Cooktown 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 Cooktown has proven it’s the Queensland 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 Cook Shire Council, and Cooktown State School 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 Cooktown in December 2014 as part of her judging tour, to compare it against six other finalists across the country.

Ms Grant said “the diverse landscapes of the Cape region and the challenging climate are dealt with very efficiently and with a strong vision by the Cook Shire Council, supported by a strong array of community groups. This has led to innovative waste management, water conservation, energy innovation and the preservation of significant buildings.”

At the judging stage, Cooktown 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.”

Cooktown, population of 2,339, the meeting place of the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics and the Outback in Far North Queensland, showcased the following:

  • Over 70 not for profit association and sporting clubs, each with a volunteer committee.
  • Council initiated surveillance camera usage in illegal dumping hotspots to prevent the wrongdoing.
  • Due to small population and large distance, 80% of the Shire is receiving kerbside waste collection – with 50% opting to downgrade to smaller eco-bins.
  • Council has initiated annual waste oil and lead acid battery collection in remote areas of the Shire.
  • Recycled water collection tanks were erected which diverts some of the treated water from the river into the tanks. Then using underground pipe system water it is pumped into Lions and Endeavour parks. All the irrigation takes place at night to reduce the evaporation.
  • Cook Shire Solar Project of up to $70m is an Australian first with large scale battery storage on site.
  • South Cape York Catchments (SCYC), a community based Natural Resource Management organisation, have undertaken Aquatic weed control; Cultural heritage protection; Revegetation of riparian areas; Feral pig exclusion fencing from high value wetlands; Water quality monitoring; and Threatened species surveys.

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

Cooktown Contact:  Kristina Davidson, Waste Management Coordinator 07 4069 5444

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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