councils.

The second grant of $100,000 has been received from the NSW Environmental Trust’s Environmental Education Grants Program.  This will facilitate the development and implementation of a regional Flying Fox community awareness and engagement strategy, across 11 council areas, including a Flying Fox Resource Kit, staff training, rollout of a flying fox decision-support tool, and direct engagement and capacity building of affected residents and community groups.

MORE INFORMATION:

Bradley Nolan – Director, Environment Division
P (02) 4978 4024
E bradn@huntercouncils.com.au

 

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Congratulations to Blue Star Sustainability Award Winners

Congratulations to Maitland City Council, who were recently awarded the “Overall Regional Sustainability Award” at this year’s Blue Star Sustainability Awards. Maitland received four category awards as well as the overall award. Congratulations also to Midcoast Council who received three awards and Port Stephens Council who received two. 

These awards have grown out of the Sustainable Cities, Clean Beaches and Tidy Towns Awards Programs, and recognise and celebrate the hard work of NSW citizens who promote responsible environmental management in their local area.

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Regional Heatwave Project an Awards Finalist

The Regional Heatwave Resilience project has been selected as a finalist in the Climate Change category of this year’s NSW Local Government Excellence in the Environment Awards. Winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on 29 November.

MORE INFORMATION:

Steve Wilson – Deputy Director Environment Division
P (02) 4978 4026
E
stevew@huntercouncils.com.au

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Council Workers “Beat the Heat”

With the weather warming up, both Newcastle and Dungog Councils are using the regional “Beat the Heat” Communication resources, created under the Heatwave Resilience project, to improve the safety of Council staff. Copies of the “Are You Drinking Enough?” Urine Colour Chart have been placed on or in Council trucks and machinery, with Newcastle City Council adapting it into an A5 magnet especially for this purpose.

MORE INFORMATION:

Steve Wilson – Deputy Director Environment Division
P (02) 4978 4026
E
stevew@huntercouncils.com.au

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Regional Vegetation Map

We are actively working with the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage to ensure production of a reliable vegetation map across the region. Four workshop sessions were  recently held for Council staff to review draft mapping developed for the Upper Hunter and Manning areas. OEH are planning to release the updated draft Upper Hunter Plant Community Type map prior to December 2016, followed by a 3-month consultation period prior to final publication. We will continue to work with councils to collate and provide input during the consultation period.

MORE INFORMATION:

Bradley Nolan – Director Environment Division
P (02) 4978 4024
E bradn@huntercouncils.com.au

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Biodiversity Data Workshops

Workshops have recently been delivered to over 50 council staff to demonstrate use of the large body of Biodiversity data sets we released in 2015. Created under the four-year Biodiversity Investment Prospectus project, this data includes climate projection modelling, species and vegetation community modelling, and agricultural lands mapping. All datasets are now freely available on our website.

MORE INFORMATION:

Ellen Saxon – GIS Officer
P (02) 4978 4025
E ellens@huntercouncils.com.au

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Roadside EEC Project Reaches Finish Line!

A two year project to improve native species diversity and condition of Endangered Ecological Communities (Lower Hunter Spotted Gum Ironbark, Hunter Lowland Redgum and Central Hunter Ironbark-Spotted Gum-Greybox Forest) along 41 kilometres of roadsides, at 14 project sites across the Port Stephens, Maitland and Dungog Council areas has been completed. Funded by the NSW Environmental Trust, the project achieved an 80% to 95% reduction in high priority weed infestations including Lantana, Bridal Creeper, and Asparagus Fern.

Fauna surveys completed at nine project sites also confirmed the importance of roadside vegetation in providing wildlife habitat,and for maintaining corridors between larger areas of contiguous bushland.  These surveys identified:

  • 11 threatened fauna species foraging or roosting directly within roadside reserves, including the Swift Parrot, Koala, Brush-tailed Phascogale, Squirrel Gliders, Varied Sittella, Musk Lorikeet, Little Lorikeet, Speckled Warbler, Grey-crowned Babbler, White Throated Needle-tail and Grey-Headed Flying Fox
  • A total of 100 bird species, 15 mammal species, 7 nocturnal bird species, 12 reptiles and 14 amphibians across the sites
  • 124 hollow bearing trees with the potential to provide habitat for a range of native species.

The project also delivered a Weed Blitz Weekend, Weed Identification and Control Workshop, and Endangered Fauna Workshop to raise awareness among local residents of the value of roadside and other vegetation in their local area, and to encourage landholders to actively control weeds on their own properties.

MORE INFORMATION:

Eva Twarkowski – Senior Ecologist
P (02) 4978 4029
E evat@huntercouncils.com.au

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NSW Container Deposit Scheme

With assistance from our member Councils and Local Government Legal, we have prepared a regional submission to the NSW Government’s Draft Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) Bill and Regulatory Framework Discussion Paper. The NSW CDS aims to reduce litter by putting a 10 cent value on containers sized 150mL – 3L, with some exceptions.

While the submission identified a number of key issues for the EPA’s consideration, overall it confirmed the Councils of the Hunter Waste Region are supportive of the introduction of the CDS and see the re-introduction of the Scheme in NSW as a positive way for the community to actively engage in litter reduction and resource recovery.


MORE INFORMATION:

Michael Neville – Regional Waste Program Manager
P (02) 4978 4034
E michaeln@huntercouncils.com.au

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Love Food On Campus

Waste audits of the on-campus residences at the University of Newcastle’s Callaghan Campus have recently found that up to 67% of all waste in the red-lidded bins is food waste. To address this wastage, our “Love Food on Campus” project recently treated students to a cooking demonstration by Chef Daniel from ‘Fork’n’Knife’. The demonstration focused on cooking basics, creating delicious recipes from staple ingredients, and cooking strategies that reduce food waste.

MORE INFORMATION:

Emma Grezl – Regional Waste Project Officer
P (02) 4978 4022
E emmag@huntercouncils.com.au

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Recycled Organics Tour

In early September senior staff from the NSW EPA Organics Unit were taken on a two-day tour of key organics processing facilities in the region. This tour enhanced communication between EPA and council staff; discussed current and planned collection and processing systems, and explored pathways to create increased demand and end markets for compost and mulch products.The opportunity to get “down and dirty” allowed EPA staff to see the day-to-day practicalities and issues at our region’s organics processing facilities.

The tour engaged with over twenty council waste management staff, as well as representatives from Hunter Local Land Services, NSW EPA and industry representatives. The outcomes are now informing development of a longer-term plan to address recycled organics (garden and food waste) issues across the region.

MORE INFORMATION:

Michael Neville – Regional Waste Program Manager
P (02) 4978 4034
E
michaeln@huntercouncils.com.au

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“Don’t be a Tosser” in Our Regional Parks

Litter reduction projects at three recreational parks are now well under way. Locations include The Basin (Cessnock), Medowie Skate Park (Port Stephens), and the Upper Reserve Fields at Wallsend (Newcastle City Council). Delivered under the EPA funded Regional Recreational Parks Litter Project, these projects aim to build collaborative partnerships with local sporting groups and schools, enhance bin infrastructure and improve signage to encourage park users to ‘Put it in the Bin’.  Mount View High School, Cessnock Minor Rugby League, Wallsend Touch Football Association and Cessnock Touch Football Association are actively participating in the projects. The September launch of The Basin project saw over 100 Year 8 students and staff from Mount View High School conduct a clean up that collected over 500 Litres of litter!

MORE INFORMATION:

Leanne Sanderson – Regional Litter Project Officer
P: (02) 49784042
E:
leannes@huntercouncils.com.au

 

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Garage Sale Trail

The 2016 Garage Sale Trail was held on 22 October 2016, which unfortunately coincided with very wet weather in our region.  Figures on the final number of registered sales are yet to be released, but due to the rain we anticipate they will be slightly down on last year. Because of the rain, the Garage Sale Team are proposing that sellers hold another sale over the coming weeks, and are providing updated promotional materials (without a specific date) on the Garage Sale Trail website.  Our purchase of the regional `Garage Sale Trail” delivery package this year meant that Councils were able to participate in this initiative at no direct financial costs to themselves.

MORE INFORMATION:

Chantelle Sage – Regional Waste Education Coordinator
P: (02) 4978 4028
E:
chantelles@huntercouncils.com.au

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Help us Deliver the Training you Want!

The HCCREMS Professional Development Series aims to bring professional training opportunities directly to our region for the benefit of member Councils and partner organisations.  We are now planning our 2017 course program, and would welcome your input on what courses you would like to see scheduled.  To do so, please complete our short survey by clicking on the ‘read more’ button below.

MORE INFORMATION:

Alison Gleeson – Professional Development Series Coordinator
P: (02) 4978 423
E:
Alisong@huntercouncils.com.au

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EVENTS CORK

Complaint Handling for Frontline Staff

Wednesday 14th December 2016
9.30am – 4.30pm
The Best Western Hunter Gateway

Delivered by the NSW Ombudsman’s Office, this highly regarded workshop provides frontline staff with the necessary skills and strategies to respond to clients and customers confidently, effectively and efficiently. Participants are provided with a model for dealing with complaints, examining different types of complainant behaviour and overcoming personal and organisational barriers to making and resolving complaints. Those in our region who have previously completed the course have said:

  • I think all staff would benefit from this course
  • Very beneficial for customer service staff
  • Provides good coping skills
  • Very informative and insightful – different perspectives on customer complaint management

CONTACT:

Alison Gleeson – Professional Development Series Coordinator
P (02) 4978 4023
E alisong@huntercouncils.com.au

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Adapt NSW 2016

Friday 2nd December 2016
Sydney

Adapt NSW2016 brings together practitioners from government, industry, universities and community to share the latest in climate change adaptation, as well as look to the future of adaptation in NSW. This year’s program includes:

  • Keynote address by Professor Jon Barnett, University of Melbourne
  • Priority investment areas and potential actions included in the draft NSW Climate Change Fund Strategic Plan
  • Benchmarking Government Preparedness (Aaron Coutts-Smith, OEH)
  • NSW Health Priorities (Ben Scalley, NSW Health)
  • National Parks and Wildlife Service Adaptation Plan (Polly Mitchell, OEH)
  • Enabling Regional Adaptation in the West (Alison Morgan, DPC)
  • Parallel sessions focusing on ”Resilient Communities”, “Adapting NSW Coasts”, “Climate Change and Biodiversity” and “Innovative Adaptation”.

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Placemaking with Andrew Hammonds

27th & 28th February 2016
9.30am – 5.00pm
Crowne Plaza, Newcastle

Delivered by renowned Placemaker Andrew Hammonds, this training event will provide participants with an understanding of the theory, principles and process of placemaking and urban design. It will provide an interactive combination of theory, workshops and site visits. It is highly relevant to Council and agency staff and consultants involved in urban design, land use planning, development assessment, architecture, landscape design, asset design and management, community land and open space management and economic and community development.

CONTACT:

Alison Gleeson – Professional Development Series Coordinator
P (02) 4978 4023
E alisong@huntercouncils.com.au

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Here at the Environment Division we manage an extensive repository of local and regional spatial data and mapping resources, developed and updated over many years, which are available to our member Councils.  Resources cover a range of parameters including: Soil Landscapes, NPWS Atlas, Species Distribution Models, Conservation and Connectivity, Endangered Ecological Communities and Threatened Species, Agricultural Land, Land Tenure, Climate Change Mapping & Modelling, Climactic variables, Water Features and Topography.

To highlight the resources we or our Councils have access to, each newsletter will now profile a different mapping resource that is available. This month we profile “NSW Woody Vegetation Extent 2011”.

NSW Woody Vegetation Extent 2011

This mapping resource shows the location and extent of woody vegetation in NSW for the year 2011. It can be used to identify small features such as paddock trees and trees in scattered woodlands, up to the largest expanses of forest in the state. This data could typically be used by Councils to inform:

  • Strategic conservation assessment and planning (e.g. for LGA wide or locality based conservation and settlement strategies)
  • Development of plans of management for community land
  • Assessment of ecological impacts of development applications and rezoning requests
  • Development of local vegetation and biodiversity plans

The custodian of this data is the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage.

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Crown Land Management Bill

A NSW Crown Land Management Bill was introduced into the NSW Parliament on 19 October 2016. This follows a major review of Crown land management and legislation that commenced in 2012. Key elements of the Bill relating to local government include (source: LGNSW):

  • The Bill will enable councils to manage their Crown land reserves as if they were council-owned land under the Local Government Act 1993 (LGA).
  • Councils will not generally be required to seek the Minister for Lands’ approval for dealings. Instead, in most cases councils will manage these reserves as if they were community land.
  • There will be the ability to manage land as operational land in appropriate circumstances.
  • The requirement to have plans of management for each reserve that is classified as community land will be phased in over time and councils will not have to go through the full LGA process for initial plans.  To address initial costs, some financial assistance from the Government will be available.
  • Councils will continue to be eligible to apply for grants from the Public Reserve Management Fund Program to support their management and up-keep of Crown reserves.

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NSW Climate Change Policy Framework

The NSW Government has released a new NSW Climate Change Policy Framework. This policy provides important context for the government’s approach to climate change. It sets two aspirational objectives:

  • Achieving net zero emissions by 2050
  • NSW being more resilient to a changing climate.

The government has also announced a $500 million funding package and released two draft climate change and energy savings plans for public consultation.

  • Draft Climate Change Fund Strategic Plan
  • A Draft Plan to Save NSW Energy and Money

Three webinar briefings to provide more information about the funding opportunities under these two draft plans, the public consultation process and the new climate change policy framework have been scheduled for 16 November, 23 November and 1 December 2016.

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Recent Publications

2016 World Disasters Report

The World Disasters Report is an annual, independent study by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). It presents the latest thinking on disaster management, as well as global disaster statistics. This recently released report:

  • Calls for a radical change in the way we manage natural disasters. By investing in resilience, we will save lives and money.
  • Identifies that disasters cost Australia $9 billion last year, and costs the world more than $200 billion annually. Yet just one out of every eight dollars spent on disasters goes towards reducing risks.
  • Advocates that by investing in resilience, governments and communities could save lives, prevent human suffering and save billions in recovery costs and economic losses.

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Living Planet Report 2016

This year’s Living Planet Report, prepared by the World Wildlife Fund, Zoological Society of London, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Global Footprint Network, and Stockholm Environment Institute:

  • Confirms that the Living Planet Index, which measures biodiversity abundance levels based on 14,152 monitored populations of 3,706 vertebrate species, shows a persistent downward trend.
  • Identifies that our use of natural resources has grown dramatically, particularly since the mid-20th century, and as a result, we are endangering the key environmental systems that we rely upon.
  • Recommends design responses that can shift us toward sustainable and resilient modes of production and consumption, consistent with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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Cool Stuff in Our Region!

Wildlife Photographer of the Year!

The world-renowned “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” exhibition, on loan from the Natural History Museum in London, will open at the  Lovett Gallery (Newcastle Region Library) on 18 November 2016. The exhibition features 100 awe-inspiring images, from fascinating animal behaviour to breath-taking wild landscapes. “Wildlife Photographer of the Year” is the most prestigious photography event of its kind, providing a global platform that has been showcasing the natural world’s most astonishing and challenging sights for over 50 years. This year’s competition received a record 50,000 entries from 96 countries.

But its not just about pretty pictures, the exhibition also highlight some of the big questions for society and the environment: How can we protect biodiversity? Can we learn to live in harmony with nature?

We highly recommend a visit. Entry is by gold coin donation.

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