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Council showcases $12.8 million green investment

Each year, Sunshine Coast Council’s Environment Levy, contributed by all ratepayers, helps make numerous programs, projects and initiatives possible. Today (Wednesday, November 10) a snapshot of the 2020/21 financial year achievements was released.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Environment Levy program makes a significant contribution to maintaining and enhancing the natural assets and liveability of our Sunshine Coast.

“Each year the program continues to grow, with $12.8 million having been allocated in the last financial year (2020/21) to a suite of initiatives across our region,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Inspiring our community to value the environment and play their part in providing a liveable, sustainable and resilient future is a fundamental goal of our council, and a key priority for the Environment Levy.

“Programs like our outstanding Land for Wildlife program – which has the largest membership of any local government area participating in the national program – has more than 1200 registered property owners, resulting in more than 8000 hectares of privately-owned land being managed with conservation objectives in mind.”

Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Maria Suarez said buying, protecting and enhancing environmentally significant land was another key component of our Environment Levy.

“In the last financial year, the Levy enabled Council to invest $5.6 million, purchasing six properties, adding 242 hectares to our conservation estate,” Cr Suarez said.

“As a result, our Council’s conservation estate now totals more than 7000 hectares – a significant legacy outcome preserving our region’s natural assets for the community now and into the future.

“During the 2020/21 financial year our Blue Heart Sunshine Coast project also continued to grow with support from the Environment Levy.

“We acquired 38 hectares of land for habitat protection and enhancement, monitored fish assemblages and crustaceans at Coolum Creek Wetland, engaged with Blue Heart landholders and started a two-year blue carbon pilot project.”

Environment and Liveability Portfolio Councillor Peter Cox said the Environment Levy program was a key funding source to support our collective efforts to implement our Banksia award-winning Environment and Liveability Strategy.

“We owe our thanks to the network of dedicated volunteers and partnership groups as they go hand-in-hand with council’s efforts to preserve and maintain our natural environment,” Cr Cox said.

“This year council provided $590,000 to 20 Environment Levy partnership community groups to support their important environmental conservation work.

“We also now have 88 registered properties representing 1320 protected hectares operating under Voluntary Conservation Agreements.

“Each year the Environment Levy program seeks to build on previous successes and identify new project opportunities. The 2020/21 year is no different and we are proud to highlight some of those achievements in the annual report.”

Find out more on council’s website: sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au

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