Environmental News

Mackay recognised for sustainable initiatives

David Curtin - Tuesday, September 27, 2016

MACKAY has been awarded the Queensland Sustainable City title for 2016 by Keep Queensland Beautiful.

Vying for the prestige title, Mackay Regional Council’s submission for the Queensland Sustainable Cities awards provided great insight into environmental initiatives that are being undertaken in the region.

Mackay has been recognised for a number of key environmental projects; also taking out the Queensland Sustainable Cities awards for Resource Recovery and Waste Management, Water and Heritage and Culture.

Announcing the award winners today, Keep Queensland Beautiful, Chief Executive Officer, David Curtin said “the Mackay community should be proud of progress being made towards a more sustainable and liveable city,

“Council working in partnership with a number of organisations and community groups shows a commitment to a cleaner environment and a sustainable future,

“The high calibre of projects being undertaken across the Mackay region in line with best practice standards is commendable, not only for Council, but the whole community.”

Mayor Greg Williamson said council was honoured to receive the award on behalf of the community.

He said it was deserved recognition of the region and a range of initiatives and projects aimed at improving the liveability of Mackay.

“We all know Mackay is one of the best places to live and this award is confirmation of that.

“Council has driven a range of projects recognised by this award. The win pays tribute to the efforts of council’s directors and staff who have been behind these projects.”

The projects assessed included;

Lagoons Creek rejuvenation project, in partnership with the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Reef Catchments, Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens, the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority, Pioneer Landcare and other local sponsors; Haber Excavations, Daily Mercury, Channel 7, various local schools and conservation volunteers Australia.

The $379,000 project, co-funded by Mackay Regional Council, Reef Catchments and the Department of Transport and Main Roads, included re-establishing aquatic and terrestrial connectivity between the Pioneer River and the Lagoons Creek wetland system, leading to improved water quality, increased biodiversity and general aesthetic enhancements, turning a heavily modified and degraded stretch of Lagoons Creek into a large wetland area, with numerous rock ramp fish ways and extensive revegetation.

The implementation of a Voluntary Mechanism for Stormwater Quality Management provides an alternative best practice management approach for managing operational phase stormwater pollutants from new developments.

The mechanism provides developers with options to contribute financially to catchment based stormwater quality improvement projects, to offset part or all of their stormwater quality treatment, above and beyond the State Planning Policy requirements.

Council partnered with Reef Catchments Limited to improve the quality of the water entering the Great Barrier Reef lagoon from coastal urban development centres; the Little McCreadys creek rehabilitation project occupies approximately 4.5 hectares of council land and is a tributary of the main McCreadys Creek system.

The Little McCreadys Creek project is one of Mackay Regional Councils five priority implementation projects forming part of the voluntary mechanism for stormwater quality management, which will have many future benefits including fish passage, biodiversity, water quality, amenity, and aesthetics, cooling and reinstating natural systems.

After 10 years, Councils Materials Recovery Facility had reached the end of its working life. When the operations contract expired, Council looked at innovative ways to achieve greater efficiency in recovering all recyclable material.

Through a Design Build Operate contract with Recycling Design & Technologies, Council achieved a modern, highly efficient plant upgrade which includes an Australian-first optical sorting system, which has increased the region’s overall recycling rate by 38 percent.

In addition to the MRF upgrade, Council also introduced a glass crushing plant, which has diverted 2744 tonnes of glass product from landfill in 2015-16.

The recycled crushed glass is being used for bedding material under concrete, backfilling and subsoil drainage which is a significant cost-saving to ratepayers.

Mackay Regional Council was recognised for the Materials Recovery Facility upgrade project with the Queensland Sustainable Cities Resource Recovery and Waste Management Award.

The Sarina Water Recycling Facility is a $25 million state-of-the-art facility constructed to meet stringent conditions, given the plants proximity to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The new facility replaced an existing 40 year old sewerage treatment plant, which operated using outdated technology and had no capacity to meet future demand.

The sophisticated system has reduced effluent disposal, which aids in the protection of the Great Barrier Reef and contributes recycled water for irrigation purposes to the local golf course.

Mackay Regional Council was recognised for the Sarina Water Recycling Facility upgrade project with the Queensland Sustainable Cities Water Award.

In May 2014, Council commenced refurbishments to the former Pioneer Shire Council building and adjacent parkland, as part of the Mackay City Centre Revitalisation Project.

Works on the iconic building included both external and internal enhancements to restore its original heritage character and the beautification of the adjacent parkland to create a valuable open green space in the City centre.

Mackay Regional Council was recognised for the Pioneer Shire Council building refurbishment project with the Queensland Sustainable Cities Heritage and Culture Award.


Keep Queensland Beautiful's programs motivate people to enhance the quality of their local environment through personal initiative and community action.

The environmental outcomes of our programs include; increased environmental awareness and action, reduced litter, improved resource management and a cleaner, greener Queensland.

Outcomes for our communities include; good citizenship, pride and empowerment.

Through interaction with local governments, businesses, schools, community groups and committed individuals, Keep Queensland Beautiful encourages a statewide network of grassroots volunteers who work to deliver a cleaner, greener environment.

The Queensland Sustainable Cities awards program aims to recognise the work of community groups, business, government, schools and individuals in creating a cleaner environment for a sustainable future, for all.

The awards encourage, motivate and celebrate the local achievements of urban communities across Queensland.



Keep Queensland Beautiful, David Curtin (Chief Executive Officer): 0435 602 737

Mackay Regional Council, Cr. Greg Williamson (Mayor): 07 4961 9455