Media Releases 2011

Yarra named Sustainable City of the Year

02 August 2011

The City of Yarra has been named Victorian Sustainable City of the Year at the annual Sustainable Cities and Clean Beach Awards, announced last Friday night.

The awards, presented by Keep Australia Beautiful Victoria, recognise the actions taken by councils, community groups, schools and individuals to improve the sustainability of their communities.

Yarra was recognised for a range of initiatives aimed at reducing waste, cutting energy consumption and preserving the natural environment.

As well as winning the overall Sustainable City award, Yarra also won the ‘Community Action’ category for the Yarra Neighbourhood Orchard program, which organises a monthly food swap for home gardeners, so that people can share their excess produce and their home gardening expertise.

Mayor Cr Alison Clarke said the award reflected Council and community efforts to make Yarra a more sustainable place to live.

“This is a fabulous result and something of which Council and the whole community should be very proud,” Cr Clarke said.

“Yarra Council has set a target to be carbon neutral by 2020. This award highlights the excellent work being done by Council and our community to work towards that goal,” she said.

“Council has been determined to make a difference, whether that be through investing $1.5 million to make local streetlights energy efficient or by establishing the Yarra Energy Foundation to work with businesses and residents to reduce emissions.

“Our leadership on environmental matters is matched by the enthusiasm and commitment of local community groups, who are showing how simple it can be to live lightly,” Cr Clarke said.

“On behalf of Council, thank you, and congratulations to everyone involved in helping to make Yarra Victoria’s Sustainable City of the Year.”

In addition to the two awards Yarra received, the following local initiatives were category finalists:

  • Cultural Heritage - Fitzroy Aboriginal Heritage Walking Tour.
    Walking maps were produced by Council to guide participants on a sustainable tour of places of Aboriginal significance in Fitzroy.

  • Water Conservation - Smith Street Water Sensitive Urban Street Design
    As part of a Council initiative, trees were planted in Smith Street in pits that irrigate the trees and remove contaminants from storm water before the water is released back into the drain and into local waterways.

  • Towards Zero Waste - Compost Mates
    As part of this program, volunteers collect food waste from local cafés and turn it into compost. Over a six-month period, the Compost Mates program diverted 12,227.28 kilograms of food waste from landfill.

  • Protection of the Environment - Yarra River Keepers Association
    This group is a leader in restoring and protecting the Yarra River. The group educates the community about the significance of the river, and conducts research.

  • Community Government Partnerships - Establishment of the Yarra Energy Foundation.
    Council has so far contributed $600,000 to establish the Yarra Energy Foundation. Launched in April 2011, the Foundation will provide retrofitting initiatives and education programs for Yarra residents and businesses to help them reduce their carbon emissions.

  • Community Government Partnerships - Skills Program for Community Groups & Leaders
    Local climate change community group, Yarra Climate Action Now!, participated in Council’s year-long training program to develop new skills to assist with their campaigns.

More information about the awards is available at Yarra - 2011 Sustainable City of the Year.


For media enquiries about this issue, please contact:
Bernadette Collins
Communications Officer
9205 5042 


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