Friday, June 5th, 2015

As governments falter, people and communities show how on the environment

While Australia is accused of international pariah status for its failure on climate, individuals and groups are showing the way. Exciting and imaginative projects battled it out for this year’s environmental “Oscars”, announced in Melbourne tonight. The nation’s top such awards, mark World Environment Day.                      

The sheer breadth and scale of renewable technologies and projects, the Australian “firsts” and the high level of collaboration with industry and research institutions won the Clean Energy Award for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Set up with a mandate to support and produce results in   clean and renewable energy it has more than met that goal.

At a time of scarce reporters and tight budgets across much of Australia’s news industry, Donna Page, Matthew Kelly, Helen Gregory and Damon Cronshaw of the Newcastle Herald showed that a local paper can make a real difference to its community with a thorough and dogged investigation. Starting with a 17-page expose, it revealed generations of neglect by state governments leading to serious health problems among residents. This won the Media Award.

Practical hands on programs were just part of the Care for Hedland Environment Association’s full-scale approach in Western Australia to environmental problems in the Hedland and Pilbara areas. It encompassed awareness raising, education, and important ongoing monitoring. This association won the Community Award. For the association Kelly Howlett showed a commitment over the last 12 years and is an outstanding example of what individuals can achieve by working through and with their local communities. She won the Individual Award.

With its flexible, industry-ready water quality treatment scheme the Centre for Macroalgal Resources and Biotechnology at James Cook University in Queensland breaks new ground. Using innovative techniques for locally sourced and grown macro-algae, it produced a transformative project for the treatment of nutrient rich and contaminated waters and won the Excellence in Sustainable Water Management Award.

The impressive range of initiative and projects covered by the awards is shown by prizes going to an upgraded sewage treatment plant set up with the support of and cooperation of the local community in Maroochydore Queensland. And with a creative and innovative approach to leading sustainability education for over half a century in South Australia. Also outstanding was a largely unfunded program of eradication of invasive ants led by indigenous communities on  the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory.
(See below for a complete list of winners)

Winners were announced at the Awards Presentation Dinner at the Ballroom, Park Hyatt Hotel, Melbourne.

For further details please contact:

Maggie Smythe, Program Coordinator
United Nations Association of Australia (Victoria Division)
Ph: (03) 9670 7878 || Mob: 0418 544 315 || Email: [email protected]


Clean Energy Award (sponsored by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources)

WINNER:  Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ACT)

Habitat Restoration Fund Biodiversity Award

WINNER:  Tiwi Land Ranger Program, Tropical Fire Ant Eradication Project (NT)

Swinburne University of Technology Excellence in Design Award

WINNER:   Goulburn Murray Water, Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Mallee Catchment Management Authority, Department of Environment Land Water and Planning, Parks Victoria, Hattah Lakes Restoration Project (VIC)

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Sustainability Leadership Awards

Small and Medium Organisations

JOINT WINNER:  Southern Cross Resorts, Green Futures Program (NSW)

JOINT WINNER  Yarra Valley Estate (VIC)

Large Organisations

WINNER:  Australian Ethical, Australian Ethical Superannuation (NSW)

Hanson’s Green Building Award           

WINNER:  John Wardle Architects and NADAA In Collaboration, Melbourne School of Design, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne (VIC)

Business Awards

      Best Specific Environmental Initiative

WINNER:  Unitywater, Maleny Sewage Treatment Plant and Wetlands (QLD)

Community Award

WINNER:  Care for Hedland Environmental Association Inc (WA)

Excellence in Overall Environmental Management

WINNER: Australian Ethical, Australian Ethical Superannuation (NSW)

Environmental School Award

       WINNER: Coolbinia Primary School, 360 Tonnes of Impact: Thinking Globally and Acting   Locally (WA)

Excellence in Sustainable Water Management Award

WINNER:  MACRO - The Centre for Macroalgal Resources & Biotechnology at James Cook University (QLD)

Individual Award

WINNER:  Kelly Howlett, Care for Hedland Environmental Association (WA)

Local Government Awards

Best Specific Environmental Initiative

WINNER:  Kangaroo Island Council, Visible Solar Project (SA)

Media Award for Environmental Reporting

WINNER:  Donna Page, Matthew Kelly, Damon Cronshaw and Helen Gregory - Newcastle Herald, Toxic Truth (NSW)

Sustainability Education Award

WINNER:  KESAB Environmental Sustainability Education, Collaboration and Action (SA)


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