Overall Winner: Rockhampton


Scoring highly across several categories, Rockhampton has delivered a range of well planned and executed projects demonstrating a strong commitment to sustainability and the community, making them highly deserving of the win.

Overall Highly Commended: Cunnamulla

The judging panel wish to acknowledge the achievements of this remote town with limited resources in delivering genuine outcomes, linking community, environment and planning.

Resource Recovery and Waste Management Award

This award recognises innovation and achievements in recycling or waste reduction including initiatives that conserve resources or recover and re-use materials.

WINNER: Circular economy driving our future in the Rockhampton Region

Rockhampton Regional Council is responsible for maintaining an extensive road network, with some 840km of sealed urban roads and 1138km of rural unsealed roads. Council saw an opportunity to recover, sort and process ‘dirty’ materials from road resurfacing works into clean products which they could reuse on a daily basis.

Council’s ‘Dale Park’ facility has been established to stockpile, crush and grade materials ready for reuse and is now producing several grades of crushed concrete and gravel as well as topsoil and asphalt profiling.

This initiative is not only reusing materials that would otherwise have been destined for landfill, but it’s reducing the need for virgin materials and saving Council money.

Heritage and Culture Award

This award recognises outstanding commitment to the conservation and celebration of a community’s indigenous and non-indigenous heritage and culture.

WINNER: Cunnamulla Bushlands Project, Paroo Shire Council

The Cunnamulla Bushlands project commenced in 2010 with the community acknowledgement of the need to showcase and celebrate the natural history of the Paroo region to complement the cultural heritage of the people and their lives. The Bushlands have been a key visitor attraction for ten years but after extensive drought conditions, the Bushlands needed refurbishment. In 2020, Council partnered with RAPAD Employment Services Queensland to rejuvenate and upgrade this recreational area.

One of the key projects undertaken was an extensive replanting of the area during which, Indigenous volunteers identified the heritage value of certain species as prime bush tucker. A species brochure has been developed and is available at the Cunnamulla Visitor Information Centre that details the plants, the ecosystems and the indigenous bush tucker value of each plant.

Young Legends Award

This award recognises achievements by an individual or group/s of young people (under 25) who have demonstrated significant commitment to the environment and/or have made significant contributions to any of the other categories.

WINNER: Elijah Richardson from Bundaberg

Seven-year-old Elijah enjoys exploring and learning about the natural world. His love for the ocean, reef, rock pools and sea life and his favourite activity of snorkeling has made him aware of the damage that litter and marine debris can cause to the marine ecosystem. During the past year Elijah has taken a proactive role in instigating clean-up activities and promoting his wish for others to play their part, young and not so young in caring for our oceans.

Elijah has been involved with Tangaroa Blue, participated in online youth forums and awareness campaigns and organised a community clean-up.  In addition to promoting his cause through social media, Elijah is aware of more traditional ways of sharing messages, and through the Waste to Art Competition 2020 he has created a ‘Whale of Waste’.

Elijah has been featured in print, online and broadcast media and been recognised through awards and has been invited to be an Ambassador for Tangaroa Blue.

Environmental Sustainability – Water Award

This award recognises leadership and innovation in water conservation and management for the future.

WINNER: From River to Reef, improving water quality in the Rockhampton Region

The Fitzroy River estuary is a vitally important waterway that supports an abundance of aquatic wildlife and provides significant recreational value to the local community. Historically, all of the effluent from Rockhampton’s three Sewage Treatment Plants was discharged to the Fitzroy River estuary.

Rockhampton Regional Council has implemented upgrades that have delivered a significant reduction in nitrogen released to the Fitzroy River estuary. The strategy included upgrading the South Rockhampton Sewage Treatment Plant through the installation of a new aeration system and dedicated anoxic zones to improve nitrogen removal. This upgrade work and the construction of a new pipeline enabled the ageing West Rockhampton Sewage Treatment Plant to be decommissioned and its sewage inflow directed to the upgraded South Rockhampton Sewage Treatment Plant.

The completion of other renewal and upgrade works at the nearby North Rockhampton Sewage Treatment Plant have also improved performance. Work is also ongoing to complete the establishment of recycled water schemes and improved biosolids management at both plants.

Environmental Sustainability – Natural Environment Management Award

This award recognises the protection, conservation and enhancement of the natural environment.

WINNER: Cunnamulla Bushlands Project, Paroo Shire Council

The Cunnamulla Bushlands supports natural resources education, encouraging exploration along a trail which features the diverse landscapes of the arid zone and the plant species represented in each landscape system across the Paroo Region.

In 2020, Council partnered with RAPAD Employment Services Queensland to rejuvenate and upgrade this recreational area. Volunteers led by Council’s Parks and Garden’s Team undertook the physical works to rebuild the Bushlands; huts/shade structures were constructed, pathways resurfaced, and a new bridge built of the water course that transects the area as well as an extensive replanting of the area. They restored the Nursery building and started propagating the native species for planting in the Bushlands and across the Shire.

A watering system has been installed to ensure the Bushlands can be maintained during periods of extended drought conditions, ensuring the area represents the natural bush of the local bioregion.

Council continues to provide governance and on-going support for this important natural history and resource management project.

Environmental Communication and Engagement Award

This award recognises outstanding achievements in raising awareness in environmental sustainability, leading to empowerment and behaviour change amongst the target audience.

WINNER: Cunnamulla Bushlands Project, Paroo Shire Council

Paroo Shire Council recognises the value of natural resources management and the need to educate residents and visitors about the challenges of living sustainably in an arid landscape.

In the Cunnamulla Bushlands, Council has installed interpretive signage, incorporating a large site map, species indicators and QR codes to enable digital access to information, particularly during the COVID period. An A5 species brochure is available at the Cunnamulla Visitor Information Centre detailing the plants, the ecosystems and the indigenous bush tucker value of each plant.

The Cunnamulla Bushlands represents samples of key ecosystems found across the local region; visitors move from space to space with a sense of transition. Seats are located within each regional landscape encouraging visitors to take a break in their journey and explore all aspects in context. Further to this, the signage communicates the high level of community input and ownership of the Bushlands precinct.

Community Health, Wellbeing and Interest Award

This award recognises initiatives for the health and well-being of a community building a strong, healthy vibrant and accessible community.

WINNER: Sport and Active Living Festival, Gladstone Regional Council.

Gladstone Region is a vibrant and proactive community with a wide range of transient working and living scope from beach to bush. With an abundance of working families, of which many are shift workers, engaging in sport and active living can prove to be difficult. In addition, it is also a challenge for sport and recreation clubs to promote their sport, acquire and maintain volunteers to run the facilities.

To address these issues, Gladstone Regional Council created the annual Sport and Active Living Festival to showcase what the region has on offer within the Sport and Active Living space. The week-long festival includes come and Try days, an expo where clubs can showcase their sport and interact with community members and a Club Development Workshop Day and Gala Dinner.

The festival is working to grow and build the skillset of volunteers as well as build a strong, healthy vibrant and accessible community to all in which we live in.