ACT Sustainable Cities Awards NOW OPEN

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Wednesday 9 April 2014
Media Contact Alice Morgan
Phone 02 8626 9396 

It’s early in the morning in January 2006: the Crimson Rosellas that have chicks in nesting boxes in Bill and Jenny’s backyard are being attacked by a couple of Indian Mynas. These introduced pests want to take over the nesting box for themselves. Unfortunately they are generally successful in doing this for tree hollows and nesting sites across the suburbs and urban nature reserves all down the east coast of Australia. But not this time: the campaign to eradicate the threat posed by Indian Mynas on our native wildlife has begun.

The raucous call of the myna had become all too familiar in Canberra, as it still is in many parts of Australia. Indian Myna’s are exotic invaders and a serious threat to our native birds and animals: they are one of the most invasive animal species in the world. This is why, since 2006, Bill Handke has made it his mission to combat them with a community trapping program.

These pest birds have the right characteristics for a community-action program: they are conspicuous, hang around in flocks in urban areas, are well-known and generally loathed by people because of their raucous calls, their strutting manner and their aggression to native birds and other wildlife.

“The community, through the Canberra Indian Myna Action Group, has been the key to reducing myna numbers in the Canberra region with a wide-scale community-trapping program”, Bill says.

Before Bill started the Canberra Indian Myna Action Group Inc (CIMAG) in 2006, mynas were the 3rd most common bird in Canberra, where the birds were having catastrophic impacts upon the local fauna. Over the 8 years of the community-action trapping and education program, CIMAG members have reduced mynas to the 20th most common bird around Canberra. Small birds are back in people’s gardens, rosellas are back nesting in tree hollows and in garden nest-boxes, and there is peace from their raucous calls.

CIMAG’s innovation extends to its collaborative arrangement with the ACT Government in having the inmates of the Alexander Maconochie Centre – the local gaol – make traps for the group; its collaborative arrangement with the RSPCA to help dispose of trapped birds; and its collaborative arrangement with the Australian National University Fenner School of Environmental Studies in undertaking the fieldwork surveys and support for PhD candidates doing research on mynas.

The CIMAG won the Keep Australia Beautiful’s ACT Sustainable Cities Awards in 2013; and they went on to win the Environmental Innovation and Protection award at the National Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Cities Awards that same year.

2014 marks the 10th year anniversary of the ACT Sustainable Cities awards – which is all about recognising the efforts made by residents, community based organisations, businesses and local government agencies in achieving sustainability in the Australian Capital.

This year, submissions opened on Monday 17 March. Entries can be made online by Friday 9 May 2014 at:

The Keep Australia Beautiful ACT Sustainable Cities Awards are an initiative of Keep Australia Beautiful National, sponsored by the Do The Right Thing program of the Australian Food and Grocery Council’s Packaging Stewardship Forum.



The Categories

  • Community Action, Partnerships and Culture
  • Resource Recovery and Litter Prevention
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Environmental Advocacy and Innovation
  • Water Conservation
  • Sustainable Buildings (Residential)
  • Sustainable Buildings (Commercial)
  • Young Legends
  • Wildcard

About Keep Australia Beautiful

Keep Australia Beautiful is the national peak body on litter prevention. With over four decades of experience in engaging Australians to care for their local environments, (not to be confused with the organisation Clean Up Australia Day) KAB Programs include Sustainable Cities, Tidy Towns, Clean Beaches, National Litter Index, The LITTLE Committee, Australia’s Litter Action Plan, Eco-Schools and Keep Australia Beautiful Week.

The KAB National website is where all information on the organisation can be accessed including the National Litter Index which is Australia’s only independent nation-wide litter research.

The ACT Sustainable Cities Awards are sponsored by:

The Packaging Stewardship Forum of the Australian Food and Grocery Council, works with partners across the nation to deliver industry recycling, litter reduction and education programs on behalf of its members, Australia’s major beverage companies and their packaging suppliers. The Forum’s highly successful Do the Right Thing anti-litter campaign is recognised by more than 80% of people.

Category sponsor Environment & Sustainable Development Department of the ACT. The ACT Government has established the Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate to consolidate and build on its capacity to respond to climate change. The Australian Capital Territory is Australia’s Bush Capital and its natural environment is rich in content, from the landscape to the native vegetation and animals.

Event sponsor ANUgreen is the Australian National University’s award-winning environmental management program, managed by the ANU Facilities and Services Division. Established in 1999 under the ANU environment policy, ANUgreen is responsible for implementing the University’s Environmental Management Plan by working directly with the University community, educating and empowering staff and students to playing an active role in reducing the collective environmental impact.

Patron of the ACT Sustainable Cities Awards Katy Gallagher MLA

“It gives me great pleasure to once again accept the role of patron of the Keep Australia Beautiful ACT Sustainable Cities Awards. Now in its 10th year, the awards provide an excellent opportunity for the efforts of our local community groups, businesses, industry and government to be recognised in their work towards achieving a sustainable future for Canberra.”

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