Environment Levy annual report released
  • Friday 16 September 2016

Do you want to know how your Environment Levy contribution has been spent? 

The Sunshine Coast community can now check on the actions and outcomes made through their Environment Levy over the past 12 months thanks to the release of the annual report for 2015/16.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Environment Levy program this year had delivered significant environmental achievements for the region.

“The Environment Levy allows council to further invest in the protection, enhancement and sustainable use of the region’s biodiversity, waterways and foreshores, and to also strengthen partnerships with the community,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“Endorsed by council today, the Environment Levy Annual Report 2015/16 details exactly how and where council is investing the levy to ensure that the natural environments we care about continue to be valued, protected and maintained for current and future generations.

“The report also showcases many of the images captured through the 2015 inaugural Sunshine Coast Landscape and Wildlife Photography Award, which has assisted to raise awareness of the beauty and significance of our valued Sunshine Coast environment.”

Hard copies of the annual report will be available at council libraries and customer service centres and can be viewed and downloaded from council’s website.

Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the many important Environment Levy projects were only made possible thanks to the contribution ratepayers make each year.

“In the last financial year, $1.6 million went towards the acquisition of two new reserves in Maleny and Bald Knob that conserves approximately 77 hectares,” Cr McKay said.

“Once acquired, council manages these lands to ensure the significant biodiversity values and landscape connections are protected and enhanced for today’s community and future generations to enjoy and appreciate, with over $965,000 contributed last year to the establishment and ongoing maintenance of Environment Levy acquired reserves.

“We invested $370,000 towards building our knowledge through projects like the pioneering flying fox satellite tracking project, finalising and implementing the Koala Conservation Plan and improving our understanding of native fauna and flora to better manage the animals living in our reserves.

“Around $950,000 went into delivering on-ground environmental projects including ongoing rehabilitation of coastal dunes and reserves, removing weeds in road reserves, and planning for, and restoring waterway vegetation in Pumicestone Passage, the Mary River and the Maroochy River.

“With Environment Levy funds, council invested $880,000 on engaging with and supporting 22 Sunshine Coast community groups, 115 private landowners and an army of volunteers in their conservation efforts.

“The report also provides a snapshot of the action being undertaken to reduce pest plants and animals in our environment including a $350,000 allocation to the coordinated delivery of pest management and community engagement and education initiatives.”

Fast facts

Buying, protecting and enhancing environmentally significant land

  • $1.6million invested to acquire two new properties, adding approximately 77 hectares to the Sunshine Coast Conservation Estate
  • Around $310,000 spent on establishment activities across 12 reserves (1081 hectares)
  • $657,000 spent on the management of lands associated with the broader Environment Levy conservation estate.

Delivering on-ground environmental projects

  • $255,000 invested into planning, weed removal and native plant establishment associated with three river rehabilitation projects for Bells Creek, Maroochy River and the Mary River
  • $618,000 funding towards coastal rehabilitation and dune building and revegetation activities
  • $74,000 invested into removing woody weeds in road reserves adjoining environmental reserves.

Building our knowledge

  • Koala Conservation Plan endorsed, which includes 34 actions contributing to landscape koala conservation outcomes. Actions already being implemented include the koala food tree incentive program and the koala habitat use investigation project
  • Building our knowledge of pest species through the coastal fox control project, which both monitors and removes foxes from important coastal environments
  • Federal endorsement of the Sunshine Coast Regional Flying Fox Management Plan as a conservation agreement in April 2016
  • Improved access to data associated with the pioneering flying-fox satellite tracking project through the 'Animal Tracker' App which can be downloaded from iTunes and Google Play
  • An ongoing $115,000 partnership with Healthy Waterways to understand the health of our waterways.

 Engaging and Supporting the Sunshine Coast Community

  • $550,000 awarded to 22 not-for-profit community groups (including five new groups) to strengthen partnerships to continue to advance conservation outcomes
  • 115 landholders received $330,000 of Landholder Environment Grants for natural resource management projects which contribute towards biodiversity conservation on privately owned properties
  • 68 Voluntary Conservation Agreement partners assisted to protect 1094 hectares of habitat for flora and fauna
  • Assistance to 842 registered Land for Wildlife members (249 working towards full registration) who are managing 9,610 hectares of retained habitat and restoring a further 1098 hectares.
  • $75,000 invested into the Pest Action and Engagement Program, which has assisted landholders to identify and manage pest plants through provision of weed identification products, use of council pest control equipment and opportunity to attend Pest Plant and Animal Field Days at a range of events.