Beechworth Tidy Towns finalist going to National Awards

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Thursday 5 February 2015



What:                          Keep Australia Beautiful, Australian Tidy Towns Awards 2015
When:                        Friday 27 February 2015
Media call time:     6.30pm – 10.30pm. Overall announcement at 9.55pm.
Location:                   Sheffield Public School Hall, Sheffield, Tasmania

The community of Beechworth has proven it’s the Victorian Tidy Towns Winner and now its environmental efforts have put them in the running for this year’s Keep Australia Beautiful, Australian Tidy Towns awards.

Representatives from the Beechworth Tidy Towns Committee and Indigo Shire Council will be jet setting to Sheffield in Tasmania on 26 and 27 February in the hope to win the iconic National title.

Sheffield are hosting the National awards this year, as they currently hold the Australian Tidy Town title.

Sponsored by the Australian Packaging Covenant and the Department for the Environment, the Australian Tidy Towns Program recognise the hard work undertaken by individuals and groups in rural communities and share these best practices and  ideas to continue to improve our important rural towns.

The national judge Jill Grant visited Beechworth in November 2014 as part of her judging tour, to compare it against six other finalists across the country.

Ms Grant said, “the integration of sustainability related programs across all aspects of community life is very impressive.  The dedication and commitment of the volunteers and the high levels of collaboration between various groups mean that a great deal has been and continues to be achieved in environmental and social terms.  The high value placed on preserving cultural heritage and educating and encouraging the next generation of community leaders suggest that Beechworth has a strong and sustainable future.”

At the judging stage, Beechworth was marked against the following criteria:

  • Community Action & Partnerships
  • ‘Dame Phyllis Frost’ Litter Prevention
  • Resource Recovery & Waste Management
  • Environmental Protection & Innovation
  • Water Conservation
  • Energy Innovation
  • Heritage & Culture
  • Young Legends

CEO of Keep Australia Beautiful National, Peter McLean said “each finalist has demonstrated significant outcomes in a range of sustainability projects and activities and the National program allows each of them to learn even more from leading projects in other States.”

Beechworth, population of 2,645, and located in the north-east of Victoria 286km from Melbourne, showcased the following:

  • Patch to Patch Pedal: This involved a bike trail linking nine of Beechworth’s best backyard fruit and vegetable gardens. It was designed, promoted and run by Beechworth Urban Landcare and Sustainability Group to inspire more people to grow their own food.
  • The Beechworth community and Beechworth Neighbourhood Centre established a community garden, kitchen and pizza oven.
  • Healthy Woodlands, Happy Barking Owls: The Indigo Shire’s Environment Advisory Committee, local Landcare groups, Trust for Nature and Community members have been raising awareness of the importance of Indigo’s woodland habitat for the survival of endangered species, such as barking owls, squirrel gliders and phascogales.
  • The Beechworth Treescape Group: a community-based volunteer group which commenced work to ensure preservation of the botanical history of the iconic May Day Hills site in Beechworth, after it changed hands from public to private ownership.
  • More than 850 seedlings of 26 species were planted as part of a project in July 2013 to regenerate Lake Sambell’s beautiful Emma George Garden, which had been destroyed by nine years of drought.
  • The Restoration of Christ Church Beechworth.
  • Beechworth community and Indigo Shire has put in place a program of litter education and prevention, as well as litter control strategies.
  • Narelle Haw, a Building Biologist, trained in identifying how a home affects our health, donates her time to educate people about creating sustainable buildings that support the health and wellbeing of those who live in them.
  • Quercus Community Book Shop: a social enterprise established by the Beechworth Neighbourhood Centre where all books are donated by the community.
  • At the Beechworth Correctional Centre, prisoners are leading the way designing and producing wooden products from pallets and timber off-cuts that would otherwise end up in landfill.
  • Council to upgrade existing Council managed 80WMV street lighting stock to LED (18W) lighting technology. This project will deliver considerable saving through improved electrical efficiency (>70%) and significantly reduced maintenance costs.

Nationally, the Tidy Towns program received 347 applicants, with 1335 category submissions across councils, shires, community groups, schools and individuals. The National Tidy Towns Awards have been running since 1991.

State and territory finalists include:

Westbury – Tasmania
Beechworth – Victoria
Titjikala – Northern Territory
Cooktown – Queensland
Meningie – South Australia
Gloucester – New South Wales
Toodyay – Western Australia



Judge Contact: Jill Grant 0411 652 895

Beechworth Contact: Iris Mannik, Beechworth Tidy Towns Committee 0448 557 208

National Media Comment:       Peter McLean, National Executive Officer, Keep Australia Beautiful  Mob: 0416 227 158

National Media Contact: Alice Morgan, Communications Officer, Keep Australia Beautiful  Tel: 02 8626 9396 

About the Australian Sustainable Communities Awards

Keep Australia Beautiful seeks to lead, challenge and inspire all Australians to strive for a sustainable and litter free environment.  It does this through research, communications programs and awards programs.

Its national awards are known as the Australian Sustainable Communities Awards which consist of the Tidy Towns, Sustainable Cities, and Clean Beaches Awards.  Each awards program commences with state and territory awards and culminates in a national Grand Final event.

About the Australian Tidy Towns Awards

These awards encourage, motivate and celebrate the achievements of rural and regional communities across Australia. Each year state and territory winners are announced between August and November. They then receive a visit from the Australian Tidy Towns Judge and the Australian Tidy Towns Awards are presented in February.

About Keep Australia Beautiful

Keep Australia Beautiful is the national peak body on litter prevention. With more than four decades of experience in engaging Australians to care for their local environments, (not to be confused with Clean Up Australia Day) KAB Programs include Sustainable Cities, Tidy Towns, Clean Beaches, National Litter Index, Eco-Schools, Adopt a Patch, and Keep Australia Beautiful Week in August.

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.

About Jill Grant

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