Council levy signals bright future
  • Friday 26 August 2011

Sunshine Coast Councillors unanimously endorsed and applauded the outcomes of the environment levy annual report, which has a three-pronged approach to maintaining, conserving and improving the Sunshine Coast environment.

The annual report highlighted achievements such as the:

  • Sunshine Coast Rivers Initiative
    a formidable regional partnership of more than 30 community groups and organisations, all dedicated to protecting and improving the waterways and nominees for the Australian National RiverPrize.
  • Mooloolah River landowner partnership
    a group of private landholders adjoining Mooloolah River restoration sites, who assist in weed management, and revegetation. 
  • Land for Wildlife program (LFW)
    and the work of over 800 private landowners who are actively managing over 14,000 hectares of private land across the Coast. Sunshine cost council has the largest LFW program in of any local government in SEQ
  • acquisition of 324 hectares of core habitat; and 
  • completion of a fine scale vegetation mapping project
    since 2009, council has been using state of the art software to map more than 9 billion points, providing council with a powerful tool to calculate the region wide extent of vegetation and habitat on the Sunshine Coast.

Environment Portfolio Councillor Keryn Jones said council recently made one of its most exciting acquisitions—two blocks of land in Obi Obi that join two national parks.

“It’s not often you get the opportunity to re-unite two national parks and the rich species diversity that exists within them,” Cr Jones said.

“It’s entirely thanks to the environment levy—the collective might of Sunshine Coast ratepayers that we can re-forge the link between these two core habitat areas for future generations.

“But it’s not just about acquisitions, it’s about helping our private landholders protect and manage the biodiversity values of their own land.

“Last year, council awarded $350,000 in grants to these landholders through the Land for Wildlife program and Voluntary Conservation Agreement initiative.

“Providing grants to private landholders has a multiplier effect—for every dollar spent on grants and partnerships, the benefits to the Sunshine Coast are reaped ten fold.

“This is private land that the owners are prepared to look after for the benefit of regions environment. The grants we provide allow the landowners the support they need to conserve and manage remnant vegetation and core habitat.

“Our third approach to conservation and preservation through the environment levy is identifying major catalyst projects that help us deliver on the ground actions in the best way possible. These projects give us the knowledge to prioritise and deliver effective programs across the Coast.”

For the coming year, council is planning to:

  • continue implementing major coastal dunal rehabilitation projects, targeting a number of key foreshore sites across the Coast
  • finalise region-wide fine scale vegetation mapping that will underpin the new Biodiversity Report Card
  • develop a road reserve conservation strategy
  • set up a youth engagement project, ‘Stewards of our Future’
  • develop a new landowners information kit
  • continue funding for community grants and partnerships
  • continue implementing council’s acquisition program;
  • delivery of council’s waterways and coastal foreshores strategy

The environment levy is the key funding source for council’s 10 year biodiversity strategy.

The Environment Levy Program 2010 – 2011 Progress Report was presented to council’s Ordinary Meeting yesterday.