Greens launch environment policy with a strong economic focus

Newcastle Greens today launched their Protected and enhanced environment policy on World Environment Day, 94 days out from the Council elections, with a set of actions that will save the Council and save the community in the long term.

 “The approach of our environment policy is for Council to adopt a smarter approach and make investments now which will pay dividends over the years ahead,” Cr Osborne said.

 “Our policy deals with reducing waste to landfill, rehabilitating natural areas in collaboration with community groups, promoting community gardens and using a risk management approach as the least-cost pathway to dealing with greenhouse gas pollution and climate change.

“This is about taking action for the future,” Cr Osborne said.

“Newcastle Council needs to adopt a smarter approach to the management of waste. The landfill at Summerhill has a limited life and Council can’t keep burying waste that should be recycled. The cost of dealing with waste is rising and if the Council fills up Summerhill we’ll have a huge cost facing us.

“Council needs more intelligent waste management and to implement actions such as initiating a system of rewards for local businesses that reduce or eliminate their waste or requiring the organisers of community events to collect and recycle all waste associated with the event.

“The overall waste objective should be for a 25% reduction in waste disposal to landfill each year for the next 10 years, resulting in a 95% reduction,” Cr Osborne said.

Based on the State Government waste levy that Council pays, the quantity to landfill last year was more than 150,000 tonnes. According to last year’s State of the Environment report, the amount dumped in the Summerhill landfill from last year’s Council kerbside collections was 47,248 tonnes.

“Newcastle Council needs to do more to support community groups that are restoring natural areas. You only have to look along the Merewether beachfront to see the good work that volunteer groups like Merewether LandCare can achieve and at a fraction of the cost if Council undertook the work. The cost of this work is only going to rise. Council needs to facilitate this good community work all over the City, to rehabilitate bushland, remove weeds and reconnect remnant bushland areas.

“As a Council and as a City we need to change the way we use energy. The cost of fuel and electricity is going up and up and Council needs to get more efficient with its use. We need to minimise the Council’s vehicle fleet and look at alternative streetlights using LED lights and alternative energy sources such as wind power. Council needs to have the overall aim of being a zero carbon emitter because this will save the Council, save the community and save the environment.

“We need to protect what we have, reduce what we consume and act for the future,” Cr Osborne said.

Copies of the Protected and enhanced environment policy can be downloaded from the Newcastle Greens website at: http://www.newcastlegreens.org.au/policies

 Contact:         Michael Osborne 0439 442984

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