Local Students Tell Council to Go Green-er

Published 16 November 2022

Hills Community Council Meeting

Seven local school leaders stole the show at today’s Community Council Meeting in Arana Hills, with representatives from Albany Creek State High School and Ferny Hills State School telling Council to go further with its green agenda.

Their presentations earned applause from the Councillors and Gallery alike, as well as a commitment from Mayor Peter Flannery that Council would be more ambitious to deliver on their expectations.

“The students’ presentations were compelling, well-researched and thoroughly impressive,” he said.

“I think their suggestions about recycling, renewable energy, electric vehicles and composting were all practical and achievable - and so I promised the students we’d take their ideas on board as part of Council’s goal to ‘Go Green As We Grow’.

“Afterall, who better to tell today’s leaders what they expect for the future than the leaders of tomorrow?

“When handing down the 2022-23 Council budget, I noted that the community had told us to get ahead of population growth and told us to go green.

“Clearly young people in our community want Council to go further, and this Council would not shrink its ambitions in facing the challenges ahead! So I look forward to making more significant announcements in this space before the end of the year.”

Ferny Hills State School Vice-Captain Theo Clark said his family hoped to buy an electric car once their more affordable, and in the interim he wants Council to look to the future of recycling and sustainability.

“To really ‘Go Green as we Grow,’ I would like to see my local government bring in a scheme to allow us to recycle more through our council recycling bin,” he said.

“Initiatives such as ‘Çurby the Bilby’ are enabling residents to recycle soft plastics and coffee pods through the yellow home recycling bin. It’s available in four New South Wales councils, with an increase in recycling rates for soft plastics of 44% and coffee capsules by 35%.

“They also have future plans to expand to fabric and other types of recycling. This is the type of initiative I want to see throughout Queensland in the future!”

Ferny Hills State School Captain Zoe Allen said her family uses sustainable practices around the home, but wanted to see greater leadership from government.

“We use compost bins at our school and students take food scraps there, if Council had a Food Organics and Green Organics system then this would have a much bigger benefit around Moreton Bay,” she said.

“I’d like to see Council reduce its plastic usage because it causes environmental damage and is a threat to marine life.

“I’d also like Council to provide nesting boxes for birds, as this would increase their population as well as helping to fertilise our environment and spread native seeds.”

Vice-Captain Winnie McConaghy applauded Council for trialling solar and electric vehicles, but wanted to see that become a region-wide policy.

“I would like to see my Council “Grow Green- As We Grow” by replacing its maintenance and inspection vehicles with electric cars,” she said.

“I’d also like to see Council install solar panels on all its buildings to ensure that the electricity they use comes from the sun and not from fossil fuels burnt at power stations.”

Representatives from Albany Creek High School’s Environment Club also urged council to build a

Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) facility and provide local families with more recycling options.

Vienna Wiebe said council needed to ramp-up its recycling initiatives and wanted to see more trees planted around the region.

“In order to decrease the amount of landfill produced, we’ve been encouraging the tuckshop to eliminate plastics and switch to biodegradable packaging. I think Council could do the same,” she said.

“We’ve planted around 60 trees around our campus so far, and we plan on hosting more planting days to provide trees as habitat for fauna and help reduce our carbon footprint.

“More recently, our club has been granted a permit to keep a few native bee colonies around the campus.”

Kimora Randall said Council should advocate for more public transport infrastructure and bus services from the state government.

“As proud as we are of the progress we’ve made at our school through the environmental club, a wider community effort is imperative if we truly want to ‘Grow Green as we Grow’,” she said.

“The more people who travel by bus, the less cars on the road and the less Co2 that’s emitted into the atmosphere. It is one simple step that not only expands the transport options available to the public but can efficiently decrease the amount of carbon emitted.”

Ferny Hills State School Captain Tilly Rosenthal suggested Council could provide more bins around the region.

“When I go out I regularly see people just drop there rubbish on the ground or in the gutters which slowly can go down into the ocean and rivers and if it is just chucked on the ground I pick it up and take it until I find a bin and put it in there,” she said.

“I encourage other people to do the same thing, although I find that there are not enough bins in some places and I think if possible we should add more bins into places that do not have any.

“I am enjoying watching Council ‘Go Green As We Grow’, but I hope they take on board my suggestions.”