The City of Bunbury was today named as the State winner of the Keep Australia Beautiful 2019 Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities Awards at a special event in Kings Park.
The inaugural winner of the award in 1969, Bunbury was selected as this year’s winner from five other finalists and will represent Western Australia at the national Tidy Towns awards in Alice Springs in April 2020.
Bunbury won the award based on the strength of a number of community projects including the transformation of Koombana Bay, its strong focus on litter and waste management, community education, and its commitment to sustainability.
The City’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) was also recognised with the State Young Legends Award for a number of projects. This included one initiative which raised funds to help install lockers, to be used by people experiencing homelessness in Bunbury, to safely store their belongings.
In addition to Bunbury, Albany, Northam, Esperance, Carnarvon, Nullagine, Bridgetown and Martu Farm were awarded or highly commended in other award categories at the event.
Twelve judges visited communities throughout WA between June 24 and July 5, 2019 to assess entries and make recommendations to the Keep Australia Beautiful Council.
State category winners were awarded $500 and the overall State winner $2,000.
As stated by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
“As the State winner of this year’s Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities Awards, Bunbury has shown that its inspiring projects not only improve the lives of local people but also contribute to future-proofing the city through sustainability projects.
“The various category winners have also shown great initiative in developing projects that are making a real difference in their local communities.
“These projects have started out at a grass-roots level and epitomise how small scale ideas have the potential to lead to positive change across the wider WA community.”
Through the Tidy Towns awards, the McGowan Government is committed to work with communities to ensure WA’s environment is valued and protected.
“For 50 years these awards have recognised WA communities for their commitment to investing in the environmental, social and economic sustainability of their cities and towns.”
State Winner – Bunbury
Bunbury submitted extensive projects in all award categories. The Koombana Bay foreshore is being transformed with Stage 1 of the $26 million project complete. The project included extensive consultation with local Noongar groups, the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council and Goomburrup Aboriginal Corporation. Facilities include water access for people with disability, change rooms and wheelchair-friendly barbecues and tables. The $12 million Dolphin Discovery Centre expansion is complete, providing a first-class tourist and research centre. Other projects entered into the awards included the ‘My 3 Bins App’ for information on recycling, litter and waste recovery, replacing printed information. As well as keeping community members informed, the app should assist Bunbury to meet the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030 targets. Plastics in the ocean will be collected with drainage netting and sea bins, funded by a community litter grant from Keep Australia Beautiful. Volunteer groups, such as Friends of Manea Park, have worked hard on environmental mapping and containing dieback over 360 hectares of bushland. The Youth Advisory Council brings a youth perspective to event-planning and activities such as the Shift Youth Festival.
Litter Prevention and Waste Management – Albany
Op Shop Clothes Recycling was started by retired couple Max and Marianne Chester and has prevented tonnes of unwanted clothes from Albany’s 12 op shops from going to landfill and provided community education on what can be recycled. This project has grown over six years from 10 per cent of clothing being saved to 100 per cent of unwanted clothing being repurposed overseas. The City of Albany supports this project by providing funds for clothing bales and transportation to Perth. The project has resulted in positive outcomes for overseas communities, a reduction in clothing waste to landfill and an increased community awareness of the impacts of shopping habits.
Young Legends – Bunbury – Youth Advisory Council and Bella Burgemeister
The Bunbury Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is a 14-person council for youth aged 12-25 that promotes mental wellbeing. Activities include planning the youth music event, Shift Youth Festival, and helping with the Bunbury Youth Precinct design. YAC member Bella Burgemeister, 13, has also been recognised for her project to install lockers for people who are homeless, providing a place to store their belongings. She has raised $3,000 and secured funding of $30,000 from the local government for 24 lockers over three sites, the first at the Graham Bricknell Music Shell. It is a significant youth-led project, supported by the City of Bunbury, with a potential to be a model for other communities.
Environmental Sustainability – Esperance
Close to the centre of Esperance, and popular for fishing and surfing, Fourth Beach had multiple informal pathways causing extensive erosion of vegetation, top soil and bedrock along the limestone ridges onto the beach. Thanks to strong community partnerships, the Fourth Beach dune system has been extensively restored. Fencing was installed to create a single access route to formalise pathways and at the lookout area. Bushrangers from two schools, Work for the Dole participants, Shire of Esperance environment officers, Esperance Weeds Action Group and the Tjaltjraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation planted more than 1,000 seedlings to revegetate the area. Seven truckloads of brushing was spread to minimise weed growth and help keep people off the area.
Environmental Education – Carnarvon
Carnarvon Youth Outreach Services offers a variety of services for disengaged youth to support wellbeing and development. It provides a range of drop-in sessions, youth camps and mentoring services. The ‘On Country’ program, in collaboration with Wula Gura Nyinda, (translated to ‘you come this way’), combines fun learning opportunities in the pristine wilderness environment of Dirk Hartog Island through cultural activities, such as finding bush tucker, listening to cultural stories and kayaking. Camp attendees also carried out a beach clean-up and audit with Tangaroa Blue Foundation Australian Marine Debris project at Mystery Beach, a known location for marine debris to come ashore in large quantities.
Heritage and Culture – Northam
‘Bilya Koort Boodja Centre for Nyoongar Culture and Environmental Knowledge’ provides a place that fosters, celebrates and protects the culture of the Balladong people. Opening in August 2018, the state-of-the-art centre, on the Avon River, includes spaces for interactive displays, a welcoming ‘sorry space’, a yarning circle, artefacts, videos, interpretative text, education and cultural trails. The sorry space includes an area for people to sit and listen to Aboriginal people on video screens telling of their experiences of the stolen generation.
As well as a tourist destination the centre is also designed to improve the community’s social cohesion through greater understanding and respect of Aboriginal culture.
General Appearance – Nullagine
Nullagine faces considerable challenges as a small remote community. The attractive appearance of this Pilbara community, situated between Marble Bar and Newman, is because the community has made a significant effort despite the community’s small population (about 200 people). Long-term residents and local government staff in the old gold rush town have cleared the townsite of spinifex and invasive weeds and carry out daily litter pickups. The town is a popular destination for tourists and for gold prospectors. The school and local Aboriginal community contribute strongly to keeping their community litter free.
Community Action and Wellbeing – Bridgetown
‘From Geegelup to Bridgetown – 150 years – Our Home’ was a community celebration for the town’s 150th anniversary, highlighting different aspects of its life and history. The organising committee involved the whole community and planned events throughout the year. The key event, held on June 9, 2018, the day of the 150th anniversary, was a community gathering and afternoon tea at a 25-metre-long table. Tablecloths featured work by local photographers and artists. Central to the event was a light and sound show projected onto the historic civic centre building accompanied by live music. It featured historical photographs, animations, video footage and artwork by children created through workshops.
HIGHLY COMMENDED Environmental Education Award – Martu Farm
Martu Farm’s Education, Training and Employment Wellbeing Program provides three Year 11 students with the opportunity to attend the farm two days a week to study for a Certificate II in Horticulture as part of the Wellbeing Education Training Employment Program. It is hoped it will create a pathway for further school students to participate in the future. Alongside this opportunity at Martu Farm is a three-year trial to grow fruit as part of the $5.9 million Transforming Agriculture in the Pilbara project run by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.