NSW report points way to sustainable future

By Staff Writer

More active communities, a focus on leadership from councillors and senior management, and allocated sustainability staff are some of the key drivers to achieving sustainability, according to research by the Urban Sustainability Support Alliance (USSA).

The research, which was conducted by the Institute for Sustainable Futures and based on interviews with 32 councils across NSW also revealed that a shortage of funding and a lack of coordination between State and Federal Governments are some of the challenges faced by councils.

President of the Local Government Association Cr Genia McCaffery says the findings of the research highlight the importance of an inter-governmental response to sustainability.

"It’s really important that councils get the necessary support and help from other spheres of government because we simply don’t have the resources to do it on our own.

"The research will back up our calls to state and federal government for things like more funding and the need to streamline their initiatives," she said.

Cr McCaffery says while sustainability is on top of every council’s agenda, it’s not only about the environment.

"Sustainability isn’t just about being green – it covers just about everything that a council does.

"Identifying the barriers and drivers to sustainability will help councils create long and short term strategies to promote sustainability – environmental, financial and social," she said.

President of the Shires Association, Cr Bruce Miller, says more and more regional councils are committing to sustainable practices, both internally and within their communities.

"It’s great to see a large number of rural and regional councils participated in the research," he said.

"The top ten drivers to sustainability identified in the report indicate local government’s growing commitment to sustainability and shows a huge increase in support from local communities, as well as council senior management.

"The report also shows a growing awareness of issues such as climate change, largely due to councils getting on the front foot and creating innovate projects, and actively engaging their local communities."

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