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Environmental programs and initiatives

What can you do to help?

Climate Change affects us all, particularly the changes associated with increases in the frequency or intensity of heat events, fire weather and drought. We will all need to plan for and adapt to some level of climate change.

Observations and climate modelling by CSIRO paint a consistent picture of ongoing, long-term climate change interacting with underlying natural variability. Local information about climate change in NSW is available at Adapt NSW.

Council recognises the need to take urgent action to reduce emissions as a priority, and also to adapt our actions and operations to reduce the impact on our environment and build the resilience of staff and the community now and into the future.

We have endorsed the Canterbury-Bankstown Connective City 2036 which sets a target of reaching zero carbon emissions by 2050. We have also endorsed the Resilient Sydney Strategy and are working with Councils across Sydney to encourage our communities to adapt and thrive in a changing climate. 

Council commissioned the Urban Heat Report providing an evidence base for urban heat in the LGA and provide suggested actions to mitigate the impacts of the Urban Heat island effect.

Delivering services and support for our community requires a large amount of energy. Everything from garbage collection to keeping swimming pools operating, from air conditioned community facilities and libraries to keeping the streets lit at night, uses fossil fuels which generate emissions. Here are some of the actions we are undertaking NOW:

Council is reducing emissions

Solar Energy
Currently 20% of electricity comes from the NSW Moree Solar Farm.

We have also installed over 450 kW of solar on 20 Council and community facilities - enough to power 122 Bankstown homes or provide 3.6% of Councils total electricity use including Street Lights.

Electric Vehicles 
In 2019 Council started introducing Electric Vehicles (EVs) into the operational fleet replacing petrol vehicles, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving money on fuel and maintenance.

All electricity used to charge the EV's will be renewable or offset so the cars will be effectively carbon neutral. As of January 2020 we have 13 Electric Vehicles and we are planning to double this number in the next 12 months as vehicles are due for replacement. We have also placed our first Community EV Chargers at Campsie.

LED Street Lighting
Council is working with Ausgrid to replace close to 5,000 energy intensive street lights over the next 2 years with new LED lights. This represents a significant investment for Council, however the dual benefits of substantially reduced greenhouse emissions and cost savings on electricity over the lifetime of the lights, is a win-win for council and the community.

Council is adapting

Increasing Urban Tree Canopy 
The effect of increasing urbanisation and global climate change are closely linked with the urban heat island effect. When compared to unvegetated public areas, a well-managed, lush tree canopy can reduce land surface temperatures by up to 15 degrees on a 35-degree day.

We actively encourage the community to green their properties by planting trees and shrubs. Each year council provides over 10,000 native plants free to schools and community members. We also support National tree day in June each year, coordinating community planting of over 1,000 native plants in local bushland and parks.

With an average tree cover of only about 15% we know there is a lot of room for more trees. In 2020 we will commence development and delivery of an Urban Tree Strategy to ensure more trees growing across the city, making it a cooler place for everyone.

Dealing with Poor Air Quality / Smoke from bushfires
Council has recently prepared an "Adverse Weather Management" direction to guide how we will operate and maintain services during periods of adverse weather. This can include times of extreme air quality, heat, smoke, flood, and electrical storm conditions.

To date excessive smoke from the bushfires has triggered the closure of all Aquatic and Leisure Centres and Sefton Golf Course on just a few days when staff considered it unsafe to continue outdoor activities for themselves, as well as, community members.

Additionally we have included air quality as an identified potential risk for all of our outdoor events. Our Event Team stay informed and updated on current and forecast air quality warnings, to ensure we can make appropriate and timely decisions to cancel or postpone events when needed.

Social Media 
Council regularly uses Social Media Posts to Facebook to advise community of many issues related to extreme weather events. You can friend Council on

Some examples are:

  • When facilities such as pools and golf courses are closed because of poor air quality from smoke.
  • Advice when smoke and bushfire haze has reduced air quality - avoid outdoor activity, follow disease management plan.
  • Advice on high temperature days - Stay hydrated, be sun smart, look after each other and take care of pets with shade and fresh water.
  • Advice of cancellation or postponement of Council events such as outdoor films.
  • Extreme weather events and heat stress on native animals such as flying foxes - what you can do (e.g. leave out fresh clean water and contact WIRES).
  • Extreme weather - keeping your pets safe during thunderstorms
  • Cancelling the Australia Day Fireworks and redirecting funds to the Australian Red Cross

What can you do?

Look after yourself during hot weather and heatwaves
Heatwaves and hot weather have killed more people in Australia than any other natural disaster. Here's how you can beat the heat and keep cool this summer:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Stay cool
  • Get connected
  • Get organised
  • Get help if you need it.

More detailed information is available from the Australian Red Cross.

Look after your pets in a heat wave

  • Ensure your pets have plenty of water and shade for the day
  • If dogs or cats appear heat stressed, panting or restless, bath in cool water
  • Call your vet if you are concerned about a pet

Get prepared for emergencies
We are encouraging our residents to download the Red Cross Get Prepared App and prepare an emergency plan. This will help build the capacity of our community to understand and manage risks associated with climate related emergencies such as storms and heatwaves while also developing strong, cohesive neighbourhoods and districts.

Get Prepared helps you connect with your key support people, accomplish simple tasks to make you and your loved ones safer, and protect the things that matter most to you.

Get Smart about your energy use 
Canterbury-Bankstown is part of the Our Energy Future program which helps residents reduce their energy bills, improve comfort levels and reduce their environmental footprint.

Our Energy Future is delivered by the Australian Energy Foundation and can provide up-to-date and impartial energy efficiency and renewable energy advice. Click here to receive a more information or free quotation for your home: 

Plant trees 
Trees are the most effective way to reduce the effects of heat at ground level. Council supports our residents to get involved in planting trees through native plants giveaways and the opportunity to participate in national tree day.

Solar My School
'Solar my School' is a Council-run initiative helping schools reduce energy bills, educate students and shrink their carbon footprint with solar power.

We provide free independent support and guidance to primary and secondary schools looking to power their buildings with cheap green energy. Help is provided every step of the way from start to finish, to make installing solar in your school as simple as possible.

Visit the Solar My School website for more information and to register your school as a participant in this exciting initiative.

Join a local community environment group 
Canterbury-Bankstown's natural environment is rich, diverse and unique, providing a valuable resource for local residents and visitors alike. Our natural environment is important for stabilising soil, improving water quality and providing valuable habitats for our native wildlife. In addition, natural areas are also important for their beauty, and the educational and recreational opportunities they provide.

Bushcare is a local volunteer program that encourages residents to get involved and get connected. It's a great way to meet other residents while doing something worthwhile for the environment.

More information is available on our Bushcare program page.

The Mudcrabs are a local community group which cares for the Cooks River and its foreshore environment by regularly collecting rubbish and restoring the bush along the Cooks River. 

More information here:

Offset your household emissions
While it is not always possible to completely remove your emissions, purchasing offsets is one way to balance out the effect you have on the environment. Offsets calculate the reduction in greenhouse gases that would be achieved by planting a certain amount of trees and balances that against your emissions profile. A single person can offset their annual emissions for as little as $117!

Fly less and use public transport more
For most of us the activity which contributes the most carbon emissions is flying. If you can reduce the amount of times you fly in one year your total emissions would drop considerably!

One overseas long-haul trip can more than double your total annual emissions. When you have to fly, don't forget to select to offset your emissions, you'll be surprised how little it adds to your ticket price. 

Choosing public transport, walking, cycling or carpooling is also a powerful way to reduce the emissions associated with driving.

Buy local, low carbon products with recyclable packaging
When you buy an item that has travelled across the world, there are a lot of transport emissions which are emitted to get that product to you. By choosing an equivalent local product you significantly reduce transport emissions and support local businesses!

Eat Less Meat
The agriculture industry accounts for 15% of Australia's total emissions and the large majority of this is methane released by cows and sheep. By reducing the amount of meat you consume the numbers of livestock that are in Australia releasing emissions will reduce.

Environmental improvement projects

The raingarden along George Street at Graf Park, Yagoona ​helps to reduce the impact of human activities on the environment by removing harmful pollutants from stormwater runoff before it flows down the drain.

It may look like a regular garden bed, but under the surface a specialised sandy soil layer slows down the flow of water to filter and trap pollutants, while native plants absorb excess nutrients for growth. The raingarden will treat runoff from approximately 1.3 hectares of residential area upstream (including a portion of the Hume Highway), preventing pollutants reaching the Cooks River.

The raingarden was constructed with funding from the Australian Government through the Sydney Metropolitan CMA’s Botany Bay Water Quality Improvement Program, funding from the NSW Government's Urban Sustainability Program through OurRiver (the Cooks River Sustainability Initiatives) and funding from your Stormwater Levy.

Lake Gillawarna was previously suffering with typical symptoms of an urban catchment including; decreased water quality, excessive weed and algal growth, loss of native fauna habitat, increased levels of sediment, increased banks erosion as well as the presence of pest species such as carp that predate on native fauna and destabilise the banks.

The project has delivered:

  • 13,000 native plants;​
  • 1,500 square metres of garden beds with sandstone mulch;
  • 2,000 square metres  of aquatic wetland area;
  • 70 metres of formal lake edging;
  • 630 metres of informal lake edge treatment; and
  • The removal of large and annual weeds from around the lake and the island.

These changes will allow for the water quality of the pond to increase by reducing the sediment levels, improving circulation reducing the impacts of excessive nutrients as well as improving the dissolved oxygen levels by circulating water over shallow wetland areas.


For more information, contact Council's Environmental Projects officer on 9707 9425.​

Council is working to minimise our energy consumption by making LED light replacements where possible, in our carparks and buildings. LED lights use significantly less light than regular globes producing a better quality light.
The LED lights in our carparks have daylight and movement sensors. These enable the lights to turn on and off depending on the brightness outside and any movements in the carpark. This has the added bonus on improving safety and security in the carparks as they alert drivers to any movements near their vehicle. They also offer a better quality of light

For more information about energy efficient lighting including training opportunities for your business, see the NSW Government's Energy Efficient Lightin​g Technology​ webpage.  ​

Council has undertaken an extensive restoration project to improve the natural condition in the urban creek at Prairie Vale Reserve. The project involved removing weeds and stabilising the banks with sandstone and locally native plants. Before the project began the creek was in a very poor condition, with excess weed growth​, degraded water quality and poor in-stream habitat for native wildlife.

Now that the restoration works have been completed birds and lizards are likely to return to the area as the plants begin to grow. The plants and grasses have been carefully chosen to replicate the variety of native plants that were originally in the area and will be used by small native wildlife for food and shelter.

A new pedestrian path and foot bridge were also installed to help open up the park and give better access for the community, while maintaining a safer environment. Large trees were retained to provide shade and to create a better visitor experience.

This project was funded from your Stormwater Levy to improve the park and help restore the creek.​

The Saltmarsh bushcare working bees have been removing weeds in the saltmarsh at Gough Whitlam Park since 2011. There have been quarterly monitoring sessions to document the changes to the saltmarsh in this time. These changes include weed abundance, saltmarsh plant distribution, and biodiversity indicators such as crabs.

The Saltmarsh monitoring bees use quadrants across a transect from the outer (landward) to the inner (river side) saltmarsh. This transect tracks changes in vegetation with the ground level. A major factor in vegetation spread is the level of tidal innudation with each high and king tide.

Sampling quadrant

The principal saltmarsh plants are Sarcarcornia quinqueflora, Suaeda australis, and Triglochin striatum. A recent arrival since working at the site is the native Creeping Brookweed (Samolus repens). We are also seeing the spread of Sarcarcornia toward the outer saltmash due to bushcare efforts. This indicates fantastic progress.

In general, the outer saltmarsh is more weedy. The weeds are mostly common couch, and occasionally flea bane, dock. The most serious weed is Juncus acutus. The monthly volunteer bushcare working bees have been vigilant in preventing it establishing.

The Gough Whitlam Saltmarsh on the Cooks River

Methodology: What do we do, and how?

  1. A series of 1 m2 quadrats are used along established points in the saltmarsh.
  2. These quadrats are sampled at approximately 3 monthly intervals. All the plant species present in each quadrat are recorded and the percentage of the quadrat covered by each species noted.
  3. Only the major species are plotted:
    (a) Streaked arrow grass (Troglochin striata)
    (b) Austral seablite (Suaeda australis)
    (c) Samphire, beaded glasswort (Sarcocornia quinqueflora)
    (d) Marine couch grass (Sporobolus virginicus)
    (e) Common couch grass (weed) (Cynodon dactylon)
    (f) Sea rush (Juncus kraussii)

Other points of interest such as the presence of crab holes are also noted. The data from 2012-13 and 2013-14 is available here, with a map sourced from google maps. This graphical data was compiled by Russell Cail.

Saltmarsh monitoring graph 2012-13

The inner (quadrant 1) and the outer quadrants ( 7 and 8 ) remained consistent across the yearly sampling period, however  changes to species occurrence can be seen in quadrant 2, 3 and 4. These quadrants represent a change to species distribution over a relatively small area of the saltmarsh, including Suaeda, marine couch and exotic couch.

Saltmarsh monitoring graph 2013-14

In this sampling period 2013-14, an increase in Sarcorcornia in quadrants 2 and 4 is seen. Changes in the occurrence of Triglochin is also noted in quadrant 5. A seasonal increase of Suaeda and marine couch is also evident in quadrant 10.

Saltmarsh monitoring graph 2014-15

In the sampling period 2014-15, continued increases of Sarcorcornia , Suaeda and marine couch are evident.

For more information, or If you would like to be involved in monitoring, please contact the Biodiversity Projects Officer on 97899750.

The Crest Sustainable Stormwater Management Project aims to reduce our reliance on mains water and increase the quality of our environment. The project relies on rainwater collected from the velodrome roof and stormwater from a small urban area, to water the surrounding playing fields of The Crest Complex. It ​will save 20 million litres of drinking water each year and ensure that playing fields can be watered even in tough drought conditions.

The project will:

  • Supply more than 80 per cent of irrigation demands by increasing the capacity of the existing pond;
  • Improve stormwater quality in the Prospect Creek catchment by creating a bio retention system (raingarden) that will capture and remove pollutants from the water;
  • Improve aesthetics and increase biodiversity in the area through landscaping, removing weeds and enhancing native vegetation which will encourage native animals;
  • Help mitigate floods downstream by capturing and storing stormwater during large rain events for later release;
  • Treat all water used for irrigating playing fields in accordance with guidelines for water recycling; and
  • Reduce its construction ecological footprint by using as many eco-friendly products as possible.