General News

1 December, 2022

Shire committed to green future

MAREEBA Shire Council has gained another prong in its ongoing fight to combat climate change and preserve the Great Barrier Reef after it endorsed the 2022-23 Reef Guardian Action Plan.

By Rhys Thomas

Shire committed to green future - feature photo

The Reef Guardian Program helps to effectively manage and protect the reef by using a coordinated effort from relative industries, communities and all levels of government.

The action plan addresses five key areas in the reef’s protection – climate change, catchment development, land-based run-off, direct use and reef heritage and social values.

It pairs well with council’s existing Climate Change Resilience Policy which is partially responsible for the newly constructed buy back shop at the Mareeba Transfer Station.

With the Barron River running through the shire and out to the sea, Mayor Angela Toppin said council remained committed to protecting the Great Barrier Reef’s health.

“Our activities in the Mareeba Shire will contribute to reef health now, and into the future,” she said.

In line with this pledge, Mareeba recently committed to the Reef Guardian Council Action Plan for one year which makes it easier to adjust policies as time goes on.

“This is a rapidly changing space and by adopting the policy on an annual basis, council’s policy can change in response to new opportunities and the latest developments in sustainability,” Mayor Toppin said.

Councillor Lenore Wyatt represents council in the reef guardian program and is proud of council’s commitment to the plan for the next year.

“Council has been an active Reef Guardian Council, delivering initiatives focused on auditing energy consumption, investing on solar energy at nine council-owned facilities, implementing cool burns to reduce fuel loads across the shire and educating community members on a range of environmental and sustainable topics,” she said.

“Council also opened a buy back shop in August 2022 to promote diversion of resources into the circular economy, encourage dialogue and minimise waste generation.”

Along with being a Reef Guardian Council, Mareeba is also part of the Rivers to Reef Climate Resilient Alliance alongside Tablelands Regional Council and Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire.

“The Rivers to Reef Alliance was a great initiative and the councils considered the future of low carbon economies in FNQ,” Mayor Toppin said.

“This type of working group provides an opportunity explore new ideas together, and in a regional context.”

Nearly 700kw of solar panels were installed at council buildings over the past year including the Mareeba wastewater treatment plant, a big user of power.

It even recently established the Green House Gas Emissions Inventory which allows council to identify new ways to reduce its carbon footprint.

“Mareeba Shire Council’s initiatives will be delivered at no additional cost to ratepayers but will reap environmental benefits now and in the future,” Mayor Toppin said.

“Climate change is a global issue, and we all need to be part of the solution at a local level.”


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