Cockburn's commitment to sustainability

Cockburn Council's strong commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to developing a well rounded sustainability program has been recognised in the 2011 National Awards for Local Government. Cockburn won the Leading Community Climate Change Action Award for its Sustainability and Climate Change Program.

Mayor Logan Howlett said the City of Cockburn made a commitment in 1996 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and has since developed a well rounded sustainability and climate change program.

"Each year, we commit more than $650,000 to invest in renewable energy systems, research, new technology, policy and community engagement," he said.

Cockburn is one of the major coastal cities in Western Australia located just 15 kilometres south of Perth CBD. Since 2001, the City has been able to abate approximately 330,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

"Innovations include installation of 340 solar photovoltaic panels over six community buildings with live energy data available online via our Cockburn Virtual Power Station," he said. "The City is also one of the first Local Governments to map local wind resources and make this data available online. The City's waste management initiatives include partnering to capture gas from landfill, a recycle shop and introduction of weekly recycling."

In just seven weeks, weekly recycling reduced green bin rubbish by 387 tonnes and increased yellow top bin recyclables by 265 tonnes.

Mayor Howlett said community engagement is also a key focus with grants supporting sustainable living choices, free advice and courses on water and energy consumption, a new website featuring a virtual tour of a sustainable home, competitions, eco-fashion workshops, displays and much more.

"Overwhelming community response indicates local commitment to sustainable living," he said. "This award demonstrates the important leadership role Local Government can play in community climate change action, and the City is pleased aspects of our programs are being adopted by other councils."

Cockburn City Council is also one of the first Local Governments to have mapped its local wind resource, and it will soon be available to residents via its online Geographical Information System. The City is working with Murdoch University's Research Institute of Renewable Energy (RISE) to model the wind resource across the City of Cockburn area.

This project will develop a series of maps that will illustrate the wind resource on a network of points across the City. The maps will be linked to the City's website and will assist residents who are considering small wind turbines for their home or business.

A small wind turbine testing facility is also currently being run at the Henderson Waster Recovery Park in Cockburn by Murdoch University's Research Institute of Renewable Energy that is testing the performance, noise and durability of wind turbines.