Strategic plan to continue protection of Greater Geelong’s environment

Residents will have eight
weeks to review and comment on the Draft Environment Strategy 2020-2030 and
Environment Strategy Action Plan 2020-2022.

Greater Geelong is home to
1,300 hectares of protected natural habitat and 133 kilometres of coastline,
which are enjoyed by both residents and visitors all year round. The strategy
will guide the City’s response to protect these environmental assets and
address significant environmental issues and impacts on the region.

Following extensive community
consultation, five strategic goals have been identified:

  1. Move towards a zero-emission, climate-ready city region;
  2. Create greener community spaces;
  3. Contribute to a circular economy by reducing waste;
  4. Protect, enhance and restore our region’s biodiversity; and
  5. Better integrated water management through planning and design.

The City’s decision-making, operations and programs and collaboration with stakeholders will be guided by these goals, which will help build the region’s resilience to climate risks and enhance urban and natural environments.

Community members and stakeholders were extensively consulted in the development of this strategy. They desire improvements to biodiversity and waste management, sustainable urban development and water usage, and decreased greenhouse gas emissions.

To address this feedback, key strategic actions were developed, including:

  • Amend the Sustainable Building Policy to include strengthened energy-efficiency standards and support carbon-neutral operation of all City owned facilities;
  • Develop a climate change response plan to consolidate and renew our existing efforts in climate change adaptation and mitigation;
  • Source renewable electricity for the City’s operations and public infrastructure;
  • Develop a new biodiversity strategy to guide actions that will protect and improve our region’s nature reserves;
  • Plant more than 20,000 indigenous plants every year; and
  • Implement innovative recycling projects, such as the PlastiPhalt recycled plastic road material trial, to divert recyclables from landfill.

The development of this strategy was a key action within the recently adopted Sustainability Framework. It will be supported by strategies and plans such as the Urban Forest Strategy, Stormwater Services Strategy and Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy. The draft strategy and action plan replace the Environmental Management Strategy 2014-2017.

Consultation on the Draft Environment Strategy 2020-2030 and Environment Strategy Action Plan 2020-2022 will begin on Monday 4 May on the Your Say page.

Councillor Stephanie Asher – Mayor

I’m pleased to see another key action of the Sustainability Framework has been achieved with the development of this draft Environment Strategy. The other two pillars of our Sustainability Framework comprise our financial and social impacts, and we have draft reports for each of these also out for consultation. The Draft 2020-21 Budget and the Draft Social Infrastructure Plan contribute to our success as a sustainable organisation and we encourage a holistic view of our operations and feedback on all our proposed activities.

This Environment Strategy sets out a clear way forward to build resilience against the effects of climate change, protect the region’s beautiful natural environment and enhance our built environment. We look forward to community feedback on this draft.

Councillor Eddy Kontelj, Chair, Environment portfolio

There’s been a power of work put into this draft strategy over an extended period of time. The strategy contains many great initiatives, including the use of recycled materials such as glass and plastics in roads, recycled concrete in footpaths and recycled materials such as plastics and rubber in our playgrounds and outdoor furniture as examples. There are other actions, such as strongly and loudly advocating to the state government to promptly deliver a Victorian Container Deposit Scheme. In addition, to develop waste management guidelines for planning permit applications, to guide applicants to prepare a plan to manage the waste and recycling needs of residential and commercial developments.

I encourage the community to please take the time to read through the strategy and action plan and provide feedback.

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