Although exciting sustainability initiatives can sometimes seem out of reach for rural and regional councils, a renowned thought-leader says this is far from the whole story.
Speaking in a panel session at IPWEA’s Sustainability in Public Works Conference that was held in Sydney earlier this week, Professor Stuart White, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS, recognised that constrained resources were a reality for many smaller local government areas.
However, he said they also have a few advantages over metropolitan areas.
“Regional councils have a large range of opportunities, some that aren’t even available to metropolitan councils,” White told intouch.
“Firstly, they often have more space if they’re in rural areas, which means they can do more exciting things with organics.
“Often they control the water and sewage undertakings, so they can use that to have integrated water systems and integrate that with waste and other systems.
“And, often they have quite good solar radiation and space, so they have the opportunity for a lot of applications photovoltaics that often metropolitan councils don’t have.”
White, who has worked closely with regional councils on sustainability initiatives, says they also have the advantage of greater agility than their larger counterparts.
“My experience is that regional and rural councils have the ability to act quickly, they also have the ability to engage their communities in a much easier way, and communities are often very supportive of sustainability measures and helping their councils to achieve those goals," he says. The IPWEA Sustainability in Public Works Conference was held May 14-15 in Sydney.