Tick of approval for environmental levy

Commencing in 2005, Ku-rin-gai Council’s environmental levy has not only benefitted the region’s natural environment but has 80 percent of the community in favour of it continuing into the future.

Recently, an independent review found that the ‘green’ levy was a cost-effective way of improving and protecting Ku-ring-gai’s precious natural environment.

Mayor Jennifer Anderson said that the review had “… concluded that the levy, which has been extended for a further eight years to 2019, has successfully met stakeholders’ needs as well as Council’s environmental, social and strategic priorities.”

Since the levy was imposed on Ku-ring-gai residents an impressive 80,000 native plants have been planted, 131 small grants awarded, 486,000 sq/m of bushland regenerated and 4.6km of walking tracks constructed, and this is just a portion of what the funds raised by the levy have achieved.

Councillor Anderson described some of the additional benefits of the levy: “It has been particularly successful in attracting external grants for environmental projects. In its first seven years, the levy generated $12.4 million and attracted an additional $6.2 million in federal and state government grants.

“Some of the major environmental benefits have been a reduction in urban impacts on riparian zones, a drop in potable water use, healthier creeks and streams, regenerated bushland and reduced waste dumping.

“Many local community organisations have also benefited from the levy’s small grants scheme, which provides grants up to $5,000 for activities such as street tree planting, wildlife protection and projects to cut water and power use,” said Cr Anderson.

Through the formation of a committee, consisting of 20 community members and chaired by elected council members, Ku-ring-gai residents are included in the planning, implementation and review of the ‘green’ levy program, ensuring procedures for the allocation of funds are accountable and transparent.