By: Frederick Marchant, Regional Sustainability Coordinator
The FNQROC Regional Sustainability Group held its final meeting for the year via teleconference (very sustainable indeed!) in November 2012.
We all get to hear about the big projects when it comes to sustainability, but it was great to hear during our last meeting from individual Council representatives reporting on various in-house programs being run to create more sustainable workplaces. We heard about smart programs to monitor and reduce printer use, improved recycling of office waste at each desk, and other ventures. Even Council meetings have joined the effort and its now commonplace to see electronic tablets and laptops replacing the usual overburden of printed meeting papers. Every little bit helps and the overall results are showing significant improvements in workplace sustainability.
The group discussed opportunities and barriers facing our region in being able to submit applications for streetlight replacement projects, following the recent launch of the Australian Government's Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) Funding (Round 2).
During the last CEEP round, projects which replace existing streetlights with more energy efficient units were successful in many parts of Australia, and no doubt we will see similar projects being put forward in this new round. However, Councils in our region are not be able to readily submit major streetlight replacement projects due to current legislation governing electricity supply. The vast majority of streetlights in our region are owned and maintained by Ergon Energy. Changes are required to Federal legislation to allow the power supply company to enter into arrangements to replace current units which still have a residual working life. The good news is that sorting out these issues is being progressed at both State and Federal levels and hopefully will be resolved soon. Meanwhile, Councils which own and operate street and amenity lighting, such as sport and recreation facilities, will have an opportunity to submit a CEEP application for light upgrades.