The winner of the iconic Keep Australia Beautiful NSW 2018 Sustainable Communities – Tidy Towns Awards was announced on Saturday 10 November during a dinner in Orange, NSW.
The 2018 Tidy Town Award was presented to Cessnock, qualifying the town to represent NSW in the Keep Australia Beautiful National Tidy Towns Awards.
As part of their win, Cessnock also picked up the Heritage and Culture Award, won by Cessnock Regional Art Gallery; the Habitat and Wildlife Conservation Award received for the Cessnock Biodiversity Communications Engagement Strategy; the Sustainable Projects Award received for the Revolving Energy Fund Energy Efficiency Projects; and the Waste Less, Recycle More – Waste Minimisation Award, won by Cessnock Waste Management Centre and Transfer Station.
The Awards dinner, hosted by Keep Australia Beautiful NSW (KABNSW) and the 2017 winner, Orange City Council was held at Coral Sea Auditorium, Orange Ex-Services Club following a program of category award announcements, case studies of inspiring sustainable projects from Tidy Towns entrants, and a number of local tours.
The Tidy Towns program recognises and rewards the accomplishments of regional councils and their communities, many of whom are volunteers actively working towards making their regional communities a prime model for sustainable practices.
Val Southam, CEO of KABNSW explained that this program started in 1981, when it was more about beautification. Over the years, the categories increased to cover all areas of sustainability, hence the expanded name, Tidy Towns – Sustainable Cities.
Ms Southam added that the awards are supported annually by the NSW EPA and the Return and Earn Container Recycling Scheme. This year, they were also supported by Newcrest Mining and a local waste company in Orange, JR Richards.
“The program Tidy Towns – Sustainable Cities is about more than just receiving or giving accolades. It is a great opportunity for towns to showcase their achievements, share with other communities and learn from others,” said Ms Southam.
“These tireless community efforts are inspiring and a great example of community spirit in the bush.
“This year we had a record number of entries of very high quality and we always look forward to seeing how communities deal with their local environmental challenges.
“It has been a difficult job for the judges, and all the finalists are to be commended for their efforts. However, there can only be one Tidy Towns Overall State Winner,” said Ms Southam.
Doug MacDonald, the KABNSW Tidy Towns on ground assessor said that the winner of the Overall Award has demonstrated all the key principles of the Awards program across the width and breadth of the community.
“Cessnock has engaged with the community at so many levels to make their region more liveable, attractive and sustainable.”