What is environmental sustainability?

    Environmental sustainability is about minimising our impacts on the earth's natural resources to maintain environmental health, build healthy communities and ensure resilient economies into the future.

    Why an 'environmental sustainability' strategy and not a 'sustainability' strategy?

    The Community Strategic Plan 2013-2023 acts as a high-level sustainability strategy for the Shire, describing the community's priorities and Council's objectives for governance, social, economic and environmental outcomes.

    Council decided an Environmental Sustainability Strategy was needed to help strengthen environmental decision making and actions across Council's operations.

    While the focus of this strategy is environmental, the social, economic and governance components of sustainability are also an important part of the strategy, making up a set of guiding principles (see pages 16 to 22 of the draft).

    Why is this strategy only about Council's operations?

    The environmental impact of Council's activities and operations is significant. We want the strategy to establish a comprehensive approach to getting our own 'house in order' to give a stronger basis on which we can help our partners, stakeholders and community to reduce their environmental footprint.

    Why is the strategy needed?

    Staff and stakeholders have highlighted the need to clarify what environmental sustainability means for Council. We also need to coordinate Council's environmental management efforts to provide the best outcome for our environment and our community.

    Council operates on a limited budget and with limited staff resources, it's important that we focus our efforts on activities that have maximum impact, benefits and value for money.  This strategy establishes a framework to evaluate and prioritise both existing and emerging environmental sustainability opportunities.

    How was the strategy developed?

    The strategy is designed to inform Council's decisions and operations, so it has been developed collaboratively by staff responsible for the management and delivery of Council's services.  Staff identified environmental principles and actions in existing Council programs and policies and brought them together to form an holistic approach to environmental sustainability across the organisation. 

    Why hasn't the community been more involved in drafting the strategy?

    The Environmental Sustainability Strategy draws on the principles and actions identified in existing environmental management programs and policies from across the organisation's various operations.  These include the Integrated Waste Management Strategy, the Integrated Water Cycle Management Strategy, the Roadside Vegetation Management Plan and others.  Each of these documents has been developed with community input.  Council now seeks community feedback on the draft document to ensure it meets the community's expectations. 

    How much will it cost to implement Council's Environmental Sustainability Strategy?

    Costs haven't been determined at this stage. Council is seeking feedback from staff and the community about this overall approach and any gaps in our planned environmental management activities. Once the strategy is finalised, we can put detailed project plans and costings together to determine the most effective way of responding to environmental issues and identify potential funding sources. Actions in the strategy will be assessed on how cost effective they are to ensure we deliver value for money.

    How can I have my say on the draft strategy?

    There are a number of ways you can provide feedback on the draft strategy:


    By post to:

    The General Manager
    Tweed Shire Council
    PO Box 816
    Murwillumbah NSW 2484

    By email to:


    In person:

    Attend a community information session.  See the Key Dates section for details.  

    All feedback must be received by no later than 8am on Monday 23 March 2015.

    Where the submission is in the form of an objection, the reasons for the objection should be given.

    All submissions will be considered in the finalisation of the strategy before adoption by Council.

    How can I find out more?

    A copy of the draft plan is available online here at Your Say Tweed.

    You can access further information on the draft strategy by attending an information session, or by making an appointment to discuss the draft strategy with Council staff.

    For further details, contact Debbie Firestone, Program Leader - Sustainability, on 02 6670 2555.