Muswellbrook Shire Council’s Sustainable Futures Program takes out Local Government NSW Communication, Education and Empowerment Award

MUSWELLBROOK Shire Council has identified communication, education and empowerment as the key elements for the future of sustainability in the shire.

And, now, Local Government NSW agrees.

At the recent Local Government NSW Excellence Awards, which recognise outstanding achievements by local government in managing and protecting the environment, council’s Sustainable Futures Program was Division A (population to 30,000) and Overall Winner of the Communication, Education and Empowerment Award.

This follows council’s success at the Keep Australia Beautiful NSW 2018 Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities Awards last month.

The Sustainable Futures Program includes a range of activities, which help to empower the community to make sustainable choices and improve outcomes by reducing food waste, improving water efficiency, growing local food and increasing rates of upcycling and renewable energy uptake. 

By connecting community groups’ activities and council’s strategic focus – everyone wins.

“We’re very happy to receive this [award],” council sustainability officer Mick Brady said.

“By targeting a variety of audiences using a variety of methods, from regular visits to education facilities to running regular community events, long-lasting partnerships between all groups are developed.”

Objectives of council’s Sustainable Futures Program are: to increase community knowledge about sustainability; demonstrate sustainability initiatives; educate local children and adults about sustainability and empower the community to become involved in sustainability initiatives.

“Our Sustainability Hub in Wilkinson Avenue is the central focus of activities, where the community has embraced a sense of ownership and collaboration,” Mr Brady said.

“An accessible focal point, the hub has played host to numerous events including workshops, nursery and educational activities.

“It was established in response to the need for a site to demonstrate practical sustainability initiatives. 

“The general purpose of the hub is to provide a dedicated space for council to showcase and encourage sustainable practice and also a location to demonstrate other enterprises such as solar energy, water efficiency and waste management.”

In just over 12 months more than 1800 community members have enjoyed in excess of 80 interactive events. 

Most of these have occurred at the Sustainability Hub.