Hepburn Shire Council’s updated environmental sustainability strategy, Sustainable Hepburn 2022-26, was adopted at the Council meeting this week.
Environmental sustainability was the highest priority to emerge from the Hepburn Together Community Vision process in 2020/2021.
The strategy is a collaborative effort of Council with a Community Reference Group and with input from over 400 community members between who responded to a community engagement survey between October 2021 and June 2022.
Sustainable Hepburn acknowledges the interconnected relationship between many facets of environmental sustainability and proposes action on four key themes:
- Beyond zero emissions
- Natural environment and biodiversity
- Low waste, and
- Climate resilience.
Each theme shares elements of crossover which others and each requires action by Council and by the community.
Sustainable Hepburn builds on earlier sustainability strategies -the waste management, biodiversity and zero emissions strategies – and also commits council to transition the Shire to become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
Michelle Stephenson, member of the Community Reference Group, said it was great news that the Council adopted the Sustainable Hepburn strategy. “Once implemented, the benefits of the strategy will be far reaching as it addresses key issues we face as a community around resource recovery, being climate resilient, achieving net zero carbon emissions and protecting our biodiversity,” she said.
Council will work with Traditional Owners on its many actions to build stronger cultural awareness and embed Traditional Owner knowledg. Council proposes an annual Sustainable Hepburn Day, to showcase the work of the many groups, businesses and individuals who contribute to a sustainable Hepburn.
Council will also fund a Sustainable Hepburn community grants program, and sustainability awards to incentivise and celebrate achievements across the community.
Council will build a local circular economy, swap out its vehicle fleet with more electric vehicles, roll out FOGO (food organics and garden organics) kerbside collection to urban areas across the Shire, and develop a Landscape Connectivity Plan and biolink overlay in Council’s planning scheme that prioritises and places additional protections on biodiversity.
Council cannot do all of this work on its own and acknowledges the many partners who will help bring Sustainable Hepburn to life such as the many Landcare groups, Hepburn Energy, Central Highlands Greenhouse Alliance, government agencies and community groups.
“In a Sustainable Hepburn there is room for everyone to play their part, no matter how large or small. We believe that together we can make a difference to a thriving and sustainable future in Hepburn Shire, protecting and celebrating where we love to live,” said Mayor, Cr Tim Drylie.
A community launch of the strategy will be held on Saturday 29 October to showcase the work and activities underway across the Shire.
View the strategy on Council’s website at www.hepburn.vic.gov.au.