Environment and sustainability strategy

Our strategies are necessary for delivering long-term change and responding to current and future challenges and opportunities

Our Environment and Sustainability Strategy 2042 provides a roadmap to guide the actions of Council and our communities to deliver our vision and the Our Healthy Environments(PDF, 647KB)  goal and outcomes in the Corporate Plan 2022-2027.

The strategy sets ambitious targets including:

  • achieving net zero emissions for Council operations by 2039
  • maintaining the current extent of 42% native vegetation cover in the region whilst accommodating population growth
  • reviewing the coverage by 2028 with a view to increase cover over time
  • diverting 85% of waste from landfill by 2040
  • increasing our recycling rates to 70% by 2040.

Download the strategy(PDF, 7MB) 

Frequently asked questions

How will the region's environment and its communities benefit from the strategy?

This strategy addresses policy issues and key actions across the key outcomes listed above. 

Proposed targets for waste reduction and achieving net zero for our operations will save money, improve efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage material reuse and recycling opportunities. This will reduce our region's carbon footprint and encourage innovation. 

The proposed no net loss target for native vegetation sets a benchmark and is a commitment to retaining and maintaining vegetation that is habitat for our fauna. This will support our diverse ecosystems, and protect our creeks, riverbanks and coastal areas from erosion. It will also facilitate the absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and make our region a beautiful place to live and visit.

How is Council responding to climate change in the strategy?

We are leading by example and have set a science-based greenhouse gas reduction target of net zero emissions by 2039 for our own operations.

We have recognised that more work needs to be done and we are committed to preparing both a Climate Mitigation Plan and Climate Adaptation Plan. These will look at how we can reduce emissions and respond and adapt to the anticipated impacts of climate change respectively.

Consideration of natural hazards like flooding and bushfires is very important. We will prioritise long-term planning and disaster preparedness which will consider the impacts of climate change.

What does 'net zero' greenhouse gas emissions mean?

Net zero emissions means balancing the greenhouse gas emission we produce, and the greenhouse gas emissions taken out of the atmosphere.

How is Council helping the community reduce its carbon footprint?

Council will help the community by providing education about our environment and sustainable options. This will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

Over the longer term, we will ensure our programs, initiatives and information build awareness and promote action. We will support our community, businesses, and households as they reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This will contribute to cooler and more sustainable communities that are less expensive and more liveable.

How will the strategy help protect and restore habitat areas, corridors and natural areas?

The strategy sets out policy to:

  • provide guidance for development
  • provide connectivity for wildlife
  • protect and manage creeks, waterways and wetlands
  • identify priority areas for restoration.

There are actions in this strategy to continue successful programs currently delivered such as the Land Buyback for Environmental Purposes, Voluntary Conservations Agreements, Land for Wildlife and Bushcare.

We will continue and expand our work regenerating creeks and waterways on their properties. Educational resources and information will support landholders with waterways on their properties.

We will also assist private landholders to protect and restore the natural environment through ecological restoration advice and incentives. We will continue to work with stakeholders and partners on koala habitat restoration.

How will the Environment and Sustainability Strategy assist businesses to be more sustainable?

This strategy encourages sustainable and climate positive businesses that contribute positively to innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth and the partnerships to support trial or incubator projects.

The outcomes outlined within this strategy focus on assisting businesses by providing information about sustainable practices and resources.

In the next few years, we are also proposing to investigate opportunities to support capital improvements for businesses to achieve improvements in energy and water efficiency, waste reduction, resource recovery and emissions reduction.

How will the no net loss native vegetation target affect urban growth?

The proposed native vegetation target seeks to maintain vegetation coverage at the current percentage acknowledging there will be both losses and gains. The target will assist with planning for urban growth and encouraging regeneration and restoration activities.

Will being greener cost more money and how will it be paid for?

We are committed to going green as we grow, but being green does not have to be expensive. There are things everyone in our community can do every day to make a difference. The strategy focuses on looking at how to improve our environmental footprint. 

Investment decisions are made after careful consideration in order to achieve environmental benefits. The food organics garden system that will be introduced in the coming years is one example of this. 

As we work towards our goal of net zero emissions for our own operations, financial savings are likely to result from decreased energy costs and increased efficiencies.