Sustainable Cities Awards 2020 Winners

Sustainable City of the Year 2020


Although the City of Monash was created as recently as December 1994, the area’s history of settlement stretches back many years.

The original inhabitants of the area were the Bunurong tribe, which were one of four tribes that made up the Kulin nation that lived in what was to become Melbourne and surrounding areas. Tales were told at around the time of the Gold Rush of the Bunurong holding corroborees at the junction of Ferntree Gully Road and Dandenong Roads.

Today, the City of Monash is located 20km south-east of Melbourne’s CBD and is home to world-renowned education, health and research institutions including Monash University, CSIRO and Monash Children’s Hospital.

Monash is home to more than 200,000 people – almost half born overseas.

This year, Monash led the way in community and Council based projects that exemplified commitment to the environment, social well-being, sustainability and waste management practices.


Community Awards Winner

Transforming surplus food into nutritious meals

FareShare’s origins date back to 2000 when, appalled by the amount of food going to waste while people were going hungry, a pastry chef began using surplus food to cook 300 pies a week to give out free to people sleeping rough.

Since then, FareShare has grown into a major player in food rescue specialising in adding value to rescued food by cooking it into nutritious meals.

Last year, FareShare rescued more than one million kilos of food that may otherwise have gone to waste in Melbourne and cooked 1.38 million meals.

Education Awards Winner

Athol Road Primary School
Environmental Education

The environmental education specialist program started in 2012 after school leadership recognised the importance of educating students about environment and sustainability, which would in turn help to improve sustainable actions within the school.

Challenges have been faced with each new project implemented into the program from establishing and operating urban farms, wetlands, indigenous forests, desert gardens a d more recently with the nature playground and soon to be operational school farm.

The overall outcome has demonstrated tremendous positive experiential learning for all students from foundation to year 6 where all students are exposed to a range of experiences from animal encounters to learning horticultural skills in the urban farm.

Environment Awards Winner

Southbank Sustainability Group
Bringing positive, lasting change to our city’s environmental footprint

What started as a few isolated Southbankers with an environmental conscience and limited ways to express it, turned into a purposeful community of neighbours springing into action, improving Melbourne’s environmental footprint and Southbank’s liveability.

Through green space activation and engaging, fun educational activities, the group delivered 94 garden beds, 500+ plants, 20 educational workshops, created 468 participants who declared long-term behavioural change, locally produced 120kg of food, diverted 26.64kg food-related greenhouse gas emissions and composted 100kg of waste composted.

Hobsons Bay Wetlands Centre
Connecting people to nature

Bayside Earth Sciences Society Inc
What can 6 million years teach us? World-famous fossil beds of Beaumaris Bay!

Litter Awards Winner

Marine Mammal Foundation
Marine Litter Project

Victoria’s marine environments are home to a diverse number of iconic and beloved marine mammals, including humpback whales, orcas, seals, and the newly discovered Burrunan dolphin.

Despite this, our oceans face a number of severe threats and dangers. Litter and waste are identified issues harming oceans all over the world, and while community awareness is increasing, the threat remains.

MMF believes education is key to making a positive difference in the conservation and stewardship of marine environments. MMF’s community engagement program, Marine Litter Project, will be delivered to community groups across Victoria.

Yarra Riverkeeper Association
Polystyrene Pollution in the Yarra River

Social Well-Being Awards Winner

Delivering Dignity with Gifts & Services

impact is a volunteer charity committed to making a difference to Victorian women and children fleeing extreme violence at home.

While impact is a charity, they do not give charity: they give dignity through gifts and services and give gifts and services with dignity.

impact’s reach has extended to include regional centres with 2000 Bags of Love being packed twice yearly in partnership with Victoria Police, Glen Eira College and ACU-Ballarat.

In recent years, impact’s services have expanded to include free occasional care at Moorabbin Court and impactful, free wellness classes for women in a safe environment with a social worker and female police officer participating with them.

Anne-Maree Polimeni
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Rev. K. Bruce Corben
Grace Heart Community Church & Grace Heart Helping Hand Fund

Specialist Hoops
No One Gets Left Behind

Waste Awards Winner

Moon Rabbit
Together We Can Eliminate Single-Use

Moon Rabbit café is an environmentally innovative social-enterprise café from Bridge Darebin in Preston.

Since opening two years ago, the café prevented more than 30,000 disposable cups going to landfill by exclusively offering mugs and repurposed jars for take-away.

They have also provided hospitality training to 40 youth with additional needs through the ‘Tiered Training & Transition’ program.

The local community is integral to the takeaway system being maintained, providing a constant flow of donations of mugs and jars. Most customers now purchase food in reusable vessels encouraged through a BYO Container Loyalty card system.

Young Legends Awards Winner

Libby Fisher
Libby’s Koala and Wildlife Crusade

In 2015, aged 10, Libby took a trip with her family to Queensland that included a visit to the Australia Zoo. It was there that she fell in love with koalas.

In July 2016, she learned that they were considered a vulnerable species in NSW and Queensland and wanted to find ways to do something to support them. As an 11-year-old, she quickly went about raising funds and awareness by making and selling items at markets to raise money.

Early in 2017, she began to meet more wildlife carers and rescuers and from that, her passion for all wildlife grew and so did her crusade.

To date she has raised over $50,000, which supports volunteer wildlife carers and rescuers. She has also created many practical projects that involved her community, including making and distributing more than3,000 pouches Australia wide, making rescue kits for the community, collecting groceries to help volunteer shelters and being involved in a number of tree planting events, as well as Clean Up Australia Day events.

Jonathan Law
Partnerships for a Greener Future

Samuel Hyde
Student Wellbeing Action Team

Mia, Libby and Lili
Youth Climate Emergency Activists

Dame Phyllis Frost

Andrew Kelly
Andrew is the Yarra Riverkeeper and is the spokesperson for one of Melbourne’s most iconic natural icons

He regularly features in news articles, radio and podcasts as Melbourne’s foremost expert on the Yarra River and regularly contributes his passion and expertise to strategic planning and policy development panels.

Growing up on the beautiful banks of the river, he become Keeper in 2014 and followed on from the founding Riverkeeper Ian Penrose. Together Ian and Andrew have built an organisation with a reputation for both on the groundwork of environmental stewardship and water quality protection, as well as advocacy and public education.
In addition, he serves as the organisation’s figurehead on a global scale, contributing to the network of Waterkeepers worldwide. Well suited to telling the Yarra’s story, Andrew holds over 30 years’ experience in publishing and writing and was a winner of the prestigious George Robertson Award in 2016.He has recently published the book Wilam: a Birrarung Story, which was written in partnership with Aboriginal Wurundjeri elder, Aunty Joy Murphy.


  • NaturedKids
    Nature Play Every Day
  • Network West
    Sewing Scrubs: building the fabric of community in the west
  • Berwick Lodge Primary Sensory Garden
    Sensory Garden and Augmented Reality
  • The Plastic Runner
    Running for Cleaner Trails


Energy Awards Winner

City of Casey
Casey Aquatic and Recreation Centre (ARC) Energy Savers

Numerous efficiency improvement projects have been undertaken at Casey ARC since 2012, making it one of the most energy efficient aquatic leisure centres in Australia.

A 39% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions has been achieved between 2011 and 2019, resulting in 1,200 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions being saved annually.

Projects undertaken include: A DEOS Bauer air management system has been installed enabling three large heat wheels to transfer heat between different air flows, ensuring the pool area temperature is maintained at 29.5 degrees Celsius.

A new Reverse Osmosis (RO) system unit and a 30,000litre tank have been also installed to treat pool backwash water and reuse it. Other improvements include a Building Management System (BMS); a 44kwsolar PV system with 176 solar panels; economy cycles on air conditioners; LED lighting upgrades and upgrading of circulation pumps.

Environment Awards Winner

City of Monash
Bees and Seeds kits

In response to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, Sustainable Monash sought to find other ways to engage with the community.

The ‘Nature Open for Business’ program is a response to that challenge, offering a range of activities for households to keep their connection with nature and celebrate the opportunity to slow down and spend more time in the garden.

The most popular activity has been the bees and seeds kit – a DIY native bee hotel and grow your own local native seedling kit.

Over 450 kits have been delivered to Monash households with over 100 more on a waiting list.

Moonee Valley City Council
Sustainability Champions

City of Port Phillip
Alma Park Stormwater Harvesting Scheme

Port Phillip Summer Rangers
Summer Ranger Program

City of Casey
Integrated Water Management

Melton City Council
Innovation in large scale passive street tree irrigation

Heritage & Culture Awards Winner

City of Stonnington
Heritage Strategy and Action Plan 2018-2029

The City of Stonnington has a proactive approach the protection and enhancement of the City’s valued built heritage, which was pioneered through the Stonnington Heritage Review Strategy (2006).

The Heritage Strategy and Action Plan 2018-2029 built on this to create an organisation-wide approach by leading the way. These strategies have led to considerable achievements in protecting, managing, organising, researching and conserving Stonnington’s heritage sites, as well as celebrating heritage more broadly within the community.

In addition, Council worked with Heritage Victoria to undertake archaeological investigations in the Cato Street car park and has restored many Council-owned assets including the Malvern Town Hall, Chapel Off Chapel, Northbrook, Prahran Town Hall, the Central Park Conservatory and Fountain, and Harold Holt Swim Centre.

Indigenous Culture Awards Winner

Boon Wurrung Land and Sea Council and City of Port Phillip
We-akon Dilinja

In 2019, the Boonwurrung Land & Sea Council (BLSC) – the representative organisation of the Boonwurrung Traditional Owners – with the former City of Port Phillip Mayor Mr Dick Gross, conceived and subsequently received CoPP approval, for what is essentially a nation-wide first event of its kind.

Working together, the BLSC and City of Port Phillip, created a dawn ceremony for this year’s Australia Day, turning a community aspiration into a positive reality and demonstrating a commitment to bringing all Australians together on the nation’s most venerated day.

This long-sought and remarkable ceremony, honouring ancestors and community, was attended by over 300 local people. The local Traditional Owners drove the event from the very beginning, approaching the then Mayor, and then working with Officers to ensure the event was culturally appropriate and owned by the BLSC.

Litter Awards Winner

City of Casey
Bollard Cameras – Catching Illegal Dumpers

To address community expectations to reduce illegal litter dumping within the municipality, the City of Casey’s Litter Prevention Team have developed an innovative piece of equipment that discretely captures information which assists in bringing illegal litter dumpers to justice.

This low-cost solution designed entirely by Council staff, is a retrofitted Replas bollard to accommodate an ‘off the shelf’ motion activation camera. It captures still photographs of date, time, vehicle/trailer number plates, facial recognition, and actions of the perpetrator.

Due to its lightweight construction and ability to blend into its surrounding environment, the unit can be easily transported and fitted by one staff member in areas that are prone to illegal dumping. Photographs collected by the device are stored on a password protected SD card and are used to identify perpetrators and bring them to justice.

City of Monash
Clayton Zone Project

Social Well-Being Awards Winner

City of Ballarat
Be Kind

In March 2020, City of Ballarat considered a community engagement strategy response to COVID-19, with the objective of bringing the best out of its community. A day later, ‘Be Kind Ballarat’ was born with the goal to encourage and celebrate kindness within the community.

Led by the City of Ballarat’s marketing team, key campaign messages – Be Kind to Yourself, to Others, and to Business – were activated via integrated media scheduling, public relations, collateral, stakeholder relations and more.

The City also shared customisable ‘Be Kind’ assets with other Local Government Areas to use freely.

Collaboration was a cornerstone of ‘Be Kind’, including regular video calls with stakeholders across business, health and not-for-profit organisations. The campaign has reached over 2 million people across various media and flourished on social media with over 2,200 uses of #bekindballarat on Instagram, amplifying a positive message to help provide distraction and relief for the community.

Moonee Valley City Council
Union Road Streetscape Improvements – Age Friendly Streets

Waste Awards Winner (Joint)

City of Port Phillip
The Glass Recycling Trial

The Glass Recycling trial was rolled out to 180 homes within the Garden City area of Port Phillip, and to four public park areas in the South Melbourne and Albert Park areas.

The project’s aim was the measure the effectiveness and utilisation of a glass recycling stream for residents who have the room to house an additional bin, and to make a glass recycling option available for communal use in areas where residents do not.

Each week, all bins are audited to measure usage and contamination rates. Thus far, the communal bins have proven so popular that the original four bins have increased to nine, all large 660 litre bins, and are being collected twice weekly.

The yellow recycling stream has also been audited each fortnight, and contamination has plummeted from 41% pre-trial to 6% at the last audit.


City of Stonnington
The Great Summer Clothes Swap

In February 2020, the City of Stonnington hosted the Great Summer Clothes Swap at the Malvern Town Hall. It was the biggest clothes swap hosted by Council to date – and likely the biggest swap in Victoria, with over 480 swappers and more than 1,500 items of clothing swapped and rehomed.

As well as the main event, attendees filled the banquet hall for talks exploring decluttering and conscious consumerism, sustainable fashion and op shopping.

A follow up survey found that most attendees were planning on making a change to their home or life after attending the event, including more swapping and op shopping, buying less, decluttering and improving recycling at home.

Bayside City Council
Food and Green Waste Service

City of Monash
War on e-waste