In the last six months, Sunshine Coast Council’s Environment Levy has added more achievements to its already impressive repertoire with more land bought for conservation, new community partnerships forged, and the introduction of a new backyard biodiversity education tool.
The annual $60 levy, charged to each household on the rates notice, has helped to successfully preserve, maintain and protect the region’s environment since it was first consolidated across the Coast in 2009.
Environment Portfolio holder, Councillor Keryn Jones, said these latest achievements show how essential the Environment Levy is for the Sunshine Coast.
“Thanks to the Environment Levy, council is protecting more important habitat with 101 hectares of land in Landsborough bought to conserve its rich wildlife, eucalypt forest, wetland and healthland,” Cr Jones said.
“Council is funding community partnerships with non-for-profit community groups such as assisting the Wildlife Hospital at Australia Zoo pay for its patients’ food and medical requirements.
“We’re also assisting local residents to make their backyard more wildlife friendly thanks to our new online education tool which focuses on backyard biodiversity through the Living Smart Homes program.
“The Environment Levy makes these achievements possible.”
Objectives of the Environment Levy Program and Policy are to purchase environmentally significant land for its protection; establish partnerships with community groups and landholders; and manage major initiatives and projects. Achievements over the past six months include:
- purchase of 101 hectares of land in Landsborough, protecting significant core habitat for flora and fauna; and 213 hectares of land in Obi Obi, joining two national parks and presenting opportunities for public use and future biodiversity offsets
- an additional eight community environment partnerships which includes $150,000 over three-years to the Wildlife Hospital at Australia Zoo; $75,000 over three years to the Reef Check Foundation, to maintain the region’s reef network; and $40,316 to the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, to educate the community about the region’s fauna
- a new Backyard Biodiversity module for council’s web-based Living Smart Program which encourages local residents to learn about recreating and protecting a habitat for local wildlife in their own backyards by providing resources for foraging, roosting and nesting
- the ongoing rehabilitation of our coastal foreshore from Kings Beach (Happy Valley) to Sunrise Beach
- fauna monitoring undertaken in a number of reserves across the region, the results of which will be integrated into Sunshine Coast’s first Biodiversity Report Card due to be released late 2012.
In addition, a total of $276,448 awarded to 107 landholders to undertake on-ground projects that protect and enhance the natural assets and biodiversity values of the Sunshine Coast.
“Surveys tell us time and again that residents and visitors love the Sunshine Coast because of the magnificent natural environment. Ensuring we protect and manage that environment requires a whole suite of tools. Some of the most essential are funded by the Environment Levy, so it is a critically important funding source,” Cr Jones said.
For more information on the Environment Levy Policy, Program and Progress, go to www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au