State of the environment

Overview

The State of the Environment Report is an annual look into the work we have delivered to keep our environment healthy, green and actively cared for.

Read our full report.

Biodiversity

We are lucky to have a wealth of natural spaces and wildlife corridors along our waterways. We run a series of programs to educate our community on the importance of indigenous flora and fauna, and we support residents to transform their own backyards into havens for biodiversity. It is important that we manage biodiversity in our environment so that it can cope with the more extreme weather of climate change.

Case study: Working together for better outcomes

Our Bushland Management team was honoured to work with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation's natural resource management team - the Narrap Rangers - in a holistic approach to managing traditional Country land.

Together, we had a highly productive 2020 planting season. We planted over 900 indigenous grasses, herbs, shrubs and trees to enhance the beauty and enrich the biodiversity of key revegetation sites within Banyule Flats.

The Narrap Rangers also guided us through ecological spot burning and the removal of exotic trees that were inhibiting indigenous plant regeneration.

Narrap Ranger Team

Tracking our progress

We are leading our residents to get more involved in climate action.

Indicator 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020 
Friends of group volunteer hours in bushland reserves 912 1,884 1,134
Indigenous species planted in bushland reserves 10,870 15,130 22,362
Buy 1 get 1 free vouchers claimed by residents 179 243 265

Action plans

Read the Biodiversity Strategic Plan.

Stewardship

The Greenwrap newsletter is now monthly and subscriptions have increased by 35% in 2018-19. We had 100 community members join us for Change Makers, and our up-skilling workshops covered the power of social media and how to write successful grant applications. Our environment grants got a boost, and now include the Youth Climate Action Grant, Green Training Fund and Home Energy Audits.

View our environment grants

Case study: Upskilling workshops

We offered a series of upskilling community workshops – focusing on social media promotion, resilience, conservation, plant identification and grant writing – across 2019-2020. They were designed to support our environmental volunteers, build capacity around the issues they are passionate about and to reach our planet priorities.

Upskilling workshops for sustainability

Tracking our progress

We are funding our residents to take action and educating them on personal energy consumption.

Indicator 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
Grant applications 19 19 36
Greenwrap subscriptions 547 717 996

Action plans

Read our Stewardship Strategic Plan 2019-2023.

Water use and urban design

Climate change is already affecting the way water moves around Banyule, and water management is essential to offset a decrease in average annual rainfall, more intense storms and flash flooding. We now have 26 water sensitive urban design (WSUD) projects in operation, which will help us adapt to already locked in climate changes .

Case study: Re-watering Banyule Billabong

Viewbank's Banyule Billabong is an important riparian feature on the Yarra floodplain. It is home to numerous indigenous fauna and flora, and has a deep cultural connection for the Wurundjeri Woiwurrung people.

Banyule Billabong fills periodically from high flows of the Yarra River, though Melbourne's population growth has reduced how frequently it fills. This means that the billabong doesn't receive the water it requires to support surrounding vegetation.

With Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria and Wurundjeri Woiwurrung Corporation, we have been investigating the long-term water needs of Banyule Billabong to ensure the site's ecological cultural sustainability.

In 2019, we diverted water from the Yarra River to the site to mimic what should naturally occur. Constant monitoring is used to understand how the billabong adapts to new water levels and how its vegetation responds.

Banyule Billabong

Tracking our progress

Our climate actions are preserving more natural resources with the latest technology.

Indicator 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020 
Council water use 286 ML 348 ML 197 ML
Litter collection from storm water harvesting (target 50 T) 1 T 49 T  49 T

Action plans

Read our Water Plan 2019-2023.

Tree care

Our future trees must be increasingly resilient; fitting in around power lines, pavement, roads and people is a considerable challenge. The trees we are planting now will also need to tolerate the hot, dry conditions predicted for us.

Larger trees benefit our landscape, and provide immediate impact and environmental benefit to the community. With this in mind, we planted larger, mature stock in the 2018-19 planting season.

Case study: National Tree Care Team

The Tree Care team is made up of qualified and passionate arborists that maintain 65,000 street trees as well as trees in public parks and reserves. To keep trees healthy and safe, we maintain clearance power lines, roads, footpaths, signage and personal residences as well as appropriate pruning. This ensures that trees remain healthy and continue to provide a huge benefit to cleaning our air and reducing the heat island effect in our activity centres.

Studley park gum

Tracking our progress

We are nurturing and expanding our green canopy with resilient native trees.

Indicator 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
Council tree plantings in streets, parks and bushland 4922 3226 2963
Net gain of trees 2018/19 (public land) N/A 1518 1460

Action plans

Read our Urban Forest Strategic Plan.

Climate action

We investigated our emissions profile and have developed 9 priority actions - to be delivered over the next 4 years - to remain in a strong position to achieve our carbon neutrality target by 2028.

Emissions profile

Our profile includes light fleet vehicles 2%, heavy fleet vehicles 14%, natural gas 21%, fugitive emissions 3% and electricity 60%.

Our pools and recreation centres dominate our emissions in terms of electricity and gas used, with street lighting close behind. We will reduce our emissions to net zero by 2028 by upgrading our fleet with electric or other zero-emissions alternatives and sourcing 100% of our energy consumption from renewable sources.

Case study: solar roll out

Our solar roll out in 2019-20 will reduce energy consumption by over 280,000 kilowatt hours per year of electricity, avoiding 305 tonnes in greenhouse gas and saving $60,000. These savings are generated by our rooftop photovoltaic systems installed at 5 recreational and community services locations.

  • Nets Stadium had an additional 122 kilowatt solar system installed, now totalling 158 kilowatts.
  • Noah’s Ark disability service provider had a 10 kilowatt solar system installed.
  • Concord Playgroup had a 10 kilowatt solar system installed.
  • Briar Hill Preschool had a 10 kilowatt solar system installed.

Additionally, in the 2 years ending on June 2020, the 194 kilowatt WaterMarc systems saved us $50,000 in electricity costs and have generated 87,600 kilowatt hours: enough to power 19 households for a year. They reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 307 tonnes, the equivalent of removing 68 medium-sized cars off roads for a year. 

Implementing corporate emissions reduction.

Tracking our progress

We are leading by example to reduce emissions on our buildings and fleet.

Indicator 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
Council GHG emissions 15,308 Tonnes 15,616 Tonnes 14,061
Home energy audits N/A 35 30

Action plans

Read our Corporate Emissions Reduction Plan.

Sustainable travel

We built 1,433 linear metres of shared trails and paths in 2019/20. This included upgrades to Darebin Creek Trail upgrade in Bellfield and park improvement at Kalparrin Gardens in Greensborough.

We are committed to accessible, sustainable and active communities, with good access to jobs, education, shopping and community opportunities within a safe transport network.

The transport sector - excluding aviation and shipping - is the 2nd largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Walking and cycling not only supports the environment, it comes with significant physical and mental health benefits and is often the cheapest and most efficient way to travel around local areas, reducing congestion and parking demand on our roads. Our Sustainable Transport Team encourages people to embrace all of these benefits and increase their use of active transport for local journeys and recreation.

Case study: booming bicycle use

Since March 2020, communities across Melbourne have bought, borrowed and rented bicycles in unprecedented numbers, using them to exercise and enjoy physically distanced, sustainable and low-cost transport.

Bike counts across Melbourne, including within Banyule, have shown an increase in the use of shared use paths and trails. On the Darebin Creek Trail at Sparks Reserve in Ivanhoe we have seen daily cyclist volumes increase from 181 in 2019 to 327 in 2020.

In 2020, we became a project partner of Bike Spot 2020, an online engagement project that provided opportunities for our residents to share their perceptions of cycling safety at different locations. 185 locations were nominated within the municipality. Key findings showed that cyclists and drivers want dedicated space from other transport modes; traffic speed causes the most stress for cyclists and that if we want more confident riders, we need to build a connected network. This work informs our Banyule Bicycle Strategy and associated action plan as well as provide evidence for advocacy and capital works projects.

Sustainable travel

Tracking our progress

We are creating clean alternatives for residents to get around Banyule.

Indicator 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
Linear metres of shared paths/trails 575 813 1433

Action plans

Read our Integrated Travel Plan 2015-2035.

Waste

We are working towards zero waste to landfill. We are rethinking the way we consume to properly consider how products impact our environment and what happens to them at their end of life.

Case study: The Rethink Centre

The Rethink Centre’s education program encourages waste avoidance behavior and resource recovery participation in all consumers. Participation in the early learning years and the first years of primary school has notably increased. Apollo Parkways preschool children as young as 4 delighted in the waste avoidance and food waste recycling education incursion, The Litter Sisters Do Lunch, delivered by Rethink Centre performers, and all students enjoyed the Centre’s Recycle it Right Show performed by the Material Girls.

The use of the Centre by the food and beverage packaging industry continues to grow. The industry association, the Australian Institute of Packaging, used the Centre yet again to deliver design for sustainability workshops to members. Packaging manufacturer Tetra Pak Oceania sponsored a series of staff sessions to better understand the implications of packaging design on resource recovery.

Waste recovery centre usage increases.

Tracking our progress

We are making progress in reducing waste production and landfill reliance.

Indicator 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
Landfill waste per household 446 kg 423 kg 424 kg
Recyclables per household 245 kg 245 kg 245 kg
Organic waste per household 196 kg 174.7 kg 225 kg
Waste diverted from landfill 49.7% 49.7% 52.5%
Students attending the Rethink Centre 1739 2292 1892

Action plans

Read our Towards Zero Waste Management Plan.