Newcastle, Carpentaria win local government awards

By Rob O’Brien
A groundbreaking initiative by Newcastle City Council to address climate change and a domestic violence campaign in Carpentaria have won the 2009 National Awards for Local Government.
The two winners were announced by Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Anthony Albanese at the second meeting of the Australian Council of Local Government (ACLG) at Parliament House yesterday.
The winners were selected by an independent judging panel from 21 category winners. More than 230 entries were submitted by councils and shires across Australia.
In a break from tradition, only two national winners were selected this year – an overall winner and a winning small council (under 15,000 properties).
Newcastle City Council developed the world’s first greenhouse gas speedometer – – in 2001 to measure and report progress of its local greenhouse action plan.

The initiative, which has already reduced its own electricity consumption by 40 per cent based on 1995 levels, was presented at the OECD Competing Cities and Climate Change Conference in Milan Italy in October 2008 and has now been included in an OECD preparation report for Copenhagen in the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference [COP15] in December.

The award for smaller councils was won by Carpentaria Shire Council’s program Normanton Building Safer Communities Action Team (BSCAT).

‘Domestic Violence – it’s not our game’ involved a collaboration between the council and the Normanton Stingers Rugby League Club to address the problem of domestic violence through sponsorship of the local Stingers Rugby League Team.

Commercial advertisements supporting the campaign were run on Imparja Television during the football season featuring the players and the message. Car stickers and a banner bearing the slogan are displayed at games and community events.

The program has seen domestic violence incidents drop by 55 per cent and breaches of domestic violence orders drop by 64 per cent.

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